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Being a Female, What is your Clothing Style?

Author Name: Stephen Kui

Post Category: Tips for Graphic Designers

Anyone who’s ever tried rendering hair knows it’s a hassle. However, it’s much easier than most people know, because Photoshop comes enclosed with an algorithm that makes it all easy. Here’s how to perfectly render hair.

We’ll start with this image. As you can see, the hair is very intricate, and would be near-impossible to render with an eraser or the pen tool.


First, what we need to do is make a copy of our stock, so that we don’t have to re-download it if we make a mistake. Highlight the layer and right click, selecting duplicate layer (or press control+j).

Now, go to the menu and hit filter -> extract. This will take us to an extraction window. The key is to highlight as little besides the edges of the image as possible. So try to erase too much in or too much out. This will make the algorithm select the hair better. Then use the paintbucket tool and fill in the inside of your render.


But before you press okay, press preview, and it’ll come up with a preview of what you’ve just cut out. Here’s what you’ll see with this image, but don’t worry about the missing cheek or the slight outcrop of brown by the nose.


The next step is to quickly take a small soft brush, and erase the parts that shouldn’t be there.

Once that’s done, go back to your original stock layer, make it visible, and use the pen tool to select parts of his face that are missing. The pen tool works here because there isn’t any hair to cut out. Right click in the image and choose “Make Selection.”


Now press control+j to make a copy of that section of the layer, and drag it above your main render layer. Voila, the cheek is back! We will then repeat that with the eye layer.


And here’s what we get at the end! We can also change it up with a new background to see how nicely cut the hair is.



Want the PSD source file or need more help? Visit and Subscribe to the RSS Feed to get the download!

The original stock was from =DanHeffer-Stock on Deviant Art.

Author Charlie B. Johnson

has written Posts 388 .

  1. Naty On August 21st, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Thank you for your very useful tip; cutting hair in PSD is definitely one of the most difficult thing to do just fine; but there’s a problem… there’s no “extract” filter in PSD CS2… any advice????

  1. Naty On August 21st, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Sorry…. CS4 version….

  1. Mark (Eagle) On August 21st, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Thanks. Would this technique still work ok for a cluttered/complex background?

  1. Stephen Kui On August 23rd, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    Apologies, Naty. It’s for CS3 and above. I should have specified that.

    Mark, this technique I have gotten to work with a complex background, but it works best if you make the area smaller so it’s easier for the algorithm to work. So try experimenting with areas so that it still cuts nicely.

  1. bharath On September 8th, 2009 at 11:34 am

    its very nice @ good

  1. Patrick On September 9th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    we have another tips how to cut the hair without using xtraction,no damage hair same as original image

  1. Focus Pocus Design On September 21st, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Perfect Tut. This will definitely come in handy? I thought this was capable in CS2 as well? Well, thanks for the great tut.

  1. Dena from Hollister Creative On September 24th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for the step by step. I was speaking with another designer recently and we each had several other, more labor intensive ways of rendering hair. Needless to say, your method appears to be much more effective and quick.

    I’ll probably use this at least once a week!

  1. Fuad Ahasan Chowdhury On October 1st, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    great tutz.. :) Thanks

  1. Nick On October 5th, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for the great tutorial man

  1. Kitty On October 25th, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    I would like to add that this works well for feathers too. I used this technique for a mardi gras mask I wanted to render.
    Thanks for the tutorial.

  1. smak design On October 28th, 2009 at 5:46 am

    this is the easiest way to mask hair so far, and it’s working! thanks for sharing this

  1. Motef Design On January 1st, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    pretty cool, i do this a lot, it really work for hair, and it is so clean cut, for easier things, i just go with vector tool.
    To save time.

  1. john buhril On June 21st, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I think this will be one of the easiest but effective hair cut out tutorial…Thanks alot.

  1. free71 On July 21st, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Thanks and great tutorial!

  1. vinay mehra On October 6th, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Very usefull…and easy to learn….many thanks…:)))

  1. RareRender On December 10th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    This helped me tremendously. Thank you.

  1. joao On January 11th, 2011 at 10:56 am

    My CS4 does not have “Extract”. How you manage this?

  1. ted On April 30th, 2011 at 4:27 am

    were the hell is go to the menu and hit filter -> extract in cs5? not in the filters.

  1. Kuong On May 10th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    so cool,
    thanks u for the simple action take high effect

  1. ises On May 11th, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    wow, cool and very handy! too bad i’m using cs4 and now scratching my head where to get that “extract” filter, since i read it’s been removed from cs4!

  1. macdaddy On August 13th, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Its worth mentioning that in CS4 the extract filter is in the optional extras on the install disk not part of the default install filter has been superceeded by the refine edges tool

    Similar for cs5 except you have to also run cs5 in ’32bit mode’ which can be done by highlighting the photoshop cs5 icon an selecting get info or command I on a mac there is a little check box to tick to get PS to start in 32 rather than 64 bit mode, this is for mac not sure how its done on PC

  1. David Warren On August 14th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    i do this a lot, it really work for hair, and it is so clean cut, even the using of clippers are also safe………….

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