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Chase's face

Cindy Young

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I am seeking help in extending the background behind this baby's hair.  I tried it by following the sky replacement tutorial, but when I masked on the hair, the original background came through.  If you could point me to a tutorial which would help, I'd be very thankful.



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First, a Channel Mixer layer, with the "Monochrome" box checked, with these values:

  • Red 0
  • Green +50
  • Blue +50

At this point, the whole image will be black-and-white.

Then a Levels layer, clipped to the CM layer, with these values:

  • Red 0/2.20/240 and 0/255
  • Green 0/1.10/255 and 0/245
  • Blue 0/1.00/255 and 0/225

At this point, the whole photo will be weirdly reddish.

Then click on the mask of the Channel Mixer layer, and invert it to black.  Then paint on the problem areas.


3 minutes ago, Cindy Young said:

Afterwards, would I cool (heaven forbid!) his face a bit with a photo filter?


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Sorry about the delay.

So I think the trick here is to make the background perfectly black first.


First, a Channel Mixer layer with "Monochrome" checked, and +50/+50/0 as the three numbers.  As before, this will make the whole photo black-and-white.  Invert its mask, then paint all over the background and let the painting encroach slightly onto the hair and the blanket.  So that the edges of his hair are now black-and-white, if you know what I mean.

Then clip a Levels layer to that, and pull the black slider in to 90.  This will make the whole area very dark.  Invert its mask to black and leave it for now.

Then add a black Solid Color layer.  Clip it to the other two layers, then invert its mask.  Then paint all over the background, and go close to the hair and the blanket, but don't quite touch them.

Then return to the mask of the Levels layer. Choose a 10% white brush, maybe about the size of his eye or a bit bigger.  Paint gently on the edge of his hair.  The goal is to make background amongst the hair just as black as the black background above it.  Just as black, but don't overdo it, or the hair itself will start to disappear in some places.

That will get you the result I posted above.

After that, you can copy and paste whatever chunk of blanket you need, put it above all the other layers, and set it to "Screen" blend mode.  With a simple amount of masking, it should blend in ok.  Here's a little bit I did:


The whole purpose of this method is to keep as many wisps of hair as possible, without any tedious strand-by-strand masking.

(By the way, you forgot his ear in your skin fix.)

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Damien, after I do the monochrome, 50/50/0 and invert the mask, is there something else I need to do--because when I go to paint all over the background, nothing happens.  Was I to change the mode to darken or something?

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Let's see if I did this right--when you said to add a black Solid Color layer, do I go to Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Color?  It DID turn the background black except close to the blanket/head. Should I start over?

Screenshot 2016-05-08 22.24.51.png

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