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Extracting a background from hair

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Hi Damien,


I'm following your Replacing a background tutorial and was trying to figure something out.  First, after doing the Levels layer do you Invert the mask so it is black?  Then, you say to Place the new background via "File Place".  I cannot find that.  Probably right in front of me but still cant find it>:(  So do I cut or copy the new file and place Using CC?  Thanks you!!!


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Thank you!  (He's done a lot of background replacement tutorials involving hair, you see -- so next time you post a question about one of his tutorials, it would be super helpful if you include the specific link!)

For that first levels layer, you'd do whatever makes it easiest to mask it to be just around the hair.  So it depends on your photo -- if there's more of the photo that should be masked off than masked on, then yes, you'd invert the mask and start with it black so you have less you need to mask.  And vice versa: if there's more of the photo should should be masked on than masked off, you would start with the white mask and paint black to get the rest masked off.

In most cases, I would imagine it would be easiest to start by inverting the mask.  But it really depends.

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9 minutes ago, Nancy Jones said:

Its just a solid color though

Gosh, then of course you don't need to make a separate file of it, and Place it.  Just use a Solid Color adjustment layer right there in the file.

So do you not want any gradation in the background at all?  Surely some shadowing is needed?

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This   is SOOR, I want to add background to the left edge so I can crop for composition with negative space in the front of her, then even out the dark shadow in the front, and fill in the top edge.  I see some fuchsia banding also.  Can we cover that?  



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