You may have noticed I have a new blog theme! I used  ‘The Common Blog’ by Mark Ellis as I really like the simplicity and colour scheme, which I think really complements the ‘air brushed’ photo. A huge thankyou to Mr Lyndon for his help with customising the theme btw!

I originally decided to use this photo for my Facebook profile, having been inspired by some really cool designs. I also needed to make sure that my online profiles looked OK as I was presenting a workshop about promoting yourself online to graduates (more on that in my next post). Plus, I’ve wanted to try out the new masking tools in Photoshop CS5 for a while now, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to test them to the max – strangely, I couldn’t find any tutorials that use a model with curly hair!

Here’s the original photo…

As you can see, there isn’t much contrast between the colour of my hair and the carpet behind me. (The first two tutorials I looked at conveniently had their model placed on a seamless white background – Ha! if only!)

I finally managed to find a tutorial that was slightly more challenging – it’s in two parts.

The new ‘quick selection’ tool is quite impressive – I was able to select the outline of my body and hands fairly easily, although I did have to tweak it a bit. Now, ‘Dr Brown’ makes the point that you should ‘select less to achieve more’. I disagree. I found I needed to return to tweaking my initial mask in order to select as much of the hair as possible, because when you get on to painting the edges of transition it generates alot of noise – on top of the noise curly hair already has in abundance! Although there is an ‘eraser’ tool to remove this, because you’re still dealing with transition you have no idea what result you’re going to get – sometimes it makes it worse! Also, each time you work on an area you’re actually affecting the whole mask.

I think I made things harder for myself by choosing to place me on a white background – a coloured one would have been more forgiving. It took me 4 attempts to do this and, as you can see, there’s still alot more work to be done! So, if you want a challenge…

Hair Detail from Original