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Change the Hair Color

Lesson 19 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

Change the Hair Color

Lesson 19 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

19. Change the Hair Color

Lesson Info

Change the Hair Color

All right, I know this is crazy. I have been asked to do much worse than this, and it's a little rough 'cause it was done quickly but I wanna talk about how I chose to get to this process. Again, my goal in life is that you guys can extrapolate what I'm doing, to see how it might work for you, all right? I'm just gonna just merge my outside hair and my pained hair and I'm just gonna call it hair outside. 'Cause I don't want re-mouse this. Okay, it's a little rough, but that's alright. We're going to go to the actual frequency separation. I know you love frequency separation. It's all we talk about. And, I'm going to merge this to make it a little easier for you guys to look at. I'm just gonna merge down. I'm just cleaning up this file. And the only reason I'm doing any of what you're seeing right now is I'd like you to not have to look at a lot of details. Okay, so lets' say for giggles, you have started your retouching process. Boy ,I've got her eyes lit up. I think I have to erase th...

is 'cause I can't-- I can't stand to look at it. Sorry. It's like devil woman, sorry. There we go. Alright, I feel better now. Alright so we have your basic frequency separation. I did a little retouching on her tooth and her face. We've already talked about this. It's nothing new and exciting, but while I'm in this mode I'm gonna work on her hair. So the first thing the conversation was, I want to change the color. You do? What color do you want to change it to? Well, I want it to be lighter. I want it to be browner, perhaps. So let's say we pick this brown color, and then we think, oh that's a little flat isn't it. That's a little flat. That's not really working for me, so 'cause we kind of wanna go more blonde. And your client's gonna talk to you like this. I gotta have blonde. And I want you to figure out how to work your way towards something. So what I'm gonna do-- there's a fantastic function under image, adjust, and it's called shadow highlights. And what shadow highlights will do, will bring up your shadows, and it's fast, it's easy. You don't have to mess with the levels. So I like to use it for this kind of function. What am I doing? My hair was too dark. I need to lighten it. I'm going to hit cancel. I'm gonna throw it away 'cause I've already done that. Now, not only have I done that, if you guys can look at this file, I have this section called blonde with a question mark. I do that when I'm working on a process. I gotta make it blonde, I'm not sure this is going to work, put a question. So that way if it goes all to hell in a handcart, I'll just toss it. And I like to mask it in. So I've got two masks. I've got the shadow masked out over her face just 'cause I don't want to see it. And then I've got the blonde. I added a color, a kind of warm color to it, and I noticed her roots were gonna need some darkening so I just put a little dark in, but god it's really flat. Do you see what I mean, the shadows are flat? It's not workin' for me so well. So what I ended up doing is I grabbed the red channel, and in fact here's-- I'm gonna do something here first for a second, bear with me. I know this is really complicated, but we're gonna get through it. I'm going to go back to the beginning so you can see our end result so I can maybe walk you through a little better. Alright, we'll leave that outside hair on. Alright, I'm gonna talk about where we went to and how we go there. I think it'll be a little easier. Alright, here's where we were before, this is where we needed to get. We did frequency separation, and I added some contrast on the top. Okay, so I'm just gonna walk you through why it looks the way it does. There's some contrast or highlights on the top. That's okay, I'm going to do that secondary. First I need to get the base hair color. And when you're changing your base hair color, I find that it's often easier to gently move it. Like don't go blonde, platinum blonde right away. Start warming it up, and then go blonde. 'Cause otherwise you're gonna get these lines, and it's gonna look ridiculous, and it'll be way too hard. So what I first did is started to warm it up. I did the shadow thing. Okay well that's a good start. It's a little flat, right. So it's a little flat. I turned all that off, and I went to my channels and you know I'm a channel fool. I grabbed the red channel, and I went okay, I need the red channel. I need some detail. Uh, that's too blocked up for me. I went back to this, and do you see how I'm clicking back and forth? I really don't want you to be afraid, oh channel, layer, channel, layer. I haven't done anything. I'm just looking. I'm turning things on and off. I haven't touched anything. So now I look and I go, okay if I take the red channel and I make a copy of it, and I make it really contrasty, command L. I can just get a dark selection. Why am I doing that? I'm doing that because she looks flat, and I need to add some tone. I just need to add some tone. I don't want to paint that tone. I want Photoshop to do the tone for me. So what I did was I made a copy of the red channel, Command A, Command C, I copied it. I made it very constrasty. I went over back to my layers. I went from the channel to the layers, and I pasted it in, command V. And then I put it on multiply mode. Now why did I do that? I did that because Photoshop is doing the illustration for me. Photoshop has taken those darks of the curls and making it dark, but the whites are disappearing. Why, because on the mode called multiply, white disappears. White absolutely is invisible. So why I do this now? Look, I have been doing this 25 years. I know how to do this. You are not going to know how to do this. You're gonna know it now because I told you, but when you're home and you're like, "Holy crap, how did she get here?" I got here because I've been doing this 25 years. That is how I got here. But you will get here because you're gonna start understanding the process. This is very, very complicated what I'm showing you. But I know you'll get this. You just have to go slow. So I put it on multiply. And you can double it up if you want it really dark. I'm gonna say no, I'm gonna get rid of one. So what do I have here? I have that hue saturation, pardon me, the shadow adjustment which really helped. But I gotta contrast issue. I now have a red channel which is handling some of that contrast. That's just for the part on the top, dark on top. And then I have my color change. So I am heading to the ball field now. I'm getting there. Alright, I'm feeling good. This is alright. She's looking blonde. It's a little flat, but she's looking blonde. So what I'm gonna choose to do at this point is step out of frequency separation and start adding some contrast on top. So do you remember that channel pull we just did? We just did this. Well hello. We're half way here. I'm gonna add just a little extra white. If it really needs to be shiny, romance novel cover hair which it might need to be. Maybe that shiny hair doesn't want to be that shiny. I've already got it on soft light so my only other option's gonna be to take it down. Now, I wanna answer a very critical question. I don't see it, but I can feel it. Someone is asking. Why in hell did I do this all in frequency separation? I did this in frequency separation because I wanted to keep all this texture of the hair, and I didn't want to have to paint that. And when you do it in frequency separation, and it is underneath all that hair details on top. I know this is complicated. It is so worth your time to go down this path. (audience member says something unintelligible.) Yeah, it looks fake. It looks spray painted. It looks colorized otherwise. Absolutely. And this way you have a little bit of dimension. Yeah? It's good right? I know some of you at home are crying. Don't cry. Watch it again. You'll get there. I promise, it's good technique.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Brunette RAW Practice Image
Blonde RAW Practice Image
Portrait Retouching Workbook
Lisa Carney PSD Practice Image
Layered Hair Color Change Example PSD File

Bonus Materials

Outline Cards

Ratings and Reviews


If you were like me and had no idea on where to start and feared that the editing process would be too destructive and would have to start all over again if the client didn't like your completed work - then this is the class for you. I watch this class often for review and to make sure that I maintain these good habits Lisa suggests to do. If you follow all of her helpful commentary on her how's and why's you will end up in a far better place when that time comes that you have to re-edit your edit. I cannot say enough great things about her work flow and how it not only enhanced my images to the result I was looking for but also decreased my editing time(bonus!!!!). I also on a whim sent her a email through her personal site and she replied with a massive helpful technique for enhancing freckles on a job I was working on. She is amazing! She is a true teacher who is there to show you how to use photoshop for you to find and gain your own editing style. Far too often i find myself in retouching classes that only demonstrate how to make your images look like who is teaching the class... Workflow and Style are very different, you can have the same workflow but your style is determined by your taste. Her workflow is solid and delivers time and time again. This class should be in everyone's dashboard hands down.

Kristine Pye

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and take us through your "delivery" process, I found that extremely helpful. I have purchased two of Lisa's classes immediately after the live stream during Photoshop Week 2017 and was very excited to stream another set of lectures from Seattle. I will be purchasing the last two courses of Lisa's within the next 24 hours as I did just over a month ago. I find her classes to be absolutely brimming over with useful information--everything from the technique, her process, what other professionals in her work are doing, and **why** she chooses the methods she does in retouching. She is relatable and genuine, and her knowledge of the program and how to maximize efficiency while "skipping the actions" really reinforces the educational part of her courses. There are "easy way outs", but she emphasizes that you should understand the ways in which any adjustment effect the entire photo. These courses have helped me to move forward in my education, helping me to realize that with enough practice and good habit formation--such as naming every single layer every time-- that it is not irrational for me to make an effort in building a portfolio and a Master's degree with little-to-no- previous experience with the software. I am very appreciate. I hope to see more from Lisa in the future, but I have plenty to practice with for now! Thanks again, Kristine Pye

Jeff Robinson

Lisa Carney is amazing! She has a depth of knowledge of Photoshop, retouching techniques, and compositing that she shares in a fast, but straightforward, easy to follow, step by step manner. No matter what your level of expertise, you'll find gems, shortcuts, and methods in her teaching that you can practice and put to use to make your work stronger, faster, and cleaner. And with the bonus materials she graciously provides, including workbooks with her detailed steps, practice files of the images she uses in class, and before and after comparisons, you'll be on your way to improving your skills immediately. She's an accomplished retoucher and gifted teacher. If you have the opportunity to take one of her classes, take advantage of it!

Student Work