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Create Hair Highlights

Lesson 18 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

Create Hair Highlights

Lesson 18 from: Advanced Portrait Retouching

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

18. Create Hair Highlights

Lesson Info

Create Hair Highlights

Another thing I like to do with hair is I like to add contrast to the hair. What? I like to add some contrast or highlights to the hair. So this is, once again, a curve, 'cause you know I love curves. Channels and curves are the best thing in the whole world. All it is is a contrast move. I'm taking the highlights and I'm sliding them over. But I gotta get it into that hair, right? And we just talked about how hair can be a little challenging to draw. I'm gonna use channels to make a selection to do my hair. So I'm gonna show you how to do that. Alright, channels are your friends, yes they are. Alright, I tend to do this after I've done my drawing of the hair, which is a little ballsy, because what if the client doesn't like the hair drawing? Live a little, it's all right, you'll be all right. And the idea here is you go to your channels and you pick a channel that gives you a good contrast for the hair. Now, as we talked about the freckles in channels, you were looking for the separat...

ion of the dark freckles and the white skin, when you're looking at this channel, you're looking at hair highlights. So your needs are completely different, and it might be a different channel. The blue channel, I can see the highlights. They're separating from the hair, not bad. Green is about the same. Red's about the same. Well, how interesting is that, her hair is basically the same in all three 'cause it's kind of a neutral color, so cool, it doesn't really matter which one you pull. In old-school terms, the blue channel, if the green and the blue were the same, you never picked the blue channel 'cause all the noise of the file, all the grain was in the blue channel. It's old-school. So, I gotta tell you, I tried to pick the green channel, 'cause old habits die hard. Alright, you'll see I've got all these channels here, all these copies, I was using this for a variety of retouching needs, and I kinda wanted to show you, I have a gazillion channels. I use them all the time. I'm doing a contrast move, Lisa loves her some levels, Command-L. Often, when I'm doing a highlight move, I don't move the whites too too much, I really am pulling in the blacks. Now, when you're doing this move, you really wanna see, well what are you doing it for? You gotta stop, take a moment, and go where am I driving? I want hair highlights. So, don't look at her face, you don't care about her face, don't look at the background, just look at her hair. Yeah, I think that's pretty decent. Again, I'm just trying to get the highlights. So, what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna turn that off, I'm gonna say great, I'm gonna say yes, and I already made the contrast move, do you remember that? I already made the contrast move? And this is how I do it. I make the contrast move first, I have a a black mask... Can't see it, can't see it, go to your channels that you just made, and you might wanna call it green channel for hair. So you can remember. Command-click on the icon for that channel, done this a bunch of times already today, you're well-versed at it, go back to your adjustment layer, make sure you are on the mask, not on the adjustment code, but on the mask, get a brush, and I know you're picking up what I'm putting down, you wanna have white as your foreground color. You're probably gonna wanna do Command-H to hide those marching ants, just so you can see what you're doing. Forget that tiny little hair brush, it's not gonna serve you now, you need a big, fat, beautiful, full-throttle brush. And you're gonna paint in... Some hair highlights. And this is how you bring photos to life. Make it look shiny, this is a L'Oreal, not L'Oreal, but, oh yeah, L'Oreal hair ad. There you go. You guys good with this? Yeah. Alright, how we doing on time, sweetie? We're good, we still have another fifteen minutes or so. Perfect. On the hair, so, on her hair color, there's that original contrast, 'cause of the highlights. But on somebody that's really blonde, would the technique variation be the same? Yeah, you'd actually be amazed, and that's a really good question, Bob, thank you for that. You'd be amazed how much detail is in there, and that might be one of those "uh-uh-uh" moments where you go back to the raw, and you pull out the texture with the raw. Yeah, you picking it up? Yeah, so, it's why I save the raw.

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