There are many touchy skills that a photo processing editor must possess to be a master of his craft. One is to know extraction method. It is done with selection and for any editor the end result will determine if he knows his craft well. If he is not able to extract the stuff, the imperfection will not be able to support the other montage it is being done for. Take for example a racecourse where a shot of horse in motion has been captured. The picture of the majestic animal can become the talk of the town only if the flying mane and bushy tail does not look out of place or unruly. The premium hair masking technique with advanced tools can be the best solution. With the new software tools the extraction is much easier and hair removal can be a better process. The rest of the elements, which may prove to be frail and important to the main artwork, can be left untouched. Just like human hair is a tad difficult to be masked so is the case with any animal’s fur coat. It could be a picture of a horse racing towards its final line at the derby or a dachshund playing Frisbee in the park, or a Cocker Spaniel being splashed with water. Each has the same problem. How can the fuzzy strands be stopped from flying in different directions and spoiling the look of the picture? While it is easier to control human beings being shot, the same cannot be said about animals that have a mood of their own.
The first job is to select the portion of the image and encircle the problematic hair. It is very obvious that one cannot erase single strands of hair. And each strand also cannot be masked in several layers. So a part of the image has to be selected and extracted. This procedure begins with the Quick selection tool. A loose area is encircled as the first step. Since the area is loosely selected the edges have to be refined. The smart radius option is used if solid background objects have to be tackled around. A dark background is actually useful for a wisp of hair to be treated with the hair masking technique. It can also work well in case of fibers or upholstery that needs to be tamed. The editor will have to decontaminate the colors. This tool will be able to make the edges vanish where the background may still have a trace of an unwanted strand of hair. Using the refine edge can be the key to making the successful transition from the bad patch to the brand new montage set. A preview is essential. Essential toggling between various views will help the editor to move on with the process.
While working each editor will realize that one kind of process may not be right every image. He has to find a middle-of-the-road approach to each new hair masking technique. This way he will be able to turn every challenge into an opportunity.