There is one thing that everyone who uses Photoshop wants to learn – How to remove background from image so that a new background can be filled in?

This is an easy process if the edges are neat and the original background is a solid color. There are a plenty of picture editing websites that promises to give great results, but can’t deliver high quality output as we expect. There are professionals who separate messed up hair and fur from background with other techniques that requires advanced knowledge of color channels, confusing commands like Calculations and Apply Image. On the other hand, if we wish to remove background from image that that has irregular backdrop with a lot of details, here is what we have for you- the hair masking technique with the refine edge option.
Fine details in an image like hair, fur and nylon strands in brushes can be selected using the Refine Edge command that was introduced in Photoshop CS3. Remove background from images that has disturbed outline is no more a tough job. With the all new Photoshop CS5, the refine edge command received a major revamp that helped hair selection to a great extent. The process that is used to change photo background with refining edge option is ideal for hair masking and we would walk you through the process here. Let see a quick run through of this process with these short steps…

  1. The first step would be to draw a rough selection around the subject that you wish to extract. Here you can leave out the scanty portions of hair and roughly select the thick portions with no gaps in between them.
  2. Select and have the background that you want to replace in a layer under the canvas you will be working.
  3. Go for the refine edge and select your viewing option to be on the black or anything that suits you. You can note that a small preview thumbnail showing the current view mode after the selection is done.
  4. Now select the on layers view mode where you can find the Edge Detection selection directly below it.
  5. Begin dragging the radius of the edge detection and find that your selection has more hair. Just be abet careful with this tool as you might find that the selection reveals things around the around the other selection borders. Here the air portion will need a wider radius but the other areas will not need any.
  6. This is where your manual skills will come on to help. You can manually adjust the radius with the refinement brushes so that the area around the hair has wider width and the other areas have very minimal width.
  7. Next we can see that the Reveal Layer view mode active. Here the original image returns in the document window this makes things it easy and we just have to paint with the Refine Radius Tool.
  8. Then you can move on to the adjust edge options. Make sure that the Smooth, Feather and Contrast to be in the value-0.
  9. If you find that the image has a lot of fringing, just adjust it using the Decontaminate Colors option, in the output section.
  10. You may also clean up the layer mask if you feel it is necessary.
  11. That’s it! You final image is ready with your image appearing on a new background with perfect hair masking done.