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I am very new with Affinity and have only recently discovered the refine brush when selecting things like hair. 

 

I've got a picture of a Little Mermaid doll that washed up on the beach. She has hair going all over the place, some of it meshed with the background. I want to make a shot of her with her hair blazing red while everything else in the picture is black and white. I already posted something similar about this but I'd like to go into more detail about the challenge. 

 

Attached are a few photos of what I'm working with/trying to do.

 

I want to select all of her hair if possible. this has proven to be a challenge for me. The main body of her hair is not difficult to select but the many loose strands over her forehead, behind her right ear and in the top and bottom leftside corners are very difficult to select. I've used the refine brush in those areas with limited success. About 25-50% of the strands are selected (usually random parts of them) while the rest remain unselected. I tried going to 'Select'->'Colour Range'->'Select Reds' as well as 'Select Sampled Colour'. Both produced ok results but neither really got those loose strands. When it came down to colouring them the best I could do was to zoom in and manually select them. i feel like there's a simpler way that I'm not aware of.

 

Here are a couple of pictures. The first is the original and the second is what I've done so far with the hair selection. you'll notice that the strands are sort of coloured but not completely.

 

Is there a better way to use the Refine Brush? Is there another approach anyone could suggest? Thanks!

ariel hair2copy.jpg

DSC05690.jpg

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Hi direct_current,

 

Thanks for the sample images.

 

I've been looking at this with another member of the Tech Team.  The only thing we can recommend would be to manually add the missing parts to the selection using the selection brush.  Someone may come along with a better solution but in all our tests this end, we got better results by selecting the Tonal Range and then manually adding to the selection using the selection brush, zooming in and out when needed. 

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Wow, that image is about as tough as it gets. The best way is to make a mask.

 

In Photoshop, you would make a Channel mask, by choosing a Channel with high contrast and then modify it by adjusting, painting, and dodging and burning. to make a black and white mask. Unfortunately you can't do that in Affinity.

What you can do is something similar, which I actually think is easier and better than the PS Channel masking approach but is slightly let down at the end because Affinity Photo currently limits what you can do on a mask (no dodging and burning!) So you have to do all the dodging and burning on the layer before you turn it into a mask. No real problem though, as long as you make a duplicate of the greyscale layer before you rasterize it to a mask (Affinity destroys the layer when it rasterizes it) in case you need to make some minor adjustment. Actually, because the creation stage is considerably better than PS, i.e. you can get a better result with a B&W  Adjustment than with a channel (unless you are very lucky),

 

I have not needed to go back and adjust a layer. Yet!

 

1 Make a duplicate layer.

2  Apply a Black and White adjustment layer.

3 Adjust the sliders to get a nice contrasty image with your colour well defined. 

4 Use Brightness and contrast. Again aiming for a contrasty image, but be careful not to lose fine detail.

5 Paint out the areas that are not your colour (with white). You can be brutal with much of the image but around the edges of the hair you need to use dodge and burn to increase local contrast. Use the Highlight and Shadow settings of the Dodge/Burn tool in the context menu. You will soon see what it does.

6 Make a duplicate (in case you have to start again) and turn one copy into a mask  Layer > Rasterize to Mask and rename it Mask1 (or something). Hide both those layers for now..

7 Select  the image layer again and apply a new Black and White Adjustment layer. This time adjust it to get a nice black and white image.

8 Show the Mask1 layer and drag it to the Black and White adjustment layer (not the image layer) until you get the horizontal bar under the layer, That masks the adjustment layer. Masking the Mask. (?)

dolllayers.png.3f368dfd318b8c473b261c055d73b2de.png

9 you can now paint on either the Adjustment layer or Mask1 layer with black or white to tweak it. This image is quite complex so it needs a bit of tweaking.

doll2.jpg.101acb6b4aec59537e04ffd9bb216a24.jpg

 

I'm afraid that the strand on the forehead defeated me with just a mouse. It is very indistinct and a bit blurred. Maybe with a tablet, painting on the mask, although I personally would be inclined to just paint that one out with a blemish tool.


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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Thank you so much for your thorough reply. I actually haven't learned about dodge/burn yet; it's on my list on things to go over. I will need to take some time to review your instructions. Will let you know about my progress! Yes, she's a very complicated picture!

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4 minutes ago, direct_current said:

Thank you so much for your thorough reply. I actually haven't learned about dodge/burn yet; it's on my list on things to go over. I will need to take some time to review your instructions. Will let you know about my progress! Yes, she's a very complicated picture!

The edges will often be shades of grey, so you need to define them.

 

If you get it right with dodging or burning with either highlights or shadows selected (even midtones) you can blacken the bits you want and whiten the bits you don't want.

 

You don't need to be so accurate as with a brush, because the dodge/burn tools affect tonal ranges, (not edges) it doesn't matter the same if you go over the edges. I'm ashamed to say that despite 30 years of practice, my mouse skills are still not perfect. I think it's too late now ;)


Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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