In this article, we will teach you to step by step how to change hair color in photos using Adobe Photoshop software. Using this technique, we will have complete control over the work and you can change the subject’s hair to any color you want. In fact, there are many different ways to do this, but this method is both relatively easy and will give you quite acceptable results.
Part 1 – Choosing Hair
Run Photoshop software on your computer. If you are using Windows, its icon is in the Smart Menu, and if you are using a Mac, it is in the Applications folder.
- Open the selected photo. If you are not familiar with the Photoshop environment, click the File menu at the top of the page and then select Open. Now, select the photo.
- Try to choose a photo whose background color is not very similar to the subject’s hair color and is different (for example, the background of the photo you choose should be white and simple and the person’s hair is black and dark). Since you may not be very familiar with Photoshop yet, it will be easier for you to separate the hair in these images.
From the toolbar on the left side of the screen, select the Magnetic Lasso tool. To do this, click on the small arrow at the bottom of the Lasso Tool icon. By doing this, you will see a set of several other tools. In this list, select Magnetic Lasso Tool.
- Using this tool, select the subject’s hair all around. On each side, click the point closest to the hair, then release the click, scroll to another corner of the hair, and click again. Be careful that your choice does not include the individual’s face. Do this very carefully. The more clicks you have and the shorter the intervals, the more accurate the work will probably be. In the same procedure, select the subject’s hair all around to reach the first point again. Now click on the same starting point. Now your sections have been selected and you will see that they have been selected by a blinker. Consider the following two points.
- The hair in the photo is usually not very straight and clean, so choosing them will not be easy. We recommend that you zoom in on the photo and carefully select all areas.
- If you have chosen a little background, clothes or parts around the hair, it is not a problem and we can modify these parts later.
Press Control + Alt + R ((on PC) Command or Command + Option + R (on Mac). The Refine Edge page will open for you. You will see that only the sections you selected will be displayed (the rest of the image will be colored).
In the panel that opens on the right side of the screen, select Marching Ants from the View section.
- At this stage, we must fix the problems. When you select the Refine Edge tool, your mouse becomes a special tool and brush. Use this brush to select and correct points that need correction (such as a photo).
- If you did not select sections of hair well, hover the mouse over these sections and click to add them to your selection.
- If you selected additional sections. This means that part of the background, clothes, skin and… were also included in the selection of your hair sections, you have to hold down the Alt key (on Windows) or Option (on Mac) and then click on those sections with the mouse to exit the selection. .
- Be extra careful and patient to choose only the right sections of hair. Be sure to use the zoom tool to increase the accuracy of your work.
- If you make a mistake, use the Control + Z (Windows) or Command + Z (Mac) keys to go back.
Now, from the bottom right of the right panel, find Output To.
- Select the New Layer With Mask value from this menu and then click the OK button. This creates a new layer that contains only selected sections of the subject’s hair. In this layer, you will see the hair and the rest of the photo is transparent and without background.
- In the next section, we will teach you how to choose a much more professional hair so that the result of your work is smooth and completely natural. If you feel that you have chosen perfectly and flawless hair in the previous section, you can skip to the next section.
Part 2 – Exact correction of selected parts
- From the Layers panel, click the highlighted button to add a new layer to the image. This layer should be on top of the other 2 layers.
- If you do not see the Layers panel in Photoshop, press the F7 key to display it.
Make sure this new layer is higher than the Background layer. If not, click on it and drag it upwards to change its arrangement.
- Make the new layer completely black. Once the new layer is on top of the background layer, it’s time to blacken it completely. By doing this, you will see the selected sections in the black background. But how do we do that? Follow these steps:
- From the toolbar on the left side of the image, click on the Paint Bucket tool. If you do not see this button and the Gradient Tool button is in place, click on the small triangular symbol at the bottom / right of the button to display the sub-tools as well. In this section, select Paint Bucket.
- Choose black
- Click on the screen to make the whole layer black.
Adjust the transparency of the layer to see a little of the face. The opacity of each layer indicates its transparency. If this value is 100% in one layer, it means that it does not show any of the following layers. If it is 50%, it means that it is transparent enough to show a little bit of what is behind it, like a half-glass. If this value is equal to 0, of course, nothing will be clear from the layer, as if the glass is completely clean and colorless. In this step, slightly lower the Opacity of the black layer to find some of the underlying layers (hair and face).
Select the layer where the hair is located. Click on the layer we created in the previous section. The name of this layer is probably something like Background Copy.
- Delete extra parts of the background or face. Our goal is to change only the color of the hair and not to change other parts of the photo. Therefore, we will need a lot of precision and delicacy. At this stage, we recommend using a soft, thin brush to remove anything other than the colored subject’s hair. To do this, follow the steps below.
- If you look closely at the Layers panel, you will notice that this layer has 2 images. The first part is a color photo and on the other side there is another photo where the hair is white and the background is black. Click on the photo with the black background. However, the Masks panel must be enabled for you.
- Find the pen tool (brush) from the tools menu on the left side of the screen and select black. Choose the color of the brush according to the delicacy of your work. The smaller the brush, the more natural your work will be.
- Now paint the parts you want to delete black. You are editing the Mask layer, and anything you paint in black will be removed and not displayed.
- If you feel you have missed sections of hair, mark them with a white brush. Anything highlighted in white on the mask layer will be displayed.
- Clear the black layer. Adding this layer was just to have a simple and monotonous background so that we can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the selected hair layer. Now that we have carefully selected the sections, we will no longer need this black layer. So, delete it. Now it’s time to start changing hair color in Photoshop.
Part 3 – Hair color change
- Make sure all layers are active and visible. The Layers panel is usually located at the bottom right of the screen. At this stage you should have 2 layers and a small eye mark should be seen on the left side of both of them. If any of the layers do not have this symbol like the one above, click on it and make the layer visible.
- If you do not see the Layers panel. Press the F7 key to display it.
Click Window from the menu at the top of the page.
Select the Adjustment option. A new panel is displayed on the screen.
As in the picture above, click on the Hue & Saturation icon. This icon is in the Adjustment panel and is usually in the second row (see photo). Clicking this icon will add a new layer to your image.
Click on the new layer and select it. Press Control + Alt + G (on Windows) or Command + Option + G (on Mac) to make sure this color change only applies to selected sections of hair.
Through the Hue / Saturation panel, change the Hue value to change the hair color in the photo. By moving this value, only the hair color of your photo should change and the color of the rest of the photo should be the same. If the color of the other parts also changes, you should make sure that you have done the previous parts of the training well.
You can also use other features of this panel to adjust your desired color. For example, the Saturation option is to select the saturation or color intensity. The Lightness section also adjusts the transparency of the new color over the previous color.
Give more dimension and depth to the new color. One-color may not be enough for you and you need to combine several layers of color to achieve the desired color. To do this, press Control + j (on PC) or Command + J (on Mac) to create a new Adjustment layer. Now press Control + Alt + G again (on Windows) or Command + Option + G (on Mac) to make sure this color change only applies to selected sections of hair. Now select the color of the view layer. In other words, repeat steps 1 to 7 of the third part of the tutorial and adjust the new color layer of the subject’s hair.
Save the photo. When everything is satisfactory and you get the color you want, it’s time to save the image. To do this, from the File menu, click Save As. In the new window, select the storage location and format of your choice (for example, JPEG) and then click the Save button.