Mar 25, 2016

How to Make Hair Color POP in Photoshop!

How to Make Hair Color POP in Photoshop!

Having a dull hair day? Don’t fret, we can make that hair color POP in Photoshop!

Learn how to enhance hair color using a color balance adjustment layer and how to add a new color just to the highlights of hair. Next learn how to dodge and burn hair to add volume and shape.

Add More Color to Hair Highlights

To give the hair a bit more shine and color, add a color fill adjustment layer. In this example we start off with green, making it easy to see what areas become effected. Next it is time to limit this layer to just the highlights. Double-click on the layer and in the blending options, go to ‘Blend-If’. Hold ALT/OPTN and click and drag the left slider on the ‘Underlying Layer’ slide. This will make this layer disappear from the shadows and only show up in the highlights.

Next change the blend mode of this layer to ‘Vivid Light’ or ‘Overlay’ and adjust the color to make a more natural highlight color in the hair.

Dodge and Burn Hair for More Depth

After making color adjustments on the hair, create a new layer and change the blend mode to ‘Soft Light’. Next, grab the brush tool and set the flow to 10%, this makes it easier to build up the dodge and burn effect and not over-do it!

The key here is to paint black over the shadow areas and white over the highlights. This enhances depth and allows you to give the hair a smooth transition from lights to darks.

Press ‘D’ to change to default colors — white and black. Press ‘X’ to switch between foreground and background colors, making it easy to dodge and burn quickly. If the effect is too strong, simple press ‘E’ for the eraser tool, and erase away the effect.


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    Jim Walker

    I don’t photograph hair very often but I love applying you techniques to what I photograph…landscapes, airplanes, vehicles, sunrises and sunsets, etc.

  • user image

    Loved the hair colour tutorial. Very useful. I already subscribe and have bought about 6 of your tutorials.
    Would love to know how some images achieve their colour tones.

  • user image

    Nice episode. Of course there are usually a dozen ways to do anything in Photoshop. An alternative to using the blend-if is color range set to highlights to make a basic mask to lighten using curves or levels (also masking out the non-hair highlights).

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    Laura Berman

    Great tutorial, as always. And the technique is applicable not just for hair. Thanks so much.

  • Kerry

    Hi Aeron,
    How do you achieve the colour toning in the attached images. These are not my work. I do admire this work, and cannot emulate the content, bur would like to emulate the tones. Can you help?
    Kerry Australia

  • user image

    Great Tutorial! I have an Idea for one, How to make an image look good for printing. I see all of these great images out there and they look flawless. i go over mine time and time again and i like them, but when i print, they seem to lose something that makes me think, ” I would buy that”. I don’t know what to do different. Sharpening makes it look grainier to me. softer makes it look out of focus. Maybe I’m just crazy.

  • user image

    I love this style of tutorial. It’s a bit of an update, but I love when you do that. I can’t wait to get in the studio this weekend and use what I learned here. Thanks!!

  • user image

    Great episode, as always!
    If it is not really offtopic: i would like to suggest an episode about reducing the file size of psd documents. I know there are a lot of tips on the internet, some work, some don’t, But i would love to see you give some advice on that.
    I was just working on a psd file, it wasn’t even that large, it had a resolution of 200 ppi, a width of around 5000 px and a height of about 8000 px. Not so large i would say, and i added about 15 layers (paint brush, clone stamp, filters, a few sky layers) and it reached 1,5 Gb! It only decrease at about 200 MB after flattening the layers.
    Is it possible that Photoshop can have an error and produce such HUGE files? Because with only 15 layers and a relatively small resolution of 200 ppi, it is unnatural for a file to reach 1,5 Gb…
    Sorry for being so off topic, but this really pisses me off, i wish you did a tutorial on this Aaron!
    Thank you for all you do!

  • user image

    Fantastically doable. I’ve always been mystified by great hair in photography. This tutorial makes it a good hair day look easy! Thank you!

  • user image

    Great tutorial but not sure why people waste their time with blend if or apply image. Just create luminosity masks and you have all tonal ranges at your disposal throughout your editing.

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    Dawn Churchill

    Aaron you are a wonderful source of information. Thank you for sharing.

  • user image

    wanna know how to open multiple images one at a time
    like u did in the batman thing