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Add Hair by Painting

Lesson 5 from: Retouching Techniques for Hair in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

5. Add Hair by Painting

Lesson Info

Add Hair by Painting

Please don't be afraid of this. Please do not be afraid of drawing hair. I think it is so much easier than people know. During this section of painting hair, we're gonna talk about drawing hair, rotating the canvas to make it a little easier, creating custom brushes, and then painting on Screen Mode. Okay? You should love painting on hair. It's happy. It's good. Alright. So let's get started. I'm just gonna move this out of the way. Aright. So, here's... Let's say our start image, and the mask is fairly decent. It's not perfect, but it's fairly decent, again, we don't care about her face. But it's not perfect. And again, this is where you're gonna be able to save time. So do you see how it gets a little chunky monkey? That's a technical term. Chunky. Monkey. Alright. What you wanna simply do is paint. So what have I started to do here is I'm literally painting with Photoshop, and I think people ought to get more habituated with doing that. Just don't be afraid. Don't be afraid of paint...

ing. So, how do you start to paint? Well, first of all you take a lesson from the drawing and painting masters out there, and do a gesture layer. I'm not gonna spell it 'cause I can't spell. And what does that mean? That means you make a blank layer. You select your brush, you go down... Select your brush. What do you use to brush? What do you start with? Alright, as a general rule, you want to take your brush and measure it to about the size of the hair that you're working on. I'm gonna tell you, it's probably about size two pixel brush. Size two pixel brush. You want your setting to be on pen pressure. Why pen pressure? Because you've already gone out and bought a tablet. You are not be sitting there going... (banging mouse on desk) Sorry, Sean. Sorry about that. Little loud. Sound guy. You're not gonna be doing this with the mouse, and if you are I just... I'm sorry. I'm just sorry. There's nothing else I can say. Generally, opacity may be 50, 80. Not 100% opacity, 'cause it'll look like it's a kid's scrawl. Alright? So generally lower opacity. And then we're gonna talk about rotating skin. So what really a great artist told me once... Retoucher. He said I was really uptight and like this... It's scary. Hair's hard. He said, "Just draw." Okay. Just draw. I'm drawing the hair. One of the things besides drawing like a complete spaz, right now, you'll notice I am drawing on the inside of the hair, and then I'm drawing the outside of the hair. Alright, I'm loosening up already. I can see my brush is too big, but that doesn't matter. Alright, cool. Do the whole head of hair. Select color. I am very quickly selecting the color. My finger is always next to the option key. Option, click, select. Option key, select. I'm looking at you and I'm drawing. I'm not even looking. So this is basically like you did in my drawing class. You do 10 minute gestures. (pen against tablet) Okay, cool. Alright, feel good? Delete. Now start your job. I promise you, that one thing will change night and day. I promise you. How you proceed. And dear god, please, do not be doing this. Don't. Just don't. You're not gonna like it. So, another technique inside this area here. And oh, did you see that big fat brush? Make it a two. Make it a two, three. Alright. So I'm option clicking. Relax, my friends. Relax, relax, and start drawing. I'm not sure if you can see it on the screen, you may have to trust me. I think just for this demo, I'll make the brush bigger so you can see it. The other really good technique that I just picked up recently is hitting the R for rotate. Just the R key, and rotating with my pen. It's called a pen. I'm rotating with the pen. And then hit the B for brush again. Go back. I've rotated the canvas. I have not done anything to this document. It's not... It's just a temporary thing. Hit escape, it goes right back to normal. So what was that? Just the R key. Oh, they like that one. That's good. And why? Because some of y'all... Oh, you can also... Pardon me... Hold the space bar, and you get the hand key, and that allows you to readjust the picture. (pen on tablet) And then I'm just drawing. Okay, so that is basic drawing. It's not gonna be quick. If you have a two pixel image, it'll be quick, but this should take some time. This is where you want to have a cup of coffee, put your Jerry Springer on the TV, or whatever you watch, and just take your time and draw, okay? Now, the other thing I want to tell you about is it's gonna be, again, for this demo I did it fatter than you want to. It's gonna be too sharp for your image, without fail. When you're done painting the hair, you're gonna one blur it just a hair. Like point one, point five, point eight. Blur the hair a hair, yeah, I know. I know. I'm famous for this, yes. You'll get used to it. The other thing you might want to do, I said blur the hair, I used a filter, is use the blur tool. Oh, my cursor just said it didn't love me no more. You could use the blur tool to blur it selectively. Why would you want to do this? Well, sometimes your hair's in focus in this area, and out of focus in other areas. Which brings me to my next point. When you are painting hair... Excuse me there, let's get out of here. Back, mid, top. Back, mid, top, what does that mean? That means paint the back of the hair, paint the mid hairs, and then paint the top hairs. Let me see if I have some. Hopefully you can see this. Back hairs tend to be fat and blurry, kay? Mid hairs are sharper, and top hairs tend to be the highlight detail hair, okay? So, why do I keep them separate? I keep them separate so I can control them. I keep them separate so I can blur them differently, and then I can move them. The back hairs, you might want the back hairs under the mask, if you're masking. Right, under the scene, under the mask. So, you just choose it. Painting the mid hair, the hot hair, it's all the same. It's all painting, none of the technique changes. It's just the structure. Okay? Is that pretty cool? Alright. Next thing I want to talk about is patching. I do a lot of patching. So patching is for like, spots in the hair that aren't quite filled that I have here, and how you do patching, is you grab a chunk of hair from another spot, command + J to copy it, you always label, don't ya? Attach piece to piece, okay. And then I transform it. Now, when I do this, I like to put it on opacity, so I hit the move tool, and then I hit the number five, so I can make this 50% opacity so I can see it, and I'm just gonna put it in position. I'm gonna hit command + T to transform, and I'm gonna go up here to the warp. And I'm gonna warp that into position. And hair can be really forgiving because it wants to be kind of smooth-y... Smooth-y sexy. I can't believe I just said that, but that's alright. Alright, let's just say for giggles that that's good enough. Put it back at 100% opacity. Put a black mask. How do you do that? Option, hold the option key, click on add a mask icon. I'm holding the control and the option key down right now to make my brush bigger. Alright. And you can do patching, okay? I've done this very quickly, but I just want to get the idea across.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Hair Brushes
Files to Make Your own Photoshop Brush
Content Aware Fill Action
Retouching Hair Workbook

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Ratings and Reviews


This is a fantastic course. But is clearly intended for very experienced PS users and retouchers. This backup materials, especially the workbook, are first class. She does speak too quickly and is a little difficult to follow. I felt like the right amount of material was covered. I would have loved more. But it needed more time to do it justice. She just seemed so rushed. I would have payed more for a longer class. Overall, I would highly recommend to anyone interested in this type of work. I found it fascinating.


If you love Photoshop and are serious about retouching, this is one of the best classes from one of the BEST instructors I've ever seen. It is fast pasted, but well organized and completely to the point. I don't know about you, but I prefer an engaging instructor that is passionate about her field and wants to give you as much information in her course as possible. The bonus materials alone are worth their weight in gold and should help anyone having trouble following along with her advanced techniques. I hope CreativeLive brings her back soon!

Jennifer Funk

Absolutely love this class! I've owned it for a couple of years now and find myself coming back to it time and time again. Lisa is really easy to listen to with her clear and confident direction. I Own a few of her other classes too and truly enjoy watching her teach. Thank you for the amazing content!

Student Work