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Cleaning Up Cross Hairs

Lesson 7 from: Retouching Techniques for Hair in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

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Lesson Info

7. Cleaning Up Cross Hairs

Lesson Info

Cleaning Up Cross Hairs

I just wanna do a very brief conversation about cross hairs. So it's a big question I get about cleaning hair. I am gonna show a separate image. How do you clean up cross hairs? And it's kind of an idea about like fast, everyone wants to go fast. You sometimes can't go fast, but I'll do the best I can to show you my quickest method. And for cleaning up cross hairs I often use Content Aware and I have an action for that. Heal tool, Patch tool, Cloning tool, and painting with a Brush, alright. So let's get started on that. Isn't this fun? Hair is fun. Seriously, the takeaway from this is painting. (in a sing song voice) You're gonna be painting, everyone loves to paint. I won't sing again, I'm sorry, alright. So here's a quick little start and you know what, I think do you guys, you know when you watch demos and stuff and everything's always perfect and you're like it doesn't work that way for me. It's never perfect for anybody and one of the reasons I keep bringing these files that are ...

a little problematic is cause it's kinda like you take those recipe courses and they make something and you make the cake and you look at it and you're like, holy crap, my cake doesn't look like this. So I'm trying to get pictures that actually look like what you guys are gonna have and so on this image here, her hair's a little dry, it could use a little conditioner. And so what I did was I started to use the Content Aware tool and Fill, excuse me, Content Aware Fill. So what I've done is all select with the lasso tool a little area and then under the fill menu, so if you go shift delete you get the fill menu. You can do Content Aware and Fill, okay? You wanna hit the F key if you're gonna do that. On mine it's set at F1. Now look, that didn't look so good, do you see that? That looks like crap, you don't panic. You just go back to your history panel and go alright that didn't work out so well. Let me try something else, command D. Sometimes with the Content Aware, if you zoom in you get a better result. Yeah do you see how it's the same function, only if you're in it's a different zoom. It operates different. Make no mistake this has jaggies all around it and I know that it has jaggies all around it and that's fine. Okay, Content Aware Fill is not pleased with me right now. Here we go, let's try it again. You guys, I'm hitting the F1 key because I've made an action. Maz D, thank you for the name. So my F1 is my action. I'm gonna take that off button mode. It's a Content Aware Fill. Why do I do that? Because why I wanna do that is if I know I'm gonna be going through this file with this gal with this hair, that's a lot of Content Aware Fill right? I don't wanna be hitting shift delete, shift delete. I can do it with this hand right over here, F1 there you go. F1, have my coffee, have a sip, keep going. Now as I said, it's not perfect, but it's getting me in the ballpark. Other ways you can do it is the Heal tool. I'm gonna take a moment right now, do you guys notice I'm retouching on a flat layer? I'm not retouching on a blank layer. Blank layer, some people like to retouch on a blank layer. They like to Clone or Heal on a blank layer and have Current and Below on. I'm not judging, you do whatever you want. I'm kinda old school. When I learned Photoshop, there was no layers. Can you imagine? I'm old, I'm really old. I pickled well. So I'm just using the Clone tool. You can get there, you can get there, you gone be here a long time if you use the Clone tool on this. Doesn't mean it's bad, it might be the way you like to do it. I think it would take too much time and you gotta see if that's worth it. But wait, but look the clone tool is so much better than this did. Do you understand that? Look, Content Aware Fill is jaggie. On this particular image, Cloning was better, but maybe I do a combination. Maybe I do the heavy lifting with the Content Aware Fill and then go back in and clean with the Clone tool. And I'm kinda trying to show you here the mess behind the kitchen. You know, I think people get these, you get these files and everything looks so beautiful. If you looked at these movie posters we do, oh dear God, they're a mess. Why are they a mess? Cause you got eight hours to get 12 people retouched. They're gonna be a mess. So I want you to kinda pick and choose which tool, how clean you need to be. Do you wanna retouch on a blank layer on the top, cool. If you don't just merge em together. Retouch on one layer. You can use the Heal tool. If that works better for you. I gotta tell you I find em all to be the same. It's whatever gets you to Kansas, you know what I mean. I'm using the Heal tool, but again do you see how much time it's gonna take? I would not get paid enough money to sit, to do this one headshot and get rid of all the cross hairs. I would, there's no way I'd make enough money if I did it this way unless it was a L'Oreal ad and they were gonna pay for it. So what I do is the quick method and then I do the backup paint hair on top. Okay, the backup paint hair on top. You guys cool with that? And what's that? That is literally just what we did before. And again you can blur it. Now another thing we have not talked about about the hair, Smudge Tool. What you can also do is use the Smudge Tool just on the ends. I'm gonna make the brush a little bigger. Again it's the same command option, control. And I can pull these hairs out and make em a little softer and look like the ends that you have. That's the Smudge Tool, okay. I wanna go back and show you another finishing detail on the other file so you guys are clear on this. Again, a little bit messy cleanup for the cross hairs. Don't be afraid, and then paint quickly and get it done and then it'll be worth the money and the time, cool? And let me be really clear, you could do this perfectly. Perfectly Clone and Heal it out. It's gonna take a lot of time. Doable, just charge for it.

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