Skip to main content

Use Brushes to Create Hair

Lesson 6 from: Retouching Techniques for Hair in Photoshop CC

Lisa Carney

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Use Brushes to Create Hair

Lesson Info

Use Brushes to Create Hair

Brushes. Let's talk about brushes real quick. I'm just gonna stay and I'm gonna come over here. Brushes, brushes, brushes and more brushes. There are different kinds of brushes. I like the, the brushes that we are using are kind of scatter paint brushes, so like these, these brushes here. These are scatter brushes. There are bunch of them. If you get the class there's a bunch of brush presets you get to download that already have these with the controls on 'em, and then this is a Brush Library. Now you use this in kind of an odd situation. Like let's say you have someone who the shot is really blurry and there's no fidelity to the shot, so how are you gonna pull the channel? There's nothing there. I often use pre shot-out images to use to make a brush, but not only that, I often use, I have a whole image library. I've got a zillion brushes. I can't even tell you how many hair files I have. And I have them so that if I need it, I can, excuse me, I can pull her hair and put that in anoth...

er file, and honestly, I see someone with great hair, I'm shootin'. Kenneth's hair, I'd be shootin' Kenneth. I should, yeah, you've got great hair. You do, you have really great hair. [Audience Laughs] Because I want to use that for something else, and you can go buy wigs, and shoot wigs, you could go to the thrift store and get wigs and shoot 'em, and I cannot tell you how often you want to use 'em, and they're beautiful, and then you put them in, and then do you remember I did that Transform? Alright, so let's do this, let's just take this hair. It's obviously the wrong color and it still has a halo, but I think you will get the point. Command T, put it in there, I'm gonna go ahead and apply that mask, and if we colorized it and put it in position. And trust me, once you've done this once or twice and you have it you will save your beautifully worked out hair and use it on a bunch of jobs. I'm going to admit to something, I've used, Heidi Klum's nose on my own personal retouching. Put it right there, because I did such a good job on it, I wanted to use it again and again. So again, this is a hair library, so let me be clear about this. I'm going to get in trouble for that, I think. Alright, that's okay. She's got a lovely nose. Compliment, it's a compliment. Alright. So, what I want to talk about just real quickly is the Brush Template versus the Brush Library. Two different things. So these are just black and white images that you can make brushes on and the library is actually an image you're gonna use. Now, on the handouts there's, I'm gonna skip this part because I'm running out of time, but to make a brush, I'm just gonna show you a real quick little, a quick little demo here. Bare with me my loves. My computer is very excited to be here and it's turning on often. Alright, so you can look up tutorials on this but you can make a brush, all you have to do is have a basic square, it's a little two megabyte file, and I'm gonna go Command A to select the whole image, it's a square, Define Brush Preset. Alright. Russian Dot, cause I'm Russian. I came up with this it's called the Russian Dot. And then I can go to my Brush Presets, and set it for what I want, and you know what? That brush is huge. Didn't I tell you I like small brushes? And I don't want smoothing, and I want it on Pen Pressure. I might want some Scattering. Scattering, make a little. Now I like that one. I'm gonna make a new brush set out of that. Russian Dot Smooth. And now I want to pick that brush. So that'll be the next one. What I would probably do is delete the old one. So I don't get confused and I just want the smooth one. Oh brilliant, it didn't save it, that's nice. Alright, either way, let me go back to the size. Now, this five little Pixel Brush, remember where we start at the beginning? Blank layer, paint hair, I select the color, and I make it much smaller than this but you get a different kind of texture when you make it really small. And there's a whole tutorial on how to, I want you guys to see this, I think I'm gonna do it bigger, keep in mind the settings you guys watch on this movie, if you were to look at this and you see I have a Five Pixel Brush and I'm painting it, that's too big for this hair, I'm doing it so you can see it, but on your screen you're gonna want to do smaller. Alright? So, very quickly in 30 seconds, I just basically said this is how you make a brush. I have a tutorial that's a paper tutorial that'll show you exactly how to make all the brushes for this, so I'm gonna move on, and if we have a minute I'll come back to this. Brushes are your friends, though. I will tell you in all honesty, for all the brushes that you can use, and what do I mean by that? I mean all these brushes. There's a bunch of hair brushes. I'm gonna make a blank screen here and fill it with white. I'm gonna hit my default keys and pick a color, I just want to show you guys some stuff here. There are hair brushes that you can get, that you can do all kinds of crazy ass wonderful stuff with and make hair. Red's probably not the color you, well red's a lovely color for hair, orange something nice. You can get these, I have a bunch of these brushes. The Nagel Brushes are fantastic. They'll allow you to draw hair. I generally don't illustrate hair, like that gal that we're looking at with all that hair that's already there, I'm not gonna be using, kind of puby-looking hair, I'm gonna brush her hair. (audience laughs) I mean, you can make it really small, but chances are you're not gonna use this so these hair brushes, while they are fantastic, you're generally not using it to paint over hair. You're probably using it to illustrate hair where hair does not exist. If you need to, I shouldn't have said puby, I know. Anyway, you get the idea, so all these, I've got a ton of brushes you guys can download, they're very valuable but what I wanted to say is the majority of my work is done with a basic, basic brush set at two pixels with a zero hardness on 50% opacity. No bells, no whistles, just regular plain stuff. Alright. I'm gonna move on real quick. You guys doing alright? I'm gonna just pause and take a question or two, if there is any. Awesome, absolutely. Anyone have any questions? If there is any in the studio audience, you can grab a mic. I've got one here from Sarah Morgan, first, who says, "What are the numbers under the brushes and is there a way to organize them?" The numbers under the brushes, so for the presets, it's a pixel size, okay? So it's how big they are pixel-wise. Organizing them, the only way, I have a folder with ABR brushes, and what does that mean? That means I saved them out. Save your brushes. Oh, looky there, you can see it right there. See how it says Hair Brushes.abr? Files for Creative Live. Look what you could get. Hair brushes. So you can save out your hair brushes in a set, a .abr file, as far as organizing 'em in here, my understanding is there is third party products you can buy to do that. I'm sorry, I don't know what they are. You have to look them up on Google or an app store, and yeah, and if you're making brushes, you guys, when you make them, make your own brushes, do 'em as big as you can. As large as you can because then you can always reduce them, but if you made a teeny tiny brush and then you wanna res it up, you're kind of screwed. Cool? Cool. Oh excellent. I was going to ask, whether you use any plugins for pay brushes. Yeah, just the Nagel Brushes, but I gotta tell you, I pretty much make 'em on my own. But yes, there are great plugins, I just find that one, the Nagel series is fantastic, it is free, and yeah, and like I said when you saw it, it's very distinctive. It's got a pretty heavy look, so how often are you gonna be able to use it? Curly hair, like Afro hair, absolutely use 'em. Absolutely. They're fantastic.

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