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Draw Hair in Photoshop

Posted on 21st September 2018
For this tutorial, you will need an image or portrait to work with. It is a good idea that the subject has no hair. Maybe a reference color image for the hair tones, shadows and highlights.

1 - In Photoshop, open the image you chose. Click on the small button at the bottom of the “Layers Panel” to create a “New Layer” on top.





2 - Select the “Brush Tool” (B), choose a Medium Brown (#61441f) as “Foreground” color and use a medium sized and hard brush (we used 65 Points and 100% “Hardness” approx.). Draw “Hair” following the contour of the head and shoulders. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but you need to cover all the head and leave the ends a bit shorter than the desired final length.







3 - Select the “Smudge Tool”, choose a small brush (24 Pixels), lower its “Strength” to about 85% and pull down the edges of the hair. You want to mimic the way hair looks.









4 - Now, select the “Dodge Tool” (O), set the “Range” to “Midtones” with a 18% “Exposure” and a 4 Pixel Brush and start drawing lines from the top of the head in the direction that the hair naturally grows. Switch the “Range” to “Highlights” and add a bit more.









5 - Finally, select the “Burn Tool” (O), set the “Range” to “Midtones” with a 20% “Exposure” and a 5 Pixel Brush. Start drawing lines from the top of the head in the direction that the hair naturally grows. You can also switch the “Range” to “Highlights” if you want.









6 - Use the “Dodge Tool” (O), set the “Range” to “Midtones” but make the Brush bigger (32 Pixels) and give more Depth to your subject by adding shadows in strategic places.





7 - Alternate with the “Burn Tool” (O), (28 Pixels Brush) to add “Highlights” too. Keep doing this, changing the “Brush Size”, “Exposure” and the “Range” of your “Dodge” and “Burn” Tools to create a realistic effect.











8 - Select the “Smudge Tool” again, but this time choose a “Dry Brush” from the ones in the “Brush Panel”. Use a “Strength” of 60% and finish the “Edges” to make them look better. You can use it on some of the hair too if you want.







9 - Duplicate the Layer (Command/Control + J), change the “Blending Mode” to “Vivid Light” and the “Opacity” to 30%.



10 - Make sure you have your first “Hair” Layer selected, then in the “Adjustments Panel”, create a “New Curves Adjustment Layer”, tweak the “Curve” a bit and “Clip” the Layer by clicking on the small button at the bottom of the “Properties Panel”.





11 - Double-click on the original “Hair” Layer Thumbnail and apply the following “Layer Styles”:

Drop Shadow:



12 - We also added a “Drop Shadow” to our subject and a “Color Fill Layer” as “Background”.

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