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From brunette to blonde

Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Before and after

Colorizing hair is fairly an easy job. Play around with Hue/Saturation and you'll get result. But what if we have to make brown/black hair blond? Then Hue/Saturation won't help us because we'll get unnatural hair color and noise will show up on photo.
To change brown hair to blond(er) I use several methods and which one will I use depends on the hair itself and on the lightning on the photo. In this tutorial I'll show you one of those methods.

Step 1
Open our photo (you can download original from here).

Step 2
Copy "background" layer by pressing CTRL + J on the keyboard. Name this layer "copy".

Step 3
This is one of the most important steps in this tutorial. In this step we have to extract model's hair from background. Depending on your photo you can use many methods (Select color, Photoshop's Extract filter, channels....). Let's try using channels here. Go to IMAGE - CALCULATIONS. Set values as I did on the picture below.
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
If you go to the Channels palette you'll see that we have new channel named Alpha 1. Click on it and press CTRL + L on keyboard. This will bring out Levels dialog. Using levels we are going to change amount of grey on photo and also make get rid of that background. For doing so you have to set values as I did on the picture below
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Now use brush tool (B), white color and paint everything that is not a hair. This is very delicate step so try to be as precise as you can. This step is very "time consuming" so I suggest you to first go with the rough selection and see how it will look in the end. Later on you can easily return to this step and make more precise selection. Mine looked something like this
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com

Step 4
Now, when we have our selection of the hair, let's start colorizing it.
If you are still in the Channels palette press and hold CTRL and left mouse click on the Alpha 1 channel (if you are not, click on the Channels palette and press and hold CTRL and left mouse click on the Alpha 1 channel). This will make our selection active. Click on the RGB channel and click on the Layers palette. Now click on the "copy" layer go to the SELECT - INVERSE and press CTRL + J to copy selection to a new layer. Name that layer "hair".

Step 5
Now we have to blur just a little bit hair so click on "hair" layer and go to FILTER - BLUR - GAUSSIAN BLUR and set values as I did.
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com

Step 6
Now let's change hair color.
Go to IMAGE - ADJUSTMENTS - VARIATIONS. In Variations dialog window we are interested only in More Yellow and Lighter.
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
So, click on the SHADOWS and click twice on More Yellow and twice on Lighter. Now Midtones - and also two clicks on More Yelow and Lighter. Highlights - click twice on both More Yellow and Lighter. Now set Blending mode for "hair" layer to Screen and change opacity to around 80%.

Step 7
Go to the Create new adjustment layer and select Curves. Click OK. Now right click on Curves adjustment layer and select Clipping mask (set cursor over Curves letter). Clipping mask will affect only layer below it, not the whole image. Set values for Curves as I did on the images below.
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
Set Blending mode to Vivid Light and opacity of this layer to 40%

Step 8
Pick Blur Tool and blur some parts of hair where pixels are clearly seen.
Here is our final photo.

Brunette to blond photoshop tutorial - DPhotoNews.com
One more example
Brunette to blonde
See you!

This tutorial was made using Wacom tablet.
Wacom tablet

author of this tutorial is Vladimir Markovic

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