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How to Mask Hair and Blur or Change Backgrounds in Photoshop


Have you ever wanted to blur a background or move your subject over to a different photo, but aren’t quite sure how to select around their hair? If so, this tutorial is for you! In it, I’ll show you how to mask hair and blur or change backgrounds in Photoshop using an amazingly easy tool!

(In this tutorial, I’m using Photoshop Creative Cloud. CS6/Elements users, see below for a workaround option!)

Alternative Option for CS6 or Elements Users


I believe the “Select and Mask” feature is specific to the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. However, for users working in CS6 or recent versions of Elements, there is a cool workaround you can do to achieve a similar result!

It’s called “Refine Edge” and here’s what to do:

So, after you’ve made the rough selection around your subject like I show in the video, (but before adding the layer mask) go to Select > Refine Edge at the top of your screen. This will pull up a menu that allows you to tweak the edges of your selection.

Under the “Edge Detection” section of this menu, you can either check “Smart Radius” box and then use the Radius slider to adjust the edges of your selection. Or, you can select the “Refine Edge Brush Tool”, which should be located just to the left of the Edge Detection section. This tool will allow you to paint over your subject’s hair to adjust the selection like I show in the video.

Once you’re satisfied with your settings and adjustments, find the “Output To” section near the bottom of the menu, and choose “Layer Mask” from this list. This will turn your selection into a mask when you hit OK at the bottom.

And that’s it! I hope you have so much using this technique! If you give it a try, I’d love to hear what you think. Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Adding Believable Background Blur
How to Create a Circular Background Blur Effect in Photoshop
Using and Understanding Layer Masks

Looking to dive deeper into Photoshop Editing?


If you enjoyed this tutorial, I’d love to invite you to join me for my online Photoshop course, The Photoshop Fanatic.

The Photoshop Fanatic is an easy-to-follow, go-at-your-own-pace course that starts from the very beginning of Photoshop. We begin with a walk-through introduction and explanation of the various tools, layers, and filters in the program. Then, we work our way up to creating full, in-depth edits with ease.

To see if The Photoshop Fanatic is right for you, click here to learn more.

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This free tutorial will explain how to easily mask around a subject's hair and then blur or change the background of the photo in Photoshop! | Find more photography tips & free tutorials at www.morganburks.comThis free tutorial will explain how to select around a subject, easily mask their hair, and then move them over onto a new background in Photoshop! (It even shows how to blur backgrounds, too!) | This free tutorial will explain how to mask hair and blur or change backgrounds in Photoshop! | Find more photography tips & free tutorials at www.morganburks.comThis free tutorial will show you how to easily mask around a subject's hair and then create beautifully blurred backgrounds in Photoshop! | Find more photography tips and free tutorials at www.morganburks.comThis free tutorial will explain how to easily select or mask around a subject's hair in Photoshop and then blur the background or move your subject onto a new photo. | Find more photography tips and free tutorials at www.morganburks.comThis free tutorial will explain how to mask hair and blur or change backgrounds in Photoshop! | Find more photography tips & free tutorials at www.morganburks.comThis free tutorial will explain how to select around a subject, easily mask their hair, and then move them over onto a new background in Photoshop! (It even shows how to blur backgrounds, too!) | This free tutorial will explain how to mask hair and blur or change backgrounds in Photoshop! | Find more photography tips & free tutorials at www.morganburks.com
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