Making Complex Selections Easy in Photoshop

On this video tutorial photographer Nathaniel Dodson (from the website tutvid) demonstrates a simple method to make complex selections using Photoshop CC.

 The whole idea of this tutorial and the method that Dodson demonstrates in this video has to do with dividing your selection into more than one mask (in this case the body and the hair).
You start by creating one selection and working on it in select and mask and saving it to a new layer mask. Then you can re-select and go again to select and mask and work on the other parts (you can also father for strong edges on stuff which is typically not hair) and again save to a new layer mask. You can also call them specific names (in this case body/hair).
Now you can use the brush tool with a soft light blend mode in white to remove unwanted color from the hair mask (shut off the other layer) and you can use decontaminate colors. You will need to fill the non-hair part with black so this will not affect the nonhair parts. the non-hair should have the hair painted in black (both on the masks) so now you have body specific mask and hair specific mask.

This is by far not the first video we publish here on dealing with complex selections in Photoshop (and hair selections in particular). In the past we look into advanced hair selections in Photoshop,  “How to Cut Out Complex Hair in Photoshop” with Aaron Nace and more recently “How to Cut Out Hair in Photoshop with the Brush Tool“, Photoshop senior product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes had a very nice simple guide for beginners entitled “How to Make Fine Hair Selections in Photoshop” while both Jesús Ramirez with “Advanced Hair Selection Tutorial – Masking Hair In Photoshop” and Michael Woloszynowicz with “How To Quickly Remove Stray Hairs in Photoshop” had some more in-depth guides. Recently Dodson himself published a video on this same subject entitled “The Fastest Way to Cut Out Hair Using Photoshop” which you might want to watch as well.

You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can also check Dodson’s previous videos here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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