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Colorizing Hair

This technique (that I learned from Kevin Ames) gives you maximum control and flexibility while changing or adjusting hair color, and because of the use of Layer Masks and an Adjustment layer, you’re not “bruising the pixels.” Instead, you’re following the enlightened path of “non-destructive retouching.”

Step One.
Open the photo you want to retouch. Choose Color Balance from the Adjustment Layer pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette. When the dialog appears, move the sliders toward the color you’d like as the hair color. You can adjust the shadows, midtones, and highlights by selecting each in the Tone Balance section of the Color Balance dialog and then moving the color sliders.


Step Two.
In this case, we want to make the hair redder, so we’ll move the top slider toward Red for the shadows, then the midtones, and then the highlights. Now, click OK, and the entire photo will have a heavy red cast over it (as shown).

Step Three.
Press “x” until your Foreground color is black, and press Option-Delete (PC: Alt-Backspace) to fill the Color Balance mask with black. Doing so removes the red tint from the photo.

Step Four.
Get the Brush tool in the Toolbox, choose a soft-edged brush, press “d” to set your Foreground color to white, and begin painting over her hair. As you paint, the red tint you added with Color Balance is painted back in (as shown). Continue painting on the hair until it’s fully tinted. You may want to paint a few strokes over her eyebrows as well. Once the hair is fully painted, go to the Layers palette and change the Blend Mode of your Color Balance Adjustment Layer from Normal to Color, and then lower the Opacity until the hair color looks natural (as shown below).





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