Sometimes you need to get rid of that frizzy wind-blown hair but you don’t have the time to mess with cloning and blending. This can be even more difficult and time consuming with more complicated backgrounds that have gradients in them. I’m here to show you my quick and dirty way to get rid of those flyaways.
My trick to doing this very quickly is by using the liquify tool. I know it sounds crazy, but bare with me. When getting rid of flyaway hair, the general way to do this is to clone pieces of your background in on top of the hair in order to cover it up. The main problem I encounter with this is when I’m dealing with complicated backgrounds. It was always difficult for me to get the different gradients of color to line up and blend well together. Instead of messing with cloning and blending, I use the liquify tool to expand my background into the areas I want to fix. I then use a layer mask to bring back the parts I want. Below is a step by step.
First thing you do is duplicate your layer. From here, I take the top layer into the liquify tool (Filter > Liquify). I now need to know how far to extend my background into the subject. For this I use the Freeze Mask Tool to approximately line out where I want my hairline to be.
Using a large brush with the Push Tool, I extend the background into the subject. It’s important here to pay attention to the lines and shapes of what you are liquefying. Most of the time I do this, it’s with completely blurred backgrounds or in instances like this with just sky and clouds. This makes the liquefying process easy because I can push and pull my background however I want, since these types of backgrounds don’t have a definitive shape. If I was trying to do this with a brick wall, this technique might not be as useful or would at the very least it would be much more difficult.
We now put the liquefied layer behind the unaltered layer and add a layer mask to the unaltered layer. By utilizing a black brush we can paint away the frizzy hair. For this part I had my brush set to 75% hardness, but this will depend on the resolution of your image, the size of your brush, and how big your subject is in the image. I also have my layer mask expand farther out into the background because I want to make sure I bring in all the pixels that I altered. This is what makes everything blend perfectly together.
And here is the full before-and-after image:
What questions do you have? Has anyone ever used this technique to remove flyaways? What other odd things do you use the liquefy tool for? Do you have another simple way of doing this?
And don't mind the messy painting in this example, my dog literally ate the pen to my Wacom tablet.