Retouching Hair: Darkening a Part

by Scott Kelby

Scott Kelby photo retouching Scott Kelby continues this series of retouching hair with darkening the part line! Scott writes:

quoting Since the human eye is drawn to the brightest part of an image, you don’t want your viewer’s eye drawn to the part in your subject’s hair. Sometimes that’s the case, but luckily for us, it’s a pretty quick fix. This is one of those retouches that you may not have to do to every portrait, but when you need it—it makes a big difference. end quote

Step One: Here’s the image we’re working on, and if you look at the part in her hair, it’s just wide enough, and the light is positioned in just such a way, that it accentuates the part line and draws your attention up there. So, we’re going to darken that area to make it appear thinner and less noticeable. Start by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to duplicate the Background layer.

Retouching the part in the hair to make it darker

Step Two: Change the duplicate layer’s blend mode to Multiply. Notice how much darker her part looks compared to Step One. Of course, the rest of the image is way too dark, but we’ll fix that in a minute.

duplicate layer, change to Multiply

Step Three: Since we only want the part area darker, press-and-hold the Option (PC: Alt) key, and click on the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel (it’s circled in red here). This adds a black layer mask, hiding the darkened layer.

Layer Masking Layer

Step Four: Now, get the Brush tool (B), choose a medium-sized, soft-edged brush, and make sure your Foreground color is set to white. Start painting over the part area to darken it. If you think it looks too dark, you can always lower the layer’s Opacity, although I didn’t do that here.

Paint WHITE into the BLACK mask to reaveal image

You can see before and after images below, or an enlargement showing the whole image by clicking here.

Before and After

Stand by, because soon we'll be posting Scott's next installment of Retouching Hair - and show you how to hide those ugly roots! Until then, Check out all of Scott's tutorials on Retouching Hair

Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques by Scott Kelby
Peachpit / New Riders / Kelby Media
Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques / Amazon

Scott KelbyScott Kelby is Editor, Publisher, and co-founder of Photoshop User magazine, host of the top-rated weekly videocast Photoshop User TV, and co-host of D-Town TV (the weekly videocast for DSLR shooters). He is President of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), the trade association for Adobe Photoshop users, and he¹s President of the training, education, and publishing firm, Kelby Media Group, Inc.
Excerpted from : Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques by Scott Kelby. Copyright ©2011. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and New Riders.

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