Complex Photoshop Image Masking Tutorial

Complex Photoshop Image Masking Tutorial
Complex Photoshop Image Masking Tutorial

Photoshop image masking is a useful image editing technique that is applied for removing complex background. Specially, the hair or fur images need image masking treatment. Photoshop masking is more complex with comparison to other background removal techniques like clipping path. It requires enough skill and expertise. Today, we will show how to apply image masking technique easily to extract the image from the background.

Creating Clipping Path:

We are going to mask a model image from the background. It requires both clipping path and masking to remove the background. The first step is to create clipping path around the solid portion of the image. It will allow us to apply masking technique only on the selected portion of the image. The photo clipping will help us to keep the selected part intact while masking the background around the tricky part of the image.

Layer Setting and Selection:

Now we have to copy the original layer of the image and to create two blank layers below the copied layer. We will apply pure white background on one layer and pure black background on the other layer like the below screenshot.

masking layer

Once the layer arrangement is done we have to select the clipping path by pressing Ctrl/Command and clicking on the path layer. Now, inverse the selection by pressing Ctrl/Command + Shift + i. The selection will be like the below screenshot.

Clipping path inverse

Applying Photoshop Image Masking:

Finally, we will start Photoshop image masking around the hair. Select Background eraser tool from the tool plate. Adjust the tolerance and hardness as per the necessity. It may vary from image to image. Here I am applying the tool with 20% tolerance and 10% hardness. Apply the eraser tool as long as needed to clean the background around the hair. Once the background is clean enough against white background please turn off the white layer and test it against black background. If there is any unwanted dirt you will find it here against the black background that will allow you to apply further eraser tool to make the background neat and clean.

background eraser tool

Cut the Model from the Background:

Now, you have to cut out the model from the background. Select the clipping path and include the hair of the model inside the selection with the help of plus lasso tool. Then, cut out the model from the background by holding Ctrl /Command + j and apply any background as you wish below the model image.


I think you are thinking how easy it’s to do hair masking. Yes, you are right; it’s easy if you are expert enough in Photoshop otherwise it may seem as the most complex image editing technique that will be a good reason for the wastage of your time. However, I think you will be able to mask the image successfully by following the steps. However, if you feel that you need any assistance in your Photoshop image masking project you my contact us at anytime.

final image masking

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