Using Extract Filter Tool – Masking

The Extract Command is useful for selecting and extracting complicated/fine outlines. If you have objects with a lot of fine details (like hair blowing in the wind, tree branches, grass, etc.), the Extract Filter is the best tool to use. It also work wonders for objects placed on solid-colored backgrounds.

Take this image for example. It will be difficult to mask those hair from its background, but let’s see how it is done.

You will get darker hair results like this:­

Step 4 

Step 5

Now is the Extracting Part. Go to Filter > Extract and you will come across a dialog box like this. There are 2 ways to do it. Use the Highlighter on the left tool bar and proceed to:


A) Draw a selection AROUND the girl’s hair/body.


OR B) Outline the object and fill the selection using the Paint Bucket tool.


Both methods will give you the same result.

NOTE: If you mess up, select the Eraser tool in the Extract filter’s toolbar, fix the mistake, and switch back to the Highlight tool to continue outlining the area you want to knocked out.

Step 6

Once you haveselected the area; 1.Unchecked the Show Highlights and Show Fill check box. 2.Select Eyedropper Tool (I)  3.Checked the Force Foreground option and pick on a color (in this case, the hair color).

Click on the Preview bar.

You will see :

Step 8

Now, create a blank layer on top of the background layer and fill it with color.

Go to Layer Pallete and click on Add Layer Mask.

Make sure the brush is set on – Hardness: 100, Opacity: 100 and Fill: 100 for a cleaner masked edge.


Slowly and carefully mask out the girl. When it comes to the hair, just mask it as you would normally as we have already developed an Extracted layer of it in Step 7.


Step 10

1. Hold Alt + Click on the layer mask (layer 1). The black and white outline will then appear (showing areas that you have masked). 2. Choose the Magic Wand Tool (W) and click on the space you want erased (In this case, we are going to erase the background).


3. To make your selection more precise, choose Select > Modify > Expand and enter the number of pixels you’d like to expand the selection by. The closer your selection to the real object, the less white space will appear afterwards. In this case, we will expand it by 3 pixels.

You will notice that the selection has become closer to the object’s outline. Example as below:BeforeAfter

All you need to do now is to hold on the Alt key + press Backspace to fill it with black colour.

Hold the Alt key once more and click on the current Layer Mask to reveal new background color.

Now, remove the white area (original background) by masking Layer 1. Play around with the brush hardness, size, and opacity to achieve the best result. Brush slowly for better output.

As for the model’s face, remove excess dirt by brushing them out from the Extracted layer (Layer 2). Zoom into the image if you must for a more precise, clean, and detailed result.

NOTE: Using the Extract tool will need some practice and a little attention-to-detail to achieve the best result.

Step 12 

When everything is masked out and cleaned, select Layer 2 > Ctrl+M > Adjustment Layer > Curve. It will help to darken the Extracted Layer (hair) so it will look closer to the original Image.

That’s it for now! Have fun trying on different background colors too.




If you liked this tutorial, feel free to share it with your friends or even bookmark it!

2 views0 comments