vexeling/vectoring hair

Photoshop Tutorials

Tutorial

Click on thumbnailed images to enlarge

if you're using this tutorial, you should already be familiar with the basics of vectoring. (i'm just going to refer to it as vectoring cause i don't want to keep saying vector/vexel) i'm not the best at vectoring hair, but since many people usually like the hair best in my vectors, i thought i'd share some tips with those who want to use them. i'm assuming that you are starting your vector with the hair, even though many people don't, so if you've already vectored other stuff, you can disregard the first couple steps, but you might want to read them just in case.

1. find your image, duplicate it [ctrl-j] and posterize [image>>adjustments>>posterize] the top layer. this is so you can refer back to the original, because sometimes posterize isn't the best alone.

2. zoom in once, twice, or three times, depending on the size of your image.

3. choose a color from the hair that is around the middle range. not too dark, not too light. use the eyedropper tool, and sample colors from both the posterized and un-posterized image until you are satisfied with the color. you can always change this color so don't worry too much about it.

4. now you are going to trace around all the hair with the pen tool. click to start your path, and set the layer's opacity at around 20 something so you can see what you're doing. remember to create smooth lines by dragging the anchor point until it follows the curve of the hair. alt-click on the anchor point to start a new one everytime so that it follows the curve you want. then set the opacity back to 100. it's gonna look strange after you're done, but bear with me. this is how mine looks:
User posted image
yeah..it's jennifer aniston..haha.

5. keep in mind that the hair doesn't need to be exactly the way it looks on the image. it's gotta be pretty much the same or it'll look weird though. here are some places where i modified the hair:
User posted image
you might not be able to see it, but i did change it a little bit there.

6. if the hair has loops or holes, then you'll need to take care of those too. focus on the major ones. choose this setting for the pen tool: [subtract from shape area]
User posted image
and then lower the opacity of the hair layer back down to about 20. use the pen tool to select the "holes", like i did here:
User posted image

7. now hide the main hair layer. start vectoring the lightest pieces of hair. it looks best if you do it strand by strand, but if you're really impatient, at least try and make it hair-like with the pointy ends and such. make sure this layer is on top of the main hair layer. don't worry about that clicking on the background layer everytime you finish a shape since they're all the same color right now. hide all the layers that aren't that color, including the backgrounds, and go layer>>merge visible. this is how mine looks:
User posted image

8. now repeat step 7, only with the next shade of hair. make sure these layers are UNDER the lightest layer.
User posted image

9. keep doing this until you have vectored all of the lightest colors, up until the medium shade you have for your main hair color.
User posted image
User posted image

10. now you're going to do the shades darker than the main color. this layer should be on top of the main hair layer too.
this is my final product after the dark hair shades:
User posted image

that's it =]
hope you found this tutorial helpful. if you only take away one thing from this tutorial, let it be that you need to use the pen tool to curve the hair to make it look more realistic. follow the curves of the hair in the original image.

Tutorial Comments

Showing latest 8 of 8 comments

kewl.but i still can't understand it,LAWL=))

By 29cheska04 on Jun 14, 2008 5:40 am

shweet =]]

By lkajsfklajskds on Mar 3, 2008 8:19 pm

NICE, I'm still alil confuse though,.? where do I start to do that at,? do I gotta go to photoshop,?

By wingz3r0 on Oct 26, 2007 5:23 am

Very helpful tutorial! Nice work!

By showstopper! on Jan 5, 2007 10:46 pm

Thankyou very much Mona

By z3nn1 on Dec 20, 2006 10:29 am

QUOTE(z3nn1 @ Dec 18 2006, 4:42 AM) [snapback]2378271[/snapback] Its a neat tutorial, but I am having trouble understanding exactly HOW to use the pen tool- to create those curves ;-[ Hey there. It's a very simple process actually. This is a

By shadowfax on Dec 19, 2006 5:00 pm

Its a neat tutorial, but I am having trouble understanding exactly HOW to use the pen tool- to create those curves ;-[

By z3nn1 on Dec 18, 2006 4:42 am

i love it =]

By InsertUsernameHere on Dec 17, 2006 11:15 pm

Tutorial Details

Author avalon* View profile
Submitted on Feb 11, 2006
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