Using Photoshop CS5, i'm trying to fully remove background of a picture being shot behind a blue screen. To do this, i am using Color Range method (from Menu > Selection). It works ok for most parts of the picture but other for some having transparency (like hairs), there is still some glowing blue around it.

Here is the original image :

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Here is what i get, using Color Range. If i increase the Fuzziness, the hairs tends to disappear completely, which is not what i want.

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Here is what I want to achieve :

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Is there other techniques to remove that blue background ? (and thus avoiding the blue glow around the image ?)


3 Answers 3


I usually use an Alpha Channel to remove backgrounds in images like these.

This is a rough example, but if you take care to be detail specific, the results will be spot on.

Step 1

If your image is a background layer, double click the layer and name it whatever.

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Step 2

Go to the Channels panel (Window > Channels) and select the layer with a high contrast. I chose the Blue layer in this example.

Duplicate this layer by dragging it to the Create New Channel icon, or right clicking and select Duplicate Channel... You can name this whatever, but this will be your Alpha Channel. enter image description here

Step 3

With the new channel selected, go to Image > Apply Image. Make sure the blending mode is set to Multiply and adjust the opacity to 75 - 100% whatever looks ok.

Step 4

Break out the brush tool [B], select black as your color, and paint the areas that are definitely going to show through at 100% opacity. For instance the fingers, hand and head at the right side of the photo. enter image description here

Step 5

Change your brush Blending Mode to Overlay, and brush the light & fine hair areas. With Overlay as the mode, you'll be able to darken the fine areas without getting the background too. enter image description here

Switch the color to white, to brighten the gray background without affecting the black strokes.

enter image description here

Step 6

When you are happy with the masking, Inverse the selection (Ctrl + I) to make the mask white.

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Step 7

Ctrl + click to Select the alpha channel mask as a selection. Then go to your layer panel and create the mask.

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In Photoshop CS5 they introduced better options for the Refine Edge Tool over CS4:

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Awhile back I ran into this issue and saw a very good video in regards to removing backgrounds from hair by Terry White called "How to Remove a Background from an Image in Photoshop CS5"


As of Photoshop CC 2015.5 they've introduced the Select and Mask taskspace, found in the Select menu as a replacement to the Refine Edge feature.

It's very similar to refine edge, just with various improvements and overall I find it much more pleasant to work with than its predecessor.

Here is the official Adobe video tutorial on how to use it.

Screenshot of the new Select and Mask tasksapce

  • This looks like the Refine Mask panel that's existed for a while, only full screen.
    – Ryan
    Jun 21, 2016 at 17:04
  • Correct. It's been renamed, and (aside form being full-screen) they added some extra tools on the left and added some transparency sliders for some of the mask modes. I'm unsure if there were any algorithmic improvements. But I do enjoy masking more now than before so I like the changes.
    – Hanna
    Jun 21, 2016 at 17:09

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