Fastest way to cut out hair and fine edges in Photoshop CS4 – the Extract filter

So I had to cut out 10 people’s head shots at work and wanted to find the quickest, most easiest way to do this. In the past I remember using a combination of the magic wand and lasso tools, and it took forever. A quick search of the interweb brought a multitude of tutorials in involving complex paths, channels, and all kinds of elaborate methods that seemed very long and colluded to perform what must be one of the most commonly-needed tasks for the Photoshop professional.

And that’s when I discovered the ‘Extract’ filter. Or rather, when I discovered that the ‘Extract’ filter was no longer included in CS4. Shocking, as it’s such a useful tool.

Nonetheless this excellent and easy to use filter is available for download from Adobe here for Mac and here for Windows. All you have to do is drop the filter into your plugins folder and restart Photoshop. It’s then available under the ‘Filter’ menu.

At some point I’ll create a shorter video than this one I found on Youtube, but at 5 mins it should give you an excellent primer:

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