Tutorial: How to Create Facial Hair in Photoshop (Video + Text)

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to make facial hair from the scratch in Photoshop. This is super useful, more useful than it sounds! On the face there are maybe some areas where the hair does not grow and this pretty much happens to everyone. If you are taking a picture of someone and they have little bleach areas on the beard or wherever it is, this is a great way you can fill that in and make it look a lot better when you are retouching. Or if this is just something you want to do for playing around time or if you are a girl and you want to know how you would look like with a moustache, you can use this technique for doing all of that. Alright, so let’s see.

So here is your image for today. It features an extremely good looking latino man. We will be filling some areas here on his beard and give him more hair. So some of the things you are considering when creating facial hair, the first is that facial hair has not the same color all over the place. Some parts look a bit closer to black or brown while some other are lighter. On some areas we can see highlights on hairs. Even if we have black hairs, sometimes they hit the light and can get a highlight. So we don’t need to put all that stuff into a brush while we need a variation. So let’s go ahead and start up.

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First thing I do is to create one single hair on his face. We create a new layer, paint the hair with the brush tool, right click and bring the Hardness up at 80% and bring the Size down. Basically we create one hair. You can use the opening close brackets as well to make your brush either larger or smaller. So we have created the perfect facial hair. So what are we going to do with it now? We create a new layer underneath the current layer. I press Control (or Command on Mac) and hit the new layer. We use the rectangle marquee tool and make a white box around the hair we have drawn previously – hit Shift+Delete and fill it in white.

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Now we have a white box and within it, the black hair. We are going to convert it to a custom brush. Whenever you create a new brush, you have to make sure that you have a white background and the content is black (black on white). How can we do this? We have to turn the area into a selection (hit Control/Command key and click the layer containing the hair and the white rectangle so the layer will be automatically converted to a selection). Now that we have the selection, we are ready to turn it into a brush. Go to: Edit > Define Brush Preset. A preview window appears with the shape and the size (in our case 46 pixels). Let’s call it “Facial Hair”. Now let’s deselect and grab a brush tool on a new layer. As you notice, it creates the facial hairs.

If by any means you are lazy enough 🙂 and you don’t feel like creating this brush yourself, you can download it free from here. Import it in Photoshop and enjoy it using on anyone’s photo.

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So we have created the brush shape. Now we need to create the brush preferences and make it has the features of the facial hair. Let’s delete the previous layers as we do not need them anymore while we have a brush. Create a new layer and navigate to Window > Brushes > Shape dynamics. Turn the Size Jitter all the way up. It makes some hairs larger and some smaller. Now, we turn up the Angle Jitter as well (and choose Control > Directions from the dropdown underneath). This creates different angles for each of the hairs. Now we turn the Roundness Jitter all the way up which adds more variations to the hairs. Each one of the facial hairs are not the exact same. We also check the Flip X Jitter so some of the hairs will be curving one way while other will be curving other way.

The next step, we turn up Scattering, choose how much scatter we need and check Both Axes. Now the hair just scatters around. We can also play with the Angle orientation from the Brush Tip Shape menu in order to create hairs that follow the path and for more hair we are going to bring the Spacing down while for less hair we do the opposite.

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The next thing we are going to do is to turn on Transfer (tun Opacity Jitter up). The reason behind this is to make some hair more visible and some hair less visible for a more realistic effect.

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Now that the brush effects have been setup, we start painting the hairs on the latino man’s face. Because this is a brush tool, you can select any color you want to apply more realistic effects on his face. What I would recommend you is grab the brush tool and sample a couple of colors from his beard.

You can create new layers and use blending mode as well. the multiply blending mode is going to make sure that the hair gets everything darker. You can go a bit smaller with the brush or you can go larger, upon your needs. As the brush is following the direction of the cursor, you can paint from top to bottom or left to right or right to left, according to the current orientation of the existing hairs on his face.

If you want to paint the stubble, make your brush shape look like stubble and use the scattering effect once again.

Now that we talked earlier about color variations as well as adding some highlights into, let’s now see how to add those highlights on his beard. We add a new layer and start painting with white and just paint a couple of these hairs to make them visible. Now we have a more realistic aspect of the image.

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Thanks for your time and hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to “grow” facial hair in Photoshop.

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