How to cut curled hair
I prefer Arcsoft studio, it came free with my scanner.
It is much easier to use for selecting areas, including
an intensity/hue matching Magic selection tool.
The automatic selection tool creates an approximate selection
border (Exact is virtually impossible). Once you have it, you
can zoom-in and then add or subtract areas for a better fit.
You can also easily invert, expand, shrink or smooth the selection polygon to get near perfect results.
The entire process should take about 10 minutes per image,
depending on complexity. I have once isolated over a hundred
animation puppets from a book that way.
Once you have created a perfect selection fence/polygon,
make sure that you have chosen the correct side of the
selection (inside/outside using the selection invert function),
and then use the fill/spill tool to fill the unselected area with
a repeatable solid (primary) color, that does NOT occur in
other parts of the image.
To do this correctly, set the FILL tool tolerances at max.,
since the fence controls what gets painted, not the underlying
Save the new image under a different file name.
You can now use the solid background color as a
"color key" or a mask for special effects or image
mixing. You may need several masks, positive and
negative to get the job done (using boolean logic)
e,g. image or black = image, ... etc.
PS another good tool that is astronomically cheaper
than photo shop is LView.