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How to remove a background from an image in Photoshop

How do I remove a background from an image?

The following Photoshop tutorial (youtube video) shows one of many techniques there are for removing image backgrounds. The technique used doesn’t permanently remove the background pixels in the images, but allows you to further correct and fine-tune the transparent background you create through the use of a Layer Mask.

Thank you Rebecca from Canberra, ACT for mailing in this question.

We’re looking at the following steps:

  • Step 1: Try to select either the background you want to remove, or if it’s easier the foreground object. In this example it is easier to select the object we want to keep. I use the Quick Selection tool, because it is a great tool to quickly select areas that have a pretty sharply defined edge.
  • Step 2: Refine the selection by using different selection tools to add or subtract from the selection. All of the selection tools (Lasso tool, Marquee tools, Magic Wand etc.) can work together as long as the selection is active. Press shift to add to a selection, press Alt or Option to subtract from a selection.
  • Step 3: Once you’re just about right with your selection, click Refine Edge… and use this command to make some very cleaver tweaks to your selection. You can also see exactly what you’ve got selected using this command. From this command you can immediately output to a Layer Mask… seriously cool, as it means you are hiding pixels and NOT deleting them.
  • Step 4: You can fine tune your layer mask in a number of ways. You can use the paint brush and paint with black or white to hide or show parts of the image (or paint with a gray tint to create opacity), or when you double click on the Layer Mask, you can use the settings in the Properties panel for the mask, including the Mask Edge setting which is a bit like Refine Edge and can output the changes back into the mask.

The following tutorial shows the steps listed above in action (closed captioning has been added to this video):

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1 Comment

  1. Background Remove Lover Background Remove Lover
    May 29, 2017    

    Very helpful post, thanks for sharing!

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