Photoshop Tutorial: How to Remove Backgrounds in Pictures

Removing backgrounds in Photoshop can elevate your images by isolating the subject and allowing you to place it in different settings. Whether you want to create professional product photos or artistic compositions, mastering the art of background removal is a valuable skill.

In this tutorial, we’ll guide you through the process step by step.

Photoshop Background Tutorial
Remove Backgrounds in Photoshop in 10 Steps | Photo by Luca Sammarco

Step 1: Open Your Image in Photoshop: Begin by launching Photoshop and opening the image you want to work on. Choose “File” > “Open” and select your file.

Step 2: Duplicate the Layer: Before you start making changes, it’s a good practice to duplicate the layer. Right-click on the background layer in the Layers panel and choose “Duplicate Layer.” This ensures you have a backup in case you make a mistake.

Step 3: Select the Background Eraser Tool: In the toolbar, select the Background Eraser tool. Adjust the brush size based on the area you’re working on. A larger brush is suitable for removing a broad background, while a smaller one is useful for intricate details.

Step 4: Adjust Tool Settings: Click on the brush settings at the top to adjust the tolerance and limits. Tolerance determines how similar in color a pixel must be to the sampled color to be erased. Experiment with the tolerance setting to find the right balance for your image.

Step 5: Erase the Background: Position the brush over the background and click. The tool samples the color under the crosshair and erases similar colors within the brush’s range. Hold down the mouse button and move the cursor across the background, and watch as it disappears.

Step 6: Refine Edges with Selection Tools: After the initial background removal, refine the edges for a cleaner result. Use selection tools like the Magic Wand or Lasso to select areas that need adjustment. Access the “Refine Edge” option to fine-tune the selection, smoothing out rough edges and preserving fine details.

Step 7: Create a Layer Mask: With the selection still active, click the “Add Layer Mask” button at the bottom of the Layers panel. This creates a mask that hides the selected background, revealing the transparent layer beneath.

Step 8: Touch Up with Brushes: Switch to the Brush tool and set the foreground color to black. Painting with black on the layer mask hides parts of the image, while painting with white reveals them. Use this technique to touch up any areas where the background removal might be incomplete or inaccurate.

Step 9: Check for Transparency: Toggle the visibility of the background layer to ensure the removed areas are transparent. This step helps you identify any remaining artifacts or areas that need further adjustment.

Step 10: Save Your Image: Once you’re satisfied with the result, save your image in a format that supports transparency, such as PNG. This allows you to use the image with a transparent background in various projects.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to remove backgrounds in Photoshop. This skill opens up a world of creative possibilities for your images, from designing compelling graphics to enhancing product photos. Practice and experimentation will help you refine your technique and achieve even more polished results.

Happy editing!


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