How to make a background transparent in Photoshop in 2 ways
- There are two ways to make a background transparent in
Photoshop: using the " Remove Background" quick action or manually by using selection tools.
- The quick action works with a click in just seconds, but it may not work for complex images.
- You can also delete the background by carefully selecting the subject, inverting the selection, and then deleting the selection.
Making the background transparent - sometimes referred to as "punching out the background" by graphic artists - is a straightforward task in Adobe Photoshop. But depending upon the subject you are trying to isolate, it can be laborious and time consuming. It all comes down to how much overlapping detail there is between the foreground and background.
We'll look at two ways to make the background transparent: an automatic approach which only takes a few seconds, but might fail when used on complicated images, and a manual approach you can try if the first method doesn't work.
How to make a background transparent in Photoshop using the Remove Background tool
1. Open your photo in Photoshop.
2. Duplicate the image in a new layer. To do that, press Ctrl + A followed by Ctrl + C and then Ctrl + V. (That selects the entire image, then copies it, and finally pastes it as a new layer.) You should see a new layer appear in the Layers palette on the right side of the screen.
3. In the Layers palette, find the Background layer and click the eye icon to the left to hide it from view. Nothing on the actual image canvas should change, because the duplicate Layer 1 is on top of the Background layer anyway.
4. In the Properties palette on the right, find the Quick Actions and then click "Remove Background."
You should now see the subject surrounded by a checkerboard pattern - that's the
If that didn't work well, you can try to make the background transparent manually.
How to make a background transparent in Photoshop manually
To punch out the background from a photo manually means that you'll need to select the entire subject, essentially "outlining" its edges to differentiate it from the background. There are several tools you can use for this, and which ones you use depends on the image you are working with and your personal preference. First, though, you need to unlock your background layer.
1. Open the photo in Photoshop and, in the Layers palette, double-click "Layer 0." In the pop-up window, click "OK."
2. Now you need to use any of the selection tools you prefer to select the subject (and only the subject). Here are the best options:
- Object Selection Tool. Click and hold the fourth tool from the top of the Tool palette until the tools pop out of the cubby. Choose "Object Selection Tool." To use this tool, drag a box around the subject (or a part of the subject). After a moment, Photoshop will automatically select the part of the subject contained in the box.
- Quick Selection Tool. Found in the same cubby as the Object Selection Tool, to use this tool, click and drag within the subject and a selection should enclose the surrounding part of the subject.
- Magic Wand Tool. Also found in the same cubby, click the Magic Wand inside the subject and it will select a region that has a similar color. You can use the Tolerance control at the top of the window to vary this tool's sensitivity.
- Lasso Tool. This is in the third position on the Tool palette (just above the previous three tools). You can use this tool to select the subject using a freehand drawing motion.
- Polygonal Lasso Tool and Magnetic Lasso Tool. These tools - found in the same place as the regular lasso - let you draw selections using straight lines. The Magnetic Lasso will try to snap to regions of varying contrast, while the Polygonal lasso is completely freeform.
3. For complex subjects, you'll want to "build up" your selections in stages, because it's often impossible to properly select the entire subject all at once. To do that, you will want to vary the selection style, which you can find at the top of the window.
- New selection. Only use this mode when you're starting to select an object. Every time you use a tool with this mode selected, you'll start your selection over from scratch.
- Add to selection. This is the mode to use when you are "building" your selection - each time you use the tool, the new selection will be added to your previous selections.
- Subtract from selection. Like the name suggests, this takes away from the current selection and is handy for correcting mistakes.
4. When you have selected the entire subject to your satisfaction, click "Select" in the menu and then choose "Inverse." This flips the selection so the entire background is selected.
5. Press the Delete key on your keyboard.
You should now see the subject surrounded by a checkerboard pattern - that's the transparent background. You can save the file as a Photoshop (PSD) or PNG file to preserve the transparency.
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