Updated: Nov 13, 2018
Sometimes an average photo can be greatly improved by replacing a boring background with a dramatic one. This guide will teach you how to simply and quickly remove the background of any photo in Photoshop. We will show you three different techniques depending on the picture and the background you're trying to remove. Depending on your needs, you may use this guide to create a transparent image to add to documents and presentations or to replace a boring sky/background in your travel photos with an amazing sunset or night sky.
Background removal can be tricky and it often requires more than just the eraser tool. The rest of this guide will introduce you to some basic tools in Photoshop and provide step-by-step instructions on how to remove any background using the Magic Eraser Tool, Background Eraser Tool or Color Range (Our favorite)
Magic Eraser Tool
You can think of this tool as a Magic Wand tool but instead of just selecting similar pixels it deletes them. It's a great tool for quickly removing backgrounds which are just one color but for more complicated backgrounds where there's more than one color it's not the best tool to pick. Here's how to use it: 1. Select it from the Tool panel
2. Click on the color you want to remove
Background Eraser Tool
One of the easiest ways to remove a background from a photo in Photoshop is to use the Background Eraser Tool. This tool is like a combination of the Quick Selection tool and the Eraser tool, working simultaneously. The Background Eraser tool erases pixels on a layer to transparency. You can erase the background while maintaining the edges of an object in the foreground. By specifying different sampling and tolerance options, you can control the range of the transparency and the sharpness of the boundaries. The background eraser samples the color in the center of the brush, and deletes that color wherever it appears inside the brush. Here’s how to use it:
1. Select the Background Eraser Tool from the Tool panel. 2. Play around with the settings (Limits, Tolerance, Size and more). 3. If there are two similar colors (like the glass and sky in this picture) and you just want to remove one of them, just use the eyedropper tool and sample the color of the glass and click Protect Foreground Color.
4. Erase the sky.
5. If you end up erasing more than you wanted to, just press Command+Z, turn down the Tolerance and try again.
Color Range - Our Favorite!
This is our go-to option to remove a difficult background and preserving fine details like hair, feathers and leaves. In the Select Option window click Color Range... Make sure Sampled Colors is being used in the Select drop down and the Fuzziness slider is set to 0. Using the eyedropper, click a blue and white spots on the image. Now move the Fuzziness slider until you can see the sky you want to remove turn white. When you're happy with the result click OK, choose the eraser tool and see the sky disappear.