Remove Background from a photo using Adobe Photoshop

after background removal

The image can be edited using Photoshop to get the background removed. Background removal can be done using these two methods:

Method 1:           Using Polygonal Lasso Tool with complex background

Method 2:           Using background eraser with simple background

Method 1: Using Polygonal Lasso Tool with complex background

  1. Get Ready

Open Adobe Photoshop first. And, open the file you want to remove background by clicking on File > Open and selecting your image.

2. Duplicating the layer

Now, select background layer from layer layer panel and press Ctrl + J to duplicate.

3. Pick up the tool and work on photo

Pick up the Lasso Tool (looks as above image) by clicking it from the Tool menu or press the ‘L’ key. Now, zoom in by using a mouse scroll while holding the ‘Alt’ key and go through the edges of the object you want to remove background from. The lasso tool selects as your wish. You can keep on clicking on edges with small distances to make a good selection. If your lasso tool mistakenly goes inside or outside edge then you can undo it one by one by pressing the ‘Backspace’ key on your keyboard.

Tip: You can select part by part which makes easy to recover if something went wrong. You might have to include object which the object you want to remove background from, is physically attached with. For example: Guitar he is holding, Rock he is sitting on, etc.

4. Change background color if you want and Save it as transparent

You can save the image as a PNG format to make it transparent, to use somewhere it needs to be transparent.

To save as a PNG file you can go to File > Export > Export As and select transparency on the right side of export as dialog and hit the ‘Export All’ button.

5. Final Result

Here is the final result after completion of background removal of complex background.

Method 2: Using background eraser with simple background

  1. Get Ready

You can do as mentioned in Step 1 and 2 from above method (Method 1: Using Polygon tool with complex background).

2. Pick up the tool

Click and hold eraser tool on tool menu, then you will see drop down tool menu. Pick up second option from there i.e. Background Eraser Tool as shown in image below.

3. Work on photo

I have made this in a different step because we have to cover lots of things here. As you click on that tool, you will see different settings in the top menu. Like this:

There are many topics to consider here, which are:

  1. Sampling: Samples of color are taken to identify background element
    • Continuous: Samples continuously where ever the pointer goes
    • Once: Samples one color at once where ever the pointer goes
    • Background Swatch: Samples the current background color swatch
  2. Limits: How far to let the erasing spread
    • Discontiguous: Spreads only within the selected color
    • Contiguous: Spreads where the brush tool goes
    • Find Edges: (Not so useful) this can limit on the edges of the foreground object
  3. Tolerance: Range of similar colors to tolerate. Higher the percentage, higher the range and vice versa
  4. Protect Foreground Color: Protect the foreground swatch color

So, you can now start to erase the background by adjusting brush size and keep on experimenting the settings as required.

After tweaking all the settings I found these settings helpful:

  1. Sampling > Once
  2. Limits > Discontiguous
  3. Tolerance > 30% (Changing up to 20%, if 30% doesn’t works)
  4. Protect Foreground Color > Yes

To start first pick the foreground color as we have selected to protect foreground color. You can do it by holding the ‘Alt’ key and picking the nearest color to the edge of the foreground object.

Now, click and hold the mouse while placing a pointer on the background and move along the edges of the object to clear the background.

4. Final Result

Here is the final result of background removal on a simple background and applied different colors using hue and saturation settings.

Orginal Image


We can choose any method in useful cases of background removal.

So, which one do you prefer please comment below. And, also feel free to ask if there is any questions.

Have a great day!!

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