How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop


This wikiHow teaches you how to delete the background of an image in Adobe Photoshop. You can either use the Lasso tool to trace around the subject you want to keep, or you can use the Background Eraser tool to turn your mouse cursor into an eraser brush.

Part 1
Using the Lasso Tool

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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If you haven't already done so, click the File menu, select Open, select the image, and then click Open.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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You'll see this layer on the "Layers" panel, which is usually near the bottom of the right side of the screen. A menu will appear. If you don't see the Layers panel, press F7 to toggle it on.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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A pop-up will appear.[1]

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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You can call it something like "invisible background."

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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To do this, you'll click the small eyeball icon on the "Background" layer in the Layers panel.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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This is the one you created and named earlier. Now you'll be working on this new layer.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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It's the icon of a lasso in the toolbar that runs along the left side of the screen. This tool allows you to trace around the part of image you want to keep. There are multiple lasso tools you can use to select the image. Right-click the Lasso tool to view the options. If the background isn't too busy, use the Magnetic Lasso tool. The line you trace around the image will try to stick to the selected image like a magnet.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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The idea is to trace a line around the subject, capturing as little of the background as possible. Once you're done making your selection, a dotted line will flash around the selection. Regular Lasso: Click and drag to draw a line around the subject. Magnetic Lasso: Click the mouse once on one edge of the subject you want to preserve, then slowly move the mouse around the subject (without clicking). Once you've surrounded the whole subject, click the starting point to finish the selection. If you need to zoom in for a closer look, press Control++ (PC) or ⌘ Command++ (Mac). To zoom out, press Control+- (PC) or ⌘ Command+- (Mac). To undo your last action, press Control+Z (PC) or ⌘ Command+Z (Mac).

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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It's at the top of the screen.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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This selects the background rather than the subject you traced.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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This removes the background, replacing it with a gray and white checkered pattern. This pattern is invisible, so when you save the image, only the subject will be saved.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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This deselects the image, removing the dotted line. Since you're working on a new layer, the original background layer (the one called Background) still contains the original background. If you no longer need that version, right-click the Background layer and select Delete Layer'.

Using the Lasso Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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When you save the image in any format, it will be saved without a background.

Part 2
Using the Background Eraser Tool

Using the Background Eraser Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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If you haven't already done so, click the File menu, select Open, select the image, and then click Open.

Using the Background Eraser Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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To do this, right-click the Eraser tool in the left toolbar to open the menu, then click Background Eraser Tool.

Using the Background Eraser Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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You'll see several brush options at the top of Photoshop—usually near the top-left corner. The options you select will depend on your image, and you may have to return to these settings once you start erasing. Use this tips as a starting point:[2] Click the down-arrow next to the brush shape (it probably looks like a circle with a number in it) to open the brush options. Make sure the "hardness" is set to 100%. You can also adjust the size of the eraser using the "Size" slider. Click the icon of two eyedroppers to the right of the menu to select "Sampling: Continuous." Click the "Limits" menu and select Find Edges.

Using the Background Eraser Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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As you erase, the background will be replaced with a gray and white checkered background. That pattern just means the background is invisible--it doesn't mean you now have a checkered background. If you need to zoom in for a closer look, press Control++ (PC) or ⌘ Command++ (Mac). To zoom out, press Control+- (PC) or ⌘ Command+- (Mac). To undo your last action, press Control+Z (PC) or ⌘ Command+Z (Mac).

Using the Background Eraser Tool on How to Remove the Background of a Picture in Photoshop

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When you save the image in any format, it will be saved without a background.