You can use the following tools on Photoshop to remove the background from an image:
- Quick selection tool
- Background eraser tool
- Pen tool
- Photoshop quick action tool
- Magnetic lasso tool
1. Quick Selection Tool
Best used for personal editing, the quick selection tool is often regarded as one of the easiest tools to use to remove an image’s background with a decent level of accuracy. This tool uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify the images. It works best when:
- There is a clear contrast between the background and foreground
- You want to save time and remove the background from the image with decent accuracy and quickly refine the edges
How to use the Quick Selection tool
Start by opening an image on Photoshop and duplicating it. For this, right click on your background and click on duplicate layer. Name the layer and hit the eye icon on the left to turn off the layer.
Then, click on Photoshop’s tools palette and find the quick selection tool, which you will find along with the magic wand tool and the object selection tool.
Check the Auto Enhance option on top to give you smoother selection edges.
Now, move the pointer over the areas that you want to select. If you want to add more areas to the selection, all you have to do is move your pointer over those areas.
However, if you’ve added too many areas to the selection and want to remove them, use the alt key (if you are using windows) or the option key (on MacOS) to deselect the area. You can also change tools to deselect the areas you do not want to add to the selection.
Right click on the selection within the marching ants and select Refine Edge. You will find a dialog box that you can use to significantly fine tune your selection. Under view mode, you can view the selection against various backgrounds.
Then, head to the Edge Detection option, click on Smart Radius, and adjust the radius to your liking. You will also find the Refine Radius Tool on the left of the edge detection tool. Click on that and go to the upper left corner and adjust the size of the tool.
This will help you refine the edges accurately. Finally, right click within your selection and click on Layer Via Copy.
Finally, create a new file and drag and drop the selection onto this file and export it as a PNG file.
2. Background Eraser Tool
The background eraser tool is considered a ‘destructive’ way to remove the image background in Photoshop. This tool does most of the work while still giving you a fair bit of control. However, you will find that removing the background from an image in Photoshop with this tool can take a lot of time and patience. So, you can get good results fairly quickly for personal editing. However, you will need to put in some extra time and effort to use this as a professional editing tool.
How to use the Background Eraser tool
Considering this is a destructive tool, you ought to start by making a copy of the image you want to edit and do your erasing on the copy.
Click on the tools palette and look for the background eraser tool.
Once you do this, click on the first option on top to change the brush size, hardness, and spacing to your liking. After all, the background eraser is a brush, so you will have to set the size depending on how you want to paint - wide or with precision.
You will find sampling options right beside the size option. The sampling options are: continuous, once, and swatch. Choose the one that works the best depending on how much of the image you want to delete.
If you use the sampling continuous option, you will end up removing a lot of the background as it continuously samples whatever color the background is. This works perfectly if you want to erase multiple colors. However, this also means\ you may end up deleting a big chunk of your subject.
As the name suggests, the sampling once option samples the color under the crosshair only once. For instance, if you were to click on green and start dragging the crosshair, it will delete only green until you let go and click again. Once you click again, it will sample whichever color you click on now.
If you are looking to do this with precision, the swatch option will work best. It will delete the background color and color range (depending on the tolerance level you enter) you set using the color picker.
Next, go to the Limits option and choose from the following: contiguous, discontiguous, and find edges. The continuous option allows you to erase the pixels that are physically touching pixels under the crosshair. The find edges option operates similarly since it also erases pixels that touch the crosshair. However, it is much sharper and precise.
Finally, the discontiguous option erases pixels that match your sampled color, irrespective of whether or not it touches pixels under the crosshair, so long as they fall within the circle surrounding the crosshair. You will have to play with all three options to get the best results.
Once you are satisfied with the resulting image, save the project and export the image as a PNG.
3. Pen Tool
The pen tool gives you more control than any other photoshop background removal tool. It is the most accurate way to remove backgrounds, working best for images that have clear, defined edges. The pen tool is perfect for professional editing. That said, it can also cost you a lot of time.
How to use the Pen Tool
As always, be sure to open the image and make a copy of it before you start editing. Hit Duplicate Layer for this. Also, go to Window → Paths before you get started.
Now, head to your tools palette and look for the pen tool, situated above the text tool.
Find a suitable place, preferably an edge, and click to start the anchor. After this, you will have to carefully work your way around the subject.
Keep in mind that you will generally deal with two types of curves - simple curves and complex curves.
When you find curves, you will have to click, hold, and drag to create a curved line and move the mouse pointer to adjust the length and angle of the curved line. One of the benefits of the pen tool is that you can edit your pen tool paths at any point.
Once you are done tracing your subject, head to the paths box that you opened at the beginning and click on the thumbnail of the path you are working on. In this case, you will find one path for your subject. Click on the thumbnail. Doing this will turn your subject into a selection.
If you need to fine tune your selection further, consider using the refine edge tool explained above.
Click on your layer and the layer mask icon below to load the selection. Once you are satisfied with the selection, create a new file, and drag and drop the selection to the new file. Then, export this image as a PNG file.
4. Photoshop Quick Action Tool
The Photoshop quick action tool is the quickest way to remove background using photoshop. That said, you can expect to compromise on accuracy, which is why this tool is best used for personal editing. You can edit your images using this method and clean them up using the methods mentioned earlier.
How to use the Photoshop Quick Action Tool
Open the image and head over to the layer panel. You will notice that your image is locked.
Click on the image to unlock it. Now, the layer name will change from ‘Background’ to ‘Layer 0.’
Go to Window → Properties, and you will find a dialog box. Here, you will find the following options under Quick Action: ‘Remove Background’ & ‘Select Subject’.
If you click on ‘Remove Background,’ the file will get automatically rendered and the background will be removed. Then, save the resulting image and export it as a PNG.
5. Magnetic Lasso Tool
The magnetic lasso tool requires some time and patience. If you are fairly comfortable with free hand selections, this tool is for you. The magnetic lasso tool works well for images where there is a high contrast between the subject and the background, and when you want Photoshop to detect the path for you. It works well for professional editing.
How to use the Magnetic Lasso Tool
Select the magnetic lasso tool from the tools palette on the left and use it to start drawing along the edge of the subject. You will need to be slow and patient as you move your cursor.
Once you start using the tool and have a starting point, cover all the edges and get back to the starting point to make a selection. This selection will turn into marching ants, as is the case with all the other methods mentioned.
Go to Selection → Save Selection and give it a name.
Then, Selection → Inverse and hit delete to remove the background. At this point, you will find a white/grey checkered background instead of the original one.
To make adjustments, either backtrack your actions, use the polygonal lasso tool or the refine edge option as explained earlier.
To recap, removing the background from an image in photoshop has never been easier. You can use the quick selection, background eraser, and quick action tools to get quick results. These can work for personal editing.
However, if you plan on editing images professionally, you ought to go for the pen tool or the magnetic lasso tool. While the pen and magnetic lasso tools offer you the most control, they can take some time and patience to master.
Now, you may not have the time or patience to learn how to use Photoshop to remove backgrounds from images. This is especially problematic if you have to remove backgrounds of images in bulk. Consider using Erase.bg’s background removal tool to get the job done in no timeSince its release, Photoshop has managed to cement its name as the industry standard for graphic design and digital art. While there are endless options for just about every tool you can think of, digital creators and graphic designers find themselves consistently returning to Photoshop. This is certainly the case with background removal.
However, the only problem that users may have with this software is its ease of use. In this article, we shall take a look at five different methods you can use to remove the background with Photoshop.