Cutting out the subject in Photoshop. A background removal tutorial.

Background removal in Photoshop

In this tutorial you learn a useful way to cut something out from its background in Photoshop.

It is a very common task we -as designers- need to execute every day. Our clients need photos with a transparent background so they can place them in their ads. Or they just need them in a plain white or transparent background.

Actually before we show here the manual way to do that in Photoshop, there is a site worth mentioning first. It actually does the same (removing the background) with a pretty impressive result. The name of the site is remove.bg and all you need to do there is to upload your original photo. It will remlove the background in a second. Impressive isn’t’ it?

From the website: remove.bg

Of course the service is not free, you must pay a small fee if you want to process a bunch of images. But you can always test it with one image to see the quality of the work, that is free.

But if you are still not satisfied with this automated service and you’d like to take control your actions, then you must turn to the good, old Photoshop and do it yourself. It will not be 2 seconds though, like with remove.bg, but at least you can control your actions.

So just open the same image in Photoshop and cut around the subject (in our example the girl) with the Lasso tool.

Then go Select/Inverse to make your selection inverse, so you remove the background instead of the subject.
After that click on the ALT button on your Mac and at the same time on the Mask icon on the bottom of the Layer palette. Your background will be removed.


Basically you are done. But if you want to make the edges more perfect you can use the following step as well.

Click on the black and white mask icon in the Layer palette twice. You will see the Properties window popping up. Give the feather a higher value, like 2 pixels, to smoothen out the edges a bit.

Check out some other Photoshop tutorials at the TUTORIALS section.