One of the most common uses of Photoshop is to erase a background. There can truly be many reasons on why you would want to erase or remove a background on an image. You may dislike what’s in the background, maybe it’s a busy scene and you just want to isolate the subject. Maybe you want to put in your own background. Say you’re making Christmas cards and you want to be behind a fireplace instead of the white background the photo studio put you in front of. Because of the need to remove backgrounds, there are a few ways to do so in Photoshop.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to remove a background when the color of the background in the same throughout the picture. Because of this, we’ll be using a tool called the background eraser tool. It’s nifty little tool to have it really does the trick when you need to remove a background easily and quickly.
The way the background eraser tool works is that it samples color. When it does this, it removes color throughout the picture that’s within the same color range. This makes removing backgrounds that are a solid color fairly easy.
Step 1) Open your image up on a new canvas. In order for this tutorial to work, select an image with a subject that is in front of a solid color background.
Step 2) Find the background eraser tool on the vertical menu bar that is free floating on the screen. You will have to find the eraser tool first and hold down your mouse until the icon with the scissors above the eraser is visible and then select that tool.
Step 3) Now we’ll choose the specific settings on the background eraser tool options box. Choose “Discontinuous”, with a “Tolerance” of 20 or so and a sampling of “Continuous.” Make sure the “Tolerance” box is selected too.
Step 4) It’s easiest to work with your background when it’s a highly contrasted color when put against your subject. Because of this I like to create a new layer by double clicking on the background and naming it whatever you prefer.
Step 5) Next, we’re going to create a new layer and drag it below the original named layer and filling it in with either white or black. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a solid color (I usually prefer black).
Step 6) Now select your brush while still on the background eraser tool. Use a large brush that doesn’t have soft edges. Find a solid brush with a hardness of about 70-80.
Step 7) Go over the image with the brush, clicking down so that the background gets erased. Do this in one easy motion. Remember if you see something you don’t like, click CTRL + ALT + Z to go back a step. Continuing erasing until the background is completely removed.
Step 8) Select the subject by clicking your mouse by holding down the CTRL button on the keyboard. Then invert the selected subject by going to Selection > Invert and then pressing delete on your keyboard.
Then you’re finished! You can now add in your own background or keep it like it is.