Photo Editing

How to Remove a Background in Photoshop [For Beginners]

Imagin the subject of your picture surrounded by the completely imaginary background that you have made up in your mind. Using photoshop you can remove the background of the original image and place your subject into a completely different landscape. 

Though removing background can be tricky and complex especially if the subject that you want to cut out has a lot of hairs. There are many ways to remove background in photoshop. but In this guide, you are going to learn the technique that works in most cases, and when it doesn’t and all you need to do is continue fine-tuning the image a little bit further and it should work.

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to remove background in photoshop. This tutorial is meant for beginners that mean we are going to go slow and deliver all the information in digestible chunks.

Step 1: Obviously, the first step is to open up the image in photoshop.

Step 2: In Photoshop, Go to Select > Select & Mask or press Alt+

Ctrl+r. This is a dedicated workspace that helps you make precise selections. On the left-hand side, you will see a toolbar that allows you to either make a selection or edit a selection as well as zoom or pan around the image.

Step 3: Click on the Quick Selection tool from the toolbar and click or drag over the subject that you want to cut out.

Photoshop automatically finds out the edges of the area you click or drag over. 

If you are working in newer versions of photoshop like photoshop 2021 then you can simply use the Select Subject option to select the subject. Photoshop will automatically analyze the image and select the main subject.

Step 4: If you created the selection by using the Select Subject option to generate your selection, these automatically-generated selections are not perfect. They do require some, Select the subtract tool, zoom into the image and click or drag over the area that you didn’t intend to select.

Step 5: Now we have to fix the mask edge so the edges don’t have any imperfections and the cutout look realistic. From the right panel go to view > black & white and change the Global Refinements as per your preference.  

Step 6: Go to the output setting in the right panel, select a layer mask and click ok.

Photoshop will remove the background using a layer mask. A layer mask is a non-destructive of hiding pixels. In other words, you can always come back and bring back pixels that you hid.

Step 7: Now we will go back into the select and mask workspace and work with the model’s hair. To do so, make sure that the layer mask is active. You can tell that’s active when you see the white outline focus over the layer mask thumbnail. Then from the properties panel click on select and mask.

Step 8:Set view mode of your preference, Select the Refine edge tool from the toolbar and paint over the hairs. When you paint with the Refine Edge Brush tool, photoshop will analyze the hairs and it will make a better job selecting them.

The reason we are making all these adjustments on a separate step and not on the original adjustment step is that the global refinement adjustments do not affect the hair. The smoothing, contrast, and shift edge were all intended for the edges around the body. The ages around the hairs are very different so usually, you will not get good results if you use the same technique for both.

Also, in Photoshop 2021 and newer, you can use refine hair button to use artificial intelligence to locate the hairs and apply the same adjustments as refine edge brush tool.

Step 9: Again, select layer mask from output settings and click ok. Next, go into the new adjustment layer icon and click on Solid Color and choose any color.

Note: Make sure that the Background layer is below the subject layer.


Conclusion: Surely there are plenty of methods available but this is one of the methods to remove the background of any images. At the final results, you may find some imperfections in your mask. but, You can always paint with the brush tool and add or subtract to your mask. In the brush tool, you can paint with white to reveal the pixels and with black to hide the pixels. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

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