AI revolution made a lot of changes in photography and image editing software, but like in any other aspect, it cannot replace human work completely. There are a bunch of tools online which can automatically remove an image background with just one click, but for professional tasks, they’re not so precise and accurate.
How to Remove Background In Photoshop: Remove Background Tool
The easiest way to remove the background in Photoshop is by using the Remove Background button.
Here are all the steps to make that:
- Open the photo you want to edit
- Duplicate the Background layer to avoid doing changes to the original file, which might be useful in the further editing process (Ctrl+J or Command+J to duplicate the layer).
- Click on the Button ‘Remove Background’
You’re not going to get the best result, but it will be quick and not take much of your energy. This will work well if the contours are linear and there is not much blur such as in the example photo above.
How to Remove Background In Photoshop: Subject Selection tool
That’s one of the best techniques that I love to use and it works perfectly in 90% of the cases. You can use Photoshop’s automatic selection to separate your subject from the background. It works pretty accurate and will give you the best result without doing manual work.
Here are all the steps to make it clear:
- Click the Select button on the top of the application.
- Go down and choose Subject.
Photoshop will do all the work instead of you selecting the main subject in the photo. In that section there are other useful tools too, for example:
- Colour range – select a certain colour (it may be useful if your subject has a different colour than the background).
- Focus area – you can use it if the photo is taken with a shallow depth of field.
- Sky – use it to remove the sky from the picture (might be useful in real estate photography).
After the selection is made, duplicate the layer and the selected part will be separated from the original picture.
How to Use The Selection Tool?
We have mentioned the Quick selection instrument but didn’t explain how to use it.
To pick the tool, use the shortcut W and you’re ready to manually separate the subject from the background. You have more flexibility with that instrument than with the Subject selection button which does all the work automatically.
There are 3 variations of the tool:
- Object selection tool – mostly it’s the same as the Select subject button. The main difference is that you click on the subject (which may be useful if there are multiple subjects in the photo).
- Quick selection tool – it’s the best option from these 3 since you can choose manually the parts you want and not rely on the automatical selection which can be done incorrectly.
- Magic Wand Tool – as the Magic eraser tool it selects the parts that are similar (by colour, brightness, etc.)
How to Remove Background In Photoshop: Pen tool
As you might have noticed, the hardest part of the background removal process is the selection. It has to be smooth, not include any objects in the background, not be noisy and not be obvious that the photo is edited.
Photoshop has a Quick selection tool which allows you to select some parts of the image that the Photoshop algorithm finds similar, but there can be many issues with that since with tricky photos you may end up with a messy selection.
To avoid that there is a tool that allows us to take everything under control and manually make the selection.
The pen tool is a great solution for linear selections especially if you want to select objects with geometrical forms, but it can be also useful to select people in the photo.
- Pick the Pen tool from the left bar or use Shortcut P.
- Manually select the subject. You can do it using long lines or clicking fastly and making small lines.
- Right-click on the inner part of the selection and click “Make a selection”.
- Choose the Feather Radius of the selection (depends on the photo you edit).
- Duplicate the layer using the shortcut Ctrl+J or Command+J.
There are 3 variations of the tool:
Besides the regular pen tools, there are a couple of variations for different goals. You can access them by right-clicking on the pen icon:
- Freeform pen tool – allows drawing paths of the outline.
- Curvature pen tool – initially makes the lines curved.
- Add/delete anchor point tool – allows you to add/delete anchor points in your selection.
How to Remove Background In Photoshop: Eraser Tool
We have talked about the tools that are working great for making selections, but there is also a tool that will help you if you want to erase the background straightaway.
The Photoshop Eraser Tool has 3 different variations:
- Eraser tool – it works in a simple way, just deleting the parts you click on. You can adjust the feather to make the removal smoother.
- Background eraser tool – analyses the photo and removes only the background from the image and keeps the main object. Algorithm tries its best to avoid removing anything relevant.
- Magic eraser tool – the difference between the Magic eraser and the Background eraser is that the Magic eraser is removing a vast part of the image that the algorithm thinks is a background. In that case, you more rely on the software and do not control the process. Here we are created
In our article How To Quickly Remove Unwanted Object In Photo Like A Pro we cover a range of techniques and tools that can help you achieve professional-looking results, including the Magic Eraser.
From these 3 the best option is the Background eraser tool because by using just the Eraser tool you’re going to end up with rough edges and the Magic eraser tool removes everything it thinks is not part of the subject, taking control from your hands.
On the opposite, the Background eraser tool allows you to let the automation help you and do it yourself, keeping the parts you want to remain in the photo.
The shortcut for picking the Eraser is E.
It’s a great experience to edit photos on your own and control the process. You have to understand that there are no written rules of how to edit photos or what is the right or wrong way of editing.
So just have fun with the editing software and try to be as creative as you can, because you can find 10 more solutions to your goals, which might be more effective and creative.
When you just start the editing process figure out what is the best way to get the result you want and then you can understand if you need AI software to make everything instead of you or if it would bring a greater result doing it manually.
Hovhannes Serobyan is a photographer and content writer in LinkyJuice. He is mainly doing portrait and street photography and creating art with peoples’ emotions.