How to Remove Background in Photoshop

Removing the background from an image is a bit tricky, especially for beginners. But when you have proper knowledge of how to remove background in Photoshop, it will not seem so hard because this is a pretty basic thing to do in Photoshop. 

You can remove An image background in different ways. For example, sometimes, when we click a picture, the image’s background does not match or looks perfect with the subject. In such cases removing the background can give an image a whole new look. So let’s learn how to do so. 

The Benefit of Removing the Background of an Image 

The background of the image can give the image a whole new look. But a background with flaws or unwanted objects can destroy the whole picture look. 

  • If a picture contains a blurred or shaky background, then the image looks terrible and loses its value. Removing the background and adding a new one can change the image’s perspective and make the picture look more appealing. 
  • A matched and appealing-looking background gives the images a more focused and polished look.
  • Removing the original background and adding a white background to product images helps the customer focus only on the product. It also helps the customer to identify the actual dimension and colors of that product. 
  • Many times the color of the background looks add to the subject making the whole image look bad. In that case, removing the background and placing it to another can make the image look great again. 
  • To create vouchers, banners, and many other advertising needs, people need the background removed pictures to match the different elements of that advertising banner. 

So the advantages of background-removing pictures are countless. The demand for this service is increasing at a rapid rate. As this is an essential Photoshop skill so learning this process will help you in the long run. 

How to Remove Background in Photoshop Step-by-Step Guide 

There are so many different ways of removing background in Photoshop. This process that I will show should work with most of the images. Or if the image has a very complex subject or background, then a little fine-tuning will make the process work as a sharp blade. So let’s jump into the tutorial. 

Step-1: Open an Image 

Open Photoshop and open the image you want to remove the background. For opening the image, click on a file from the top bar, click on Open, or drag and drop the photo from your files to the Photoshop workspace. 

Step-2: Make a Selection 

After opening the image, you have to make a selection. To do so, click on Select from the top bar, then go to Select and Mask. You can also press Alt+Ctrl+R to make the selection. 

After clicking on that, you’ll get a dedicated workspace that will allow you to do precise selection and mask. 

Make a Selection for Background Removing in Photoshop

You’ll get a set of tools that will lead you to make a new selection on the left side. These tools are also useable to edit a selection that you have done previously. 

set of tools in Photoshop

You’ll find more tools on the top bar to provide you more options for that tool you are currently working on. 

more tools on the top bar of Photoshop

 The Properties section will allow you to fine-tune the image even more. 

Properties section to fine-tune the image

By default, in this mode, the transparency is set at 50%. The transparency allows you to let you see the original image’s pixels up against the pixel of the part you have selected. 

There are a lot of ways to choose in the Select and Mask workspace. The most basic thing to do is to use the quick selection tool. You’ll find the Quick Selection tool on the top of the left toolset; click on it. 

use the quick selection tool

It is effortless to make the selection using this tool. Just click on the part or click and drag the mouse cursor on those parts you intend to select. The Photoshop AI will automatically select the edge and will show your chosen parts on 100% opacity. 

show the chosen parts on 100% capacity

Most of the time, the AI does not select the edges with 100% accuracy, so if there is any area that Photoshop selected wrong, you can subtract it from your selection. To do so, click on the Subtract icon on the top bar. You can also press the Alt+ Windows button to enable this option. 

subtract it from the selection

Hold the buttons and click and drag on those areas that you want to deselect. 

Background removal in Adobe Photoshop

If you are using an updated version of Adobe Photoshop in 2021, the AI can automatically select the whole subject for you. 

The AI is known as adobe sensei. For using it, click on Select Subject from the top bar. If you have already selected anything, then it will show you a pop-up message to discard changes. Click OK, and you will select the subject of your image. 

pop-up message to discard changes

Photoshop performs outstanding here and selects the subject quite beautifully, but it is not perfect; you have to fine-tune the selection slightly to get the perfect result. 

Photoshop selects the subject beautifully

If you select a picture with more than one subject in focus, the AI will choose both subjects. But it’s also possible to select only one subject. 

In this image, there are two subjects and if you want to select only one subject, click on the Object Selection Tool from the left toolset. Or press W to enable this tool. 

Object Selection Tool for double subject

Make sure you have the Lasso mode active. 

Active Lasso Mode for BG Removal

Now, click and hold to draw a loose selection area around the subject to make the AI understand which subject you want to select. 

draw a loose selection area around the subject

After that, the AI will automatically select the subject inside the area, and you’ll get your desired subject selected. 

get the desired subject selected

Step-3: Refine the Selection 

Photoshop AI does a great job, but the result is not perfect. For example, sometimes, the AI adds a tiny portion of the subject to the object or vise versa. So, for making the result, you have to refine the image and make the selection perfect. 

First, use the zoom tool to find the areas that need fine-tuning. After that, click on the Quick Selection Tool to add the miss spots back on the subject area. 

add the miss spots back on the subject area

Make sure the ADD option is enabled after you click on the Quick Selection tool. 

enable ADD option

Now click and drag the mouse to those areas you want to fine-tune. If there is any area that you want to deselect, then click on the Subtract option. 

Do the same to all the miss spots, fine-tune every tiny detail, and you’ll have a perfectly selected subject area. 

fine-tune every tiny detail

Step-4: Refine the Mask Edge 

Click on the hand tool, double-click on the image to fit it to the screen, and exit the zoom view. 

Refine the Mask Edge

In almost every case, the edges of the selected subject look jagged or blurry. Therefore, you need to refine the edges to give these a smooth and perfect look. Refining the edges will make the cutout look realistic, hiding the imperfections. 

You can see the Global refinement part that controls the selected part’s edges on the right panel. You need to adjust these to make the edges look perfect. 

Background Removal in Photoshop

Zoom into the image, and from the right panel under the View tab, select Black and White. It will make it easy to see the imperfection of the edges. 

see the imperfection of the edges

Use the Spacebar to pan and see the edges of the image. 

Use Spacebar to pan and see edges

Now adjust the Smooth and Contrast from the right panel to make the edges look sharp and remove jaggedness. In some cases, you may need to use the Feather option. It will give the edges a blurry look. After adjusting these ideally, you’ll get a cutout with fine edges. As you change, increase the Smooth, click and drag the mouse cursor over the edges to imply the changes. 

adjust the Smooth and Contrast to look sharp and remove jaggedness

From the view area, click On black to see the selected part up against the Black background. 

Look the part on Black background

Now scrutinize the image. If there is still any imperfection, use the brush tool and ADD or Subtract the area from the selected part to make it perfect. 

make the subject perfect in any problem on black

Spend a little time and fine-tune every tiny detail to get the best cutout result with refined edges. 

Step-5: Refine the Hair 

For getting better results, it is wise to select the hair of the model separately. In this part, we will learn to select the hair part to get the perfect cutout. 

First, scroll down on the right panel, click on Output To, and select the layer mask. A layer mask will hide the background pixel. It will also show the pixels of the selected area. If you want, you can also come back and see all of the pixels, including the subject and background. So layer mask does not destroy the pixel and allows you to work on a separate workspace for more excellent results. 

Look the part on Black background

Now you can work on the selected Layer mask and work on the hair of the model. First, make sure the Selected Layer Mask is active. On the layers panel, you’ll see a white border around the active layer. Click on the layer, and you’ll see a white border that indicates the selected layer is active. 

Active Layer Mask

Now, click on the Properties panel and click on Select and Mask

click on Select and Mask

After that, now select the Refine brush tool to select the hair ideally. 

select the hair perfectly with Refine brush tool

Click and drag the mouse around the hair area, and Photoshop will automatically detect the pixel around the area and add it as the subject. 

detect the background area

The intention behind refining the hair on a separate step is that the Global refinement will not affect the hair. So, the hair will not get smooth and sharp resulting in a more original look. 

In Photoshop 2021, you’ll get a dedicated option to refine hair. Click on that, and the AI will analyze and refine the hair area. 

Get option to refine hair in Photoshop 2021

But mostly, the result is not so good. So I will suggest refining the hair area manually using the refine brush tool. Then, use the Add option and select the areas ideally. 

refining the hair area manually

Now, from the right panel, select Layer mask on the Output To option and click OK. Photoshop will automatically adjust all the changes you have done and show the image on the previously created layer mask. 

Step-6: Add a New Background 

Click on the Hue adjustment icon and select a solid color for the background. The color is not essential, so choose any. Click on Solid color, then choose a color, and click OK

How to remove Image background in Photoshop 2021
Making a solid color background

Now drag the selected Mask layer to below for seeing the selected area in solid color background. 

Make a solid color background
solid color background making

Step-7: Refine Imperfections Using Brush Tool 

On a solid background, you’ll surely notice some imperfections. You need to refine those areas again to make the cutout perfect. Use the zoom tool to see the imperfect areas. 

Use zoom tool to see imperfection

On a solid background, you may find it difficult to notice the missed areas. So for having a better look, click on the Selected layer mask, then reduce the density and set it between 40-50%. 

Image On a solid background

It will allow you to see the miss spots very clearly. So for adding the miss spots, you have to use the brush tool

adding miss spots using brush tool

Using the brush tool, you can print with black or white color. The white color will reveal pixels,s and black will hide pixels. 

print with black or white color

The color positioned above is selected, and select the opposite one; click on the Invert icon or press X on your keyboard. 

hide or show pixels and make the selection perfect

So you hide or show pixels and make the selection perfect. Next, go through the whole image, repeat the same process, and make sure you do not leave any spot unchecked. This will create a perfect selection, and the cutout will look stunning. 

When you are done reffing the stubble spots, set the density back to 100%. 

Step-8: Replace the Background 

The final step of this process is to add a different background. To do so, make sure your selected Layer mask is selected. Now, go to Files and select Place Embedded

add a different background selecting place embedded

Now choose the background image you want to set and drag, crop, and adjust the background image needs. 

choose the background image

Click on the checkmark to set the changes. 

background Changing in Photoshop

There you have it, you model in a new background. 

Background Change in Photoshop

Step-9:Saving the File:

Firstly, to save the photo, click on the “File” option situated on the screen’s top left. Now, click on the “Save As” option. After that, we have to select a location for that photo. 

Then, select an image format. Select the “PNG” format. Then, click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the location-selected window. Then, for the last confirmation, click on the “OK” button. The photo will be completely saved with a new background. And all the processes of removing background will be done entirely.

Process of Removing Background Using Photoshop AI 

There is another way that can be used to remove the background of the image in a short time. In this process, you do not have to make the selection manually, and the AI will do most of the work. 

But as we have said before, the AI is not 100% accurate, so getting a more precise result creating the selection is recommended. 

Step-1: Open the Image in Photoshop. 

Step-2: On the right of the workspace under the Properties, you will find Quick action. 

Step-3: Select Remove Background from there, and the Photoshop AI will analyze and remove the image’s background. 

Remove Background Photoshop

Final words on How to Remove Background in Photoshop

After learning how to remove background in Photoshop, removing background is not that hard. The background removal process has become very simple after the new updates. But if you follow the wrong process and use the wrong tool, this process can make you sweat. So follow the correct instructions and use the proper tools to get the best outcome.

You may read:

How to Change Image Background Color in Photoshop

Clipping Path vs. Masking: What is the Difference? With Example

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