How to remove the background from an image in 2 min?

Here you will learn different ways to remove the background from an image, whether you use Power Point, Photoshop, or free Photoshop alternatives (Gimp, Krita, …).

We will see different ways to remove the background from an image, first in Power Point, then in Photoshop, and finally we will present two free alternatives to Photoshop: Krita and Gimp. The choice of method will depend on the rendering requirement you desire. Do not hesitate to click on the images to enlarge them!
All the demonstrations below have been made on one of Diana Flores Blazquez‘s splendid drawings. Discover more of his creations on this blog!

1) Power Point : practical but unsatisfactory

Power Point’s background removal tool has the merit of being very convenient and quick to use. We import an image into our presentation, we want to remove the background, and in two clicks it’s settled. But we should not be very careful about the result: the outlines are lacking in cleanliness and the fine areas of our images are generally removed. On the other hand, the images thus modified can be used directly within Power Point presentations, but cannot be saved without a background and exported for use elsewhere, in particular because the slide backgrounds are not transparent.

Import your image, select it by clicking on it, and go to the “Format” menu located at the top of the window.

Then click on “Remove background” (top left). The pink areas will be those that will be deleted once you have validated the selection by clicking on “Keep changes”. If you wish to modify this selection, use the “Mark areas to keep” or “to delete” buttons and redraw some of the desired areas.

Your image is ready to be used!

2) Photoshop: very clean work, but a very expensive tool!

There are several ways to remove the background from an image. One of them is based on the use of the “Lasso” tool, allowing you to manually crop your image, following the contours. For a precise use of this tool, it is better to use a stylus and / or a graphics tablet. Another method is based on the use of the “Magic wand” allowing to draw much more roughly the contours of your image: this tool will recognize by itself the contours provided that the background of the image is sufficiently different from the colors. of the object to be cropped. This method, and the way to refine this selection, is presented in part 3), on Krita.

Open your image. This is displayed on a locked layer (padlock icon). To create a transparent background, you need to duplicate this first layer by right clicking on it and selecting “Duplicate Layer” or by dragging your layer to the “New Layer” icon at the bottom of the layer window (next to the “Delete” icon). Then make the initial layer invisible by unchecking the eye icon located on the left of the layer.

This maneuver is unnecessary when you choose to import your image from a document without a background instead of opening your image directly.

Now place yourself on your new layer (the one that does not have the padlock but contains your image) and go to the “Select”> “Color range” menu. A window will open.

By clicking in different places of your image, you will select different colors. Here we are going to select the color black, because it is the background color of our image. Then, by adjusting the tolerance, you can choose to remove only the deep blacks or all the dark colors (as well as all the intermediate states between these two extremes). Here, the tolerance has been set to 9, allowing no information on the butterfly (shown in opaque black here) to be removed.

After having validated your selection, simply cut it by using the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + X” or by going to “Edit”> “Cut”. You can now save your image in PNG format to use it anywhere you want! (The JPEG format is not suitable for an image without background since it will automatically integrate a white background).

If by chance your selection by color range does not completely satisfy you because some elements are cut, go back to the previous step, and once the selection is made, before cutting it, select the “Mask mode”, penultimate icon in bottom left (a square and a dotted circle inside). The areas not selected then appear in red (see the part on Krita, where the cache was activated). You can then, by simply using the eraser and brush tools, color new areas in red or remove some. Once you are happy with your mask, you can cut the area (“Edit”> “Cut” or using the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + X”).

3) Krita: fast and free!

Krita is an image editing and retouching software quite similar to Photoshop but which has the advantage of being free! Get Krita by clicking here.

After opening your image, click on the magic wand (selected on the screenshot opposite).

With the wand in hand, click on the background of the image. To view more precisely what you have selected, click on the cached selection icon, located at the very bottom left (icon representing a square with a dotted circle inside). What is not selected will then turn red. Now, using the usual brush and eraser tools, you can change the selection by coloring other areas red or erasing them.

Once satisfied, cut your selection using the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + X” or in “Edit”> “Cut”.

By clicking again on the cache icon (the circle in the square) you will remove the red coloring. To deselect everything, go to the menu “Select”> “Deselect”. Your image is now ready to be saved in PNG format! (the JPEG format is not suitable for exporting a backgroundless image, as it will set a white background by default).

4) Gimp: another free alternative

Gimp is a fairly popular Photoshop alternative. Like Krita, this is a free, open source image editing and retouching lociel. Removing the background from an image using Gimp is very easy, albeit a little less intuitive than with Krita or Photoshop. You can download Gimp by clicking here.

Open your image in Gimp, then go to the “Layer” tab> “Transparency”> “Add alpha channel” (if you don’t do this step, you will certainly succeed in removing your background, but it will turn white in the background. instead of being transparent!).

Then use the “Contiguous Selection Tool” (magic wand icon, top left of the work surface). Click on the areas to delete. This tool is very similar to the one offered by Power Point to remove the background from images. To select several zones, hold down the “Shift” key (a small “+” will appear on the side of your mouse), and to delete some, hold the “Ctrl” key (a small “-” will appear).

Then use the keyboard shortcut “Ctrl + X” or go to the menu “Edit”> “Cut” to remove the background. Your image is ready to be saved in PNG format!
To remove the background from a more complex image, you can also use the “Freehand Selection Tool” (lasso icon), allowing you to crop your image yourself. However, to use this tool with maximum precision, it is better to use a stylus and / or a graphics tablet.

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