Removing backgrounds in images can be a daunting tasks for designers. You can go all out destructive and use the eraser tool. But in this post I will show you a completely non destructive approach using a mask in Photoshop!
Let’s get started!
First grab the image you would like to remove the background from and Open (CTRL/CMD + O) it up in Adobe Photoshop. In this tutorial I grabbed an image that was from Unsplash. Unsplash is a completely free high resolution image resource to use for designing!
Once the file is opened in Photoshop it’s time to start masking the object. In this case the man in the picture. We will be using the Quick Mask Mode (Q). You will know if you are in the mode by the Icon below the swatches will have a filled in circle showing instead of the dotted lined circle like in the above image.
When you are in the Quick Mask Mode go ahead and select your Brush Tool (B). This will be the tool to apply your mask! Start adjusting your brush settings for this. To get a more natural looking mask I like to set my hardness between 60-75%. This will give the object nice edges that aren’t too soft and not so jagged and rough. You’ll notice down in your foreground and background colors will be black and white. These are very important when creating your mask.
To start the mask make sure your foreground color is black. Now start painting over the object you are wanting to save. It will start being colored in red. In this case it will look like this guy is looking really sunburnt. If you over-paint an area just cover up your mistake by making the foreground color in white to remove the red. Make sure you bring it back to black to continue on around the object.
When everything is painted over it will look all in red. Now get out of the Quick Mask Mode (Q). This will cause the marching ants dotted lines around the object. Now Select the Inverse (CTRL/CMD + SHIFT + I).
If everything looks good go into your Layers Panel and Click Add a mask.
This will cause the image to hide all of the background! If you need to make any changes later on just go into the layers panel and select the mask to do some more editing.
There you have it a quick way to removing the background without destroying the original image! Now you can paste your object onto different backgrounds.
Now that you have a basic idea of how to remove a background it will open up some more avenues of doing some great manipulations like a double exposure effect!