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How to remove background from picture

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Whether you're trying to spruce up your social media visuals, enhance product photos for ecommerce, or just customize that perfect selfie, removing an...

Whether you're trying to spruce up your social media visuals, enhance product photos for ecommerce, or just customize that perfect selfie, removing an unwanted image background is a vital photo editing skill. Fortunately, a variety of tools, from advanced software like Photoshop to handy online platforms like, offer solutions. This article delves into these tools, ensuring that by the end, you can effortlessly change the background of your image.

Understanding the importance of background removal

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a cluttered photo background might just send the wrong message.

  • The Visual Appeal: Visuals play a pivotal role in capturing attention. Imagine scrolling through your social media feed and coming across an image with a white background that makes the primary subject pop. It's eye-catching, isn't it? By using a background remover, you can emphasize what matters most in your pictures.
  • Professional Use Cases: For ecommerce websites, a clean, transparent background ensures product photos stand out. It’s about more than aesthetics; it’s about enhancing customer experience. Logos too, especially for startups, often require a clear or white background for versatile use.
  • Personal Projects: Want to create stickers, collages, or just revamp your old photos? Background removal is your best friend. Whether you're crafting an iOS 16 wallpaper for your iPhone or designing custom visuals for a party, a clean cutout can make all the difference.

Essential tools for background removal

From your Windows PC to your Apple Mac, options abound for background removal.

Professional grade - Adobe Photoshop:

Adobe Photoshop stands as the titan in the realm of image editing. But what makes it the industry-standard tool, especially for background removal?

  • Versatility: Photoshop isn't just a photo editor. It's a comprehensive design platform. Beyond mere background removal, it offers tools to retouch photos, change background color, resize images, and even design collages and other artworks.
  • In-depth Toolbar: Navigating through its vast toolbar, users can access a diverse set of tools tailored for precise editing. Tools such as the magic wand, quick selection tool, and the pen tool ensure that every tiny detail of the image is captured, allowing for a flawless cutout.
  • File Flexibility: One of Photoshop's strengths lies in its support for multiple file types. While JPG is a common format for storing photos, when it comes to saving an image with a removed or transparent background, PNG stands out due to its ability to maintain transparency without compromising on quality.

Freemium options - GIMP:

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is the beacon for those who need robust photo editing capabilities without the price tag of software like Photoshop.

  • Open-Source Advantage: Being an open-source platform, GIMP has a strong community of developers and users. This means constant updates, community-driven plugins, and a wealth of online resources and tutorials.
  • Feature-Packed: While GIMP might lack the artificial intelligence capabilities found in some modern apps, it compensates with a slew of rich editing features. From basic cutouts to more complicated image manipulations like layer masking, GIMP has it all.
  • Customizable Workspace: GIMP offers a customizable interface. Depending on your workflow and the tasks you frequently perform, you can rearrange the toolbars and windows to suit your needs.

Online platforms:

In the era of cloud computing and AI-driven tools, online platforms offer quick fixes without the need to install hefty software.

  • and Its AI Power: Platforms like have revolutionized background removal. What's the secret? Artificial intelligence. By simply uploading an image to their platform, their advanced AI API scans the photo, differentiates the foreground from the background, and provides a clean cutout within seconds.
  • Tailored for Quick Edits: Not everyone needs a comprehensive tool for hours of photo editing. Sometimes, you just want a quick edit for a social media post or an ecommerce product listing. This is where online tools shine. Without any software downloads or installations, you can get a professionally edited photo on-the-go.
  • Integration Capabilities: Many online platforms also offer API solutions. For businesses, especially in the ecommerce sector, this means automating the process of background removal for large sets of product photos, streamlining the workflow and ensuring consistency.

Each tool, be it Photoshop, GIMP, or online platforms like, offers a unique set of capabilities. Your choice will likely be influenced by your specific needs, proficiency level, and the nature of the project at hand.

Step-by-step process using Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop, whether on Windows or Mac, is many a professional's go-to photo editor. Here's a basic workflow:

  1. Opening Your Image: Fire up Photoshop, head to the toolbar, and click on 'Open'. Navigate to your photo, be it a JPG or PNG, and upload.
  2. Using the Magic Wand Tool: One of the popular editing tools, this helps you select areas with a similar background color. Adjust the tolerance for precision.
  3. Refining Edges: Once selected, retouching those edges ensures a seamless cutout.
  4. Deleting and Saving: After removing the unwanted background, save your new image in the desired format. Remember, PNG is ideal for a transparent background.

Alternative method: using GIMP

For those looking for free background remover options:

  1. Getting Started: GIMP might seem daunting initially, but its layout becomes intuitive with use.
  2. Tools to Know: GIMP's toolbar is rich. Key tools include the 'Fuzzy select' and 'Free select', essential for detailed cutouts.
  3. Improving Precision: Layers and masks can help achieve that perfect cutout, especially when dealing with tricky areas like hair.
  4. Final Touches: Once satisfied, export your image, opting for PNG if you want to retain transparency.

Online tools: quick and easy background removal

Sometimes, speed trumps all:

  • Why Choose Online Tools?: Maybe you're on Safari on your iPhone, and you need a quick image background remover. Websites fit the bill, with no need to download heavy apps.
  • Popular Options: is a favorite. This tool uses artificial intelligence to identify and remove the background of a picture. Whether you're on Android or using Apple's Photos app, it works smoothly.
  • Limitations and Considerations: While convenient, online tools have limitations. File size restrictions, costs for high-resolution images, and sometimes the inability to handle intricate details like hair without a background eraser can be roadblocks.

Tips for a clean finish

No matter the tool you choose:

  • Zoom and Detail: Take a screenshot, zoom in, and ensure every edge is perfect.
  • Dealing with Hair and Fur: If you don’t have the luxury of artificial intelligence tools, manual editing, especially with a background eraser, helps.
  • Shadows and Lighting: Retain natural looks by preserving shadows. Background removal tools might give a clean slate, but a shadow adds depth.

With platforms like social media and ecommerce dictating aesthetics, mastering background removal is crucial. From advanced software on your Mac to a quick background remover app on your iPhone, you have a plethora of options. Dive into the world of image editing, experiment, and discover what works best for you. Whether you’re revamping your visuals or just having fun with collages, the perfect image awaits. Happy editing!

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1. What's the main difference between using professional software like Adobe Photoshop and online tools like for background removal?

While both types of tools enable background removal, Adobe Photoshop offers extensive photo editing capabilities and allows for intricate detail work. It's a comprehensive software suitable for professionals and hobbyists who want complete control over their edits. On the other hand, online tools like are user-friendly and quick, designed for straightforward background removal using artificial intelligence. They're great for on-the-go edits but may have limitations in handling very intricate details.

2. Can I use these background removal tools on mobile devices?

Absolutely! Many online platforms, including, are mobile-friendly, allowing you to remove backgrounds directly from your browser on devices like iPhones or Android smartphones. Additionally, there are specific background remover apps available for both iOS and Android platforms that offer similar functionalities.

3. Are there any hidden costs associated with free background remover tools online?

While many online tools offer free background removal, there might be certain limitations. For instance, high-resolution downloads or additional editing features might come at a premium. It's essential to check the platform's pricing model or any associated costs for advanced features before deep-diving into your edits.

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman

Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.