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3 ways to remove a white background in Photoshop

Check out 3 easy ways to remove white background in Photoshop CC in 2-5 minutes. Make objects transparent and remove a white background.

photoshop for the ipad
Image: KnowTechie

Learning how to get rid of white background in Photoshop is useful when you work in the ecommerce business. Regardless if you’re working on a product image or designing website elements, removing background makes easier to place your object on any background you need.

Check out these three easy ways to remove white backgrounds in Photoshop and make it fast and simple. If you don’t want to do it manually, you may outsource background photo retouching to professionals and order batch editing services for an affordable price. 

Method 1: Magic Eraser Tool (2 min)

white background photoshop

If the picture that requires background removal has a dark color palette and minimum light tones, then the Background and Magic Erasers are the best tools for the job. However, if there are light tones in the photograph or the background is highly detailed, you’ll need a more precise tool to avoid deleting parts of the photo you don’t want to.

Pick the Magic Eraser

magic eraser photoshop tool

Choose the photo you need to edit and open it in Ps CC. Place the picture in the center of the work area to make the image editing process more convenient.

Delete Unnecessary Parts

photoshop chair background

Hover the eraser over the background and start removing it. You’ll notice a circle-shaped brush appear with a crosshair that marks the action point, which determines what color is erased whenever it’s within the brush zone.

This tool is also capable of smartly extracting colors at the boundaries of foreground objects to get rid of “halos” that might become visible if they are placed onto a different backdrop in the future.

If you go the usual route of saving the picture in JPG, you’ll end up with a white background since this format doesn’t preserve transparency.

Instead, pick “File” > “Save As” and select PNG from the list of formats.

Now you can add the newly-created PNG image anywhere you’d like and it will maintain a transparent background. If you need high-quality, professional product photo editing for large printings or billboard advertising, make use of a professional background removal service.

Method 2: Magic Wand Tool (5 minutes)

apple background photoshop

The Magic Wand is used particularly for changing or erasing the backgrounds on product photographs without damaging the foreground objects. All you need to do is select an image part with a solid color. Once done, the tool allows you to transform and adjust the selected area in a variety of ways.

1. Remove the Lock from the Background Layer

photoshop background

By default, most images opened in Ps CC have a locked background. To toggle the lock, you have to transform it into a layer.

This can be achieved by double-clicking the locked layer in the appropriate window and changing its name or via “Layer” > “New” > “Layer from Background.”

2. Click on the Magic Wand Icon on the Toolset

Select the Magic Wand either from the toolbar on the left of the workspace or by pressing the “W” key. If the tool is invisible, try finding it under the Quick Selection one.

To do so, click and hold on “Quick Selection” until a window pops up that allows you to pick the Magic Wand.

3. Single-Click on the Area You Need to Erase

photoshop apple

If the background you need to get rid of is a solid or nearly solid color, you can easily select it with the Magic Wand. You can also inverse the selected area with another click.

4. Remove the Background


Check if you’ve chosen the duplicated layer (look at the Layers window). Hover over any part of the background and click the left mouse button. Press and hold “Shift” and select the parts of the background that weren’t caught by the Wand initially, which are usually the shadow areas.

To inverse the selection and have only the object highlighted, use the “Shift + Ctrl + I” key combination. Once the background is selected, hit “Delete” to make it completely transparent.

5. Cancel the Selected Area

deselect photoshop

Click on the selection zone you want to deactivate. You can recognize that zone by a border of dotted lines. Next, press “Select” in the main menu to bring out another menu. Click “Deselect” and the selection zone will be disabled.

You can bypass that process by pressing “D” while holding “Ctrl.” Once again, this will cancel all the selected photo parts.

6. Use the Eraser to Clean Your Photo

If the background mostly had solid colors, you’ll delete it in a single click. However, you may still have to enlarge the photograph and erase smaller elements by hand using the Eraser.

Remember not to save the image in JPG format because it will substitute the transparent background with a blank white one, which defeats the entire purpose of your image editing.

Go to “File” > “Save As” and find PNG in the format list. Transparency will now be preserved regardless of where you’ll use the photograph. Read another tutorial on how to blur background in Lightroom.

Method 3: Magnetic Lasso Tool (5 minutes)

The third efficient tool that is used when trying to remove white background in Photoshop around objects is the Magnetic Lasso. It’s especially handy in situations when you’re working with complex objects and backgrounds.

1. Choose the Magnetic Lasso

To select this tool, click the lasso icon on the toolbar and pick Magnetic Lasso. Next, choose a point on the photo to attach the lasso.

2. Select the Foreground Subject

lasso photoshop

You can begin this process by creating a copy of the background layer, which you can later use as a reference. The Magnetic Lasso is primarily suited for selecting objects with complex borders against a contrasting background.

The area you’ve selected with the lasso is ordinarily the one you want to preserve. Afterward, you can click the Move tool and change the placement of the selected zone while the background remains empty.

Once you’ve placed the image as you see fit, you can proceed to add other colors if needed to improve the photo or make it more eye-catching.

3. Create a Layer via Copy

layer photoshop

You can do so by using the Control (Command on Mac) + J key combination. This will transfer your current selection to a new layer.

Now, you can rename, transform or adjust the newly created layer without changing the original one.

4. Lock the Lower Layer

To protect the content of your layers, you can lock them either partially or completely. Once a layer is locked, a corresponding icon appears to its right.

If the layer is locked completely, the icon is fully colored, while a partial lock only displays its shape.

Don’t save the image in JPG since it will make all transparent sections white due to how this format is coded. Instead, always save in PNG, which you can find in the list of formats when using the “Save As” command. A PNG photo maintains its transparency and can be used for a variety of purposes.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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