Making a picture transparent or removing the background is not a big deal and can be done within minutes.
Sometimes, do you look at a picture and wonder how awesome it would have looked if the background was different? Well, this is the era of technological advancements. And we have definitely come far from using photo reels without much room for error to digital photo-taking. In which case, people take the same picture over a hundred times to find that “right angle” or the “right lighting.”
In this article, we will show you how to remove the background of any picture in Windows, Mac, and Linux. Also, we will go through different apps for iOS and Android, so your next click can be Instagram worthy in an instant!
Software in Windows
Remember the time back when you used computers only to use Paint and play Pinball?
Well, MS Paint has been our friend ever since we first used a computer, and this is exactly the software you will need to make your pictures transparent. The recent Windows Update brought around a new version, aka Paint 3D. However, Microsoft has confirmed that it won’t be removing Paint any time soon, which is a relief.
There are two ways to do this in Paint in Windows 10. The first method involves cutting the desired area from a picture so that the remaining area of the photograph becomes transparent.
Similarly, the second method involves deleting the areas so that you are left with only the desired area.
How to make a picture transparent using MS Paint:
- Open Paint from the Windows panel.
- Now, click File, and then click Open.
- Select an image to open in Paint.
- From the Select option, choose the Transparent Selection under Selection Options.
- Again, from the Select option, choose Free-Form Selection under Selection Shapes.
- Now, hold the left button on the mouse to trace the area that you want to keep. Everything else will be discarded.
- Right-click on the newly formed rectangle and select Cut. This will remove the selected area, and you will be left with just the background. However, you can now use the selected foreground area by pasting it on top of another picture.
- So, open a new image from File > Open.
- Now, press Ctrl + V to paste the foreground area that you had traced earlier. Since we had removed the background, you can clearly see the background as shown below!
- Right-click on the traced image and drag it around to place it in a suitable area.
- Now, go to File > Save As and save the picture in the desired format.
Adding a transparent background in Paint 3D:
Paint 3D is a refreshed version of Microsoft Paint and was launched in 2016 as a part of Windows 10 Creators Update. If you don’t have the Creator’s Update, you can still download it from the Microsoft Store.
- Open Paint 3D from the Windows panel.
- Now, click File > Open > Browse Files.
- Further, open your image in Paint 3D.
- Click on the Canvas option from the menu bar to open the Canvas sidebar, as shown in the image below.
- Turn the Transparent Canvas setting on.
- Now, press the Magic Select button and then drag the selection rectangle over the foreground that you wish to keep. Now, press Next.
- You can select and deselect areas through the Add and Remove buttons. Then, press Done.
- Now, drag the lifted object out of the canvas and click on Select.
- Drag the selection rectangle over the entire canvas and press Delete.
- Again, place the lifted foreground area back into the canvas.
- Go to Menu > Save As, and select the 2D PNG option.
- Add a name to the file and click Save. Now, the picture is saved as PNG with a transparent background.
- Click Menu > New to open a new canvas.
- Again, click Menu > Open > Browse files. Now, open a picture to make a new background.
- Click Menu > Insert and select the transparent image you just saved.
- You can alter the image size by pulling the bottom corners of the foreground picture.
- Again, go to Menu > Save As, and save your picture either in JPEG or PNG format.
Software in Mac
Removing the background from pictures in Mac is easy, and we can do so by using the Preview app.
The Preview app in macOS basically allows you to view a wide range of file formats. It’s not one of the powerful apps to edit pictures, but it can handle simple photo editing and save you time. Further, you can adjust brightness, contrast, shadows, and highlights on your photographs.
The steps to removing the background or making the picture transparent are:
- Open the Preview app on your Mac.
- If the Markup Toolbar isn’t showing, select the Show Markup Toolbar button.
- Now, select the Instant Alpha button.
- Drag over the background area that you want to remove from your picture. This app not only selects the parts you dragged your cursor over, but it also selects all the adjacent pixels that have the same color.
- Now, you can easily remove the selected area by pressing Delete.
- If you want to preserve the selected area and remove the other areas, go to Edit > Invert Selection and then press Delete.
- Repeat the selection and delete process until you are satisfied with the picture.
Software in Linux
Remove.bg is a free, but limited usage, application in Linux that is used to remove background from pictures. Even though this is available in Windows, Mac, and Linux, we’ll talk about the process in Linux here.
- Go to the official removebg website.
- Click on Tools & API from the menubar.
- Under remove.bg for Windows / Mac / Linux, click on Download.
- The deb file will be downloaded automatically.
- Once the application is installed, you can now access it from Show Applications.
- Just upload your picture, and within seconds, the application removes the background with high precision.
- Now you can further edit the picture and change the background or leave it as is.
- Lastly, you can download the picture in preview size or full size.
To add to the list, there are various third-party softwares that can make your task easier.
Did you know Microsoft Powerpoint can do more than just making slides for your presentation?
Well, you can use Powerpoint to remove the background from your pictures without any expert graphic designing skills. They even introduced a new “Remove Background Tool” for Powerpoint 2010 and above. So, if you have newer versions of Powerpoint, follow the steps below!
Using the Remove Background Tool (Powerpoint 2010 and above):
- Open Microsoft Powerpoint and insert your picture from the Insert tab. Alternatively, you can also copy and paste the picture straight onto the slide.
- Select the picture, and then click on the Format tab.
- Now, click on Remove Background.
- When you press on that button, Powerpoint will automatically shade the background areas. It might not be accurate, so use Mark Areas To Keep and Mark Areas To Remove buttons to make the shading more precise. Powerpoint will retain the parts that are in color.
- Once you are done shading, click on Keep Changes. Now you will have a picture with the background removed.
Well, Photoshop is no child’s play, and it can take some time to get used to all the different tools available in this software. You can buy Adobe Photoshop at USD 29.99/month. Yes, we know 30 dollars is a lot to spend on a software that you are going to use once to edit a picture. However, Photoshop has powerful tools, and if you can master them, it will entirely change your photo editing game.
For now, here are the steps to remove the background of a picture using Adobe Photoshop.
- Open your photo in Adobe Photoshop.
- Select the Quick Selection Tool. Sometimes, it is hidden under the Magic Wand tool, so right-click on it once, and then select the Quick Selection Tool.
- Now, click and drag on the areas that you want to keep. Gradually build the selection as you go.
- If you happen to select the area that you wanted to discard accidentally, you can remove the selection by holding Alt as you click and drag.
- Zoom in on the picture and use a smaller brush to reach difficult areas to apply selection.
- When the selection is done, click within the Selection box and select Layer via Copy option. Or you can press Ctrl+J to create a new layer with the selected area.
- Now you have two layers; one is the original picture, and the next is the foreground area with a transparent background. You can hide or delete the original layer.
- Add a new background (optional).
- Now press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S and save it in the PNG format.
If you aren’t on your laptop/PC, but you need to make a picture transparent right away, you can also do this on your phone. There are various applications in the App Store and Google Play that are capable enough. Let’s have a look at some!
As is the name, this app is used to make the background of a picture transparent. This app was developed by handyCloset Inc.
Further, there are two modes available in this app: Auto Mode and Extract Mode.
In the Auto Mode, the app itself detects all the similar pixels automatically. On the other hand, you can use red and blue markers in the Extract Mode to select which areas to keep and which to delete.
The cursor offset is a nice feature, as it allows you to look at where the eraser is, and you can make a more precise cut. Further, you can change the offset distance as well.
However, what I don’t like about this app is that it only lets you save your picture in JPEG format with a white background. This app would have been perfect for removing backgrounds if it allowed saving in PNG format with a transparent background too!
Google Play Rating: 4.6/5
This app provides an easy way to change the background in pictures. This app was developed by Iris Studios and Services.
Further, there are various modes within this app: Auto Erase, Manual Erase, and Lasso Eraser.
Auto Erase works by a single touch input that automatically removes the background. In Manual Erase mode, you manually erase the background by rubbing just like an eraser. Similarly, in Lasso Eraser mode, you can easily remove the background by area selection.
This app, unlike the previous one, lets you save pictures both in PNG and JPEG format.
Google Play Rating: 4.7/5
Magic Eraser app features an automated background area removal tool, namely the magic wand tool. When you use the magic wand tool, it automatically deletes all areas that have the same color.
The precision of the tools are amazing, and removing the background does feel like a breeze in this one.
App Store Rating: 4.8/5
What is the difference between JPEG and PNG?
JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, and the extensions that come under this are .jpg and .jpeg. Since it uses the lossy compression algorithm, some parts of the image data are lost, and even the image size is reduced. Further, it doesn’t support transparency in images.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, and the extension under this is .png. Since it uses the lossless compression algorithm, no image data is lost, and the image size is usually large. Further, this format also supports transparency in images.
Why do I need to remove the background of a picture?
Sometimes, the background of a picture can be very disturbing and not appropriate to use in certain situations. And sometimes, you really like one of your pictures, but the background renders it useless? In such cases, it is ideal for removing the background and using it as it is or to change the background by layering it on top of other pictures.
So, which of these ways are you going to follow to remove the background of your picture? Share with us in the comments if it was successful; we’d love to know!
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