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Thursday, January 29, 2009

How To Erase A Background From An Image In Photoshop - Pt. 2


Since I seem to be on the subject of erasing a background from an image, I thought I would share with you one of the other ways to achieve this successfully.  But, that all depends on the image you are working with.  Let me explain.  Take this image for instance - I am going to show you how to erase the sky from the image, leaving only the trees, the barn, and the foreground.

This can be challenging, especially since I want to also erase the small remnants of sky that are visible between the branches.  This is where the Background Eraser Tool can come in handy over the Magic Eraser Tool.  Keep in mind, though, that the Magic Eraser Tool is great for when you want to erase a color that is prominent in the background and can be erased in one click as described in Pt. 1 of this tutorial.


Before I get started using the Background Eraser Tool, I will want to select it and adjust the settings for what I want to achieve.  In the case of this image, I have selected "Sampling: Continuous (on the left), Find Edges, and 60% Tolerance.


Now, I will start by placing the Background Eraser Tool over the area that I want to erase.  See the plus sign in the middle of the circle?  I want to place that plus sign over the color of the sky that I want to erase then I want to "option-click" the tool in that area of the image.


DO NOT DRAG the Background Eraser Tool!!  If you do, you will end up erasing far more than just the sky.  When you use the Background Eraser Tool it is best to adjust the size of the tool to your image.  For instance, if you are erasing a large area of an image that is the same or nearly the same color, then a larger tool is a good idea.  In the picture above, you might have noticed that the Background Eraser Tool is also hovering over the tree and the barn.  No problem.  Why?  Because by "not dragging" the tool, placing it over the area that includes all or part of the background you want to erase, and then just clicking (not dragging), you will cleanly erase the color you select, and in this case, the sky disappears, not the tree and the barn.  Pretty cool, eh?


As you can see, I am now getting down to the nitty-gritty - erasing the sky from between the branches of the tree, and not the tree.  This is where the Tolerance setting of your tool is critical, because the higher percentage of tolerance, the more sensitive the tool and you may end up erasing parts of your tree.  Even at 60% tolerance, I will probably be erasing some of it, but we might be surprised.  Let's see how I do.  But first, I am going to zoom in on this area to better see the pixels so I can be more exact in choosing the color to erase. See the dropper?  I am holding down the Option key which shows me the eyedropper where I am going to select the color for the tool to erase in the area where I am placing the circle of the Background Eraser Tool.  Have you got a headache yet?  Dang, this is harder to explain than it looks. It really is easy.  Hang in there with me!


Making progress.  The Background Eraser Tool has done a great job of erasing "only" the sky and preserving the rest of the image. 

So there you go.  I think that pretty much explains 2 ways you can erase the background successfully.  No dragging!!!! 




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