Remove white background from .gif and .png picture files and make the background transparent

Posted on 2007-10-18
Last Modified: 2013-11-19
I have 3 pictures that all have a white background behind them. I am trying to remove the white box so the picture is transparent and I can put it on a colored background and the white box is gone. My 3 pictures are clip art and the files are .gif and .png files. Can you help?
Question by:ddezines
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Steps are done using PS 7.0 but it should be similar for CS. One of the easiest way is to use Extract (Menu >Filter>Extract)

    1.  Adjust the brush size to about 20. Use the highlighter to cover the edges of the area you wish to retain.
    2.Use Fill Tool to fill the area you wish to retain.
    3. Click on Preview button to see an extracted image which you wish to retain with transparent background.
    4. If the extracted image is not ideal, you can use the Cleanup Tool and Edge Touch up Tool to enhance you image.
    5. Click ok to exit Extract function.

    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Well, I personally think Extract SUCKS.

    Extract is only good for jobs that are really low resolution or that you don't care about... It's horrible on certain edges and leaves haze... and doesn't do very well with translucency...

    The best way to remove white quickly is with a layer mask, or with channels.

    Don't let me explain it though... I'll let Bert Monroy do the talking...

    After watching that 10 min explanation, you'll be able to remove white backgrounds in under 5 seconds on most white backgrounded images...
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    If it is a clipart, then most probably having solid colors.

    Select  the white background with magic wand tool.

    See that every white part is selected and no part of the image is selected(  eg eyes).

    Inverse selection (ctrl+shift+I). It will select the graphic part, copy paste into new layer. Here you got it.

    Masking is good only where there are gradients and you cannot select the boundaries.

    You can also give multiply mode to the graphic layer, it will make the white part transparent, though will not always work, as all white color in image will become transparent, including eyes. :)
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Well actually i Think that you should do the following and dont just go to many hard functions to do ur job.
    Look select the layer that you want to erase the background from. Now from the menu select Color Selection i guess it's called, look I dont have photoshop in front of me. but I guess this how it's called, it is in the middle. Now a window will pop up and now the mouse select on the image the color that u want to erase, once selected the picture that you see in black and white in the window that has poped up will change the balck and white variations. Now increase the darkness, this will indicate how mich of the image will be cut. the more the white in the image the more taht will be erased. once done, and you have chosen the desired area to erase, press of to the window. you will see that verything in the image of the color u chose are now dotted, as if they are selected. Now on ur keyboard press delete, if u want press delete one more time it will erase a bit more on the edges.

    Deselect, and save as gif once more with photoshop default options and... voila...!!! hope it works... Well of course it does... but I hope u do it well...\

    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    White background?  Easiest method ever:

    1) IF your background layer has a padlock icon on it...Double-Click on it, name it layer0, click ok.  Else, just go right to step 2.
    2) Create a new layer.  It can be transparent, or any color you want.
    3) Put the new layer below the original image layer.
    4) Double-click on the original image layer (or select it and go to Layer>Layer Styles>Blending Options)
    5) See those sliders named "Blend if"???  That's your ticket to paradise.  Grab the white point on the top slider (there's 2, go for the one labeled "this layer").  Drag the white point to the left a bit.  DONE!!!!

    The white just vanishes.

    If it looks kind of jagged (and it may, depending on your image) there's a fix for that too.
    See how the white point marker has a little dividing line down the middle?  That's there to help you refine the blend.  Hold the ALT key (Option on a Mac) and drag half of the white point slider left and the other half right.  It splits when you hold that key, giving you a nice smooth blend.  Adjust as needed :)
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    1. Open your image. First change your image mode to "RGB Colors". (Image > Mode > RGB Colors) so you can create alpha channel layer / transparent layers (recomended).

    2. Double click your layer (background layer) and click OK to create an alpha layers.

    3. Select white bakground with selection tools like "Magic Wand Tool"

    4. Press "Del" to remove the selected background.

    5. Use "Save for Web..." to save your image  to transparent GIF or PNG. Remember to check "Transparency" option.

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