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Making a Background Transparent Using Photoshop

Removing backgrounds in photographs is something I am asked to do quite frequently by my clients and even business associates. It is something I have done so much of -- mostly for the photograph collages I create -- that I have gotten pretty good at it and I also like doing it (removing backgrounds and making collages).

I decided to use something round. Hereís a nice picture of a coin. Using the Elliptical Marquee Tool, point to the upper left edge of the coin and while holding down the Shift key drag your mouse down and across the coin image until you get to the lower right edge. You will see that you have a moving dotted circle slightly off center and smaller than the coin. Put your cursor into the middle of the dotted circle and while holding down the mouse button, move the dotted circle into the middle of the coin, so that it is centered.

Once the dotted circle is in the middle of the coin, click on Select and choose Modify from the drop down menu. Then select Expand. Or, if your dotted circle is larger than the coin, then select Contract. The Expand (or Contract) dialogue box opens where you can type in how many pixels you need to modify the selection by. If you donít know, and honestly, most of the time I donít know, I guess! Thatís what the Undo button is for. For this coin image I put in 10 pixels and it was not enough. But I can see how much it did expand, making my next choice of expansion based on this. The second expansion was for 10 pixels also and it is almost there. Two more pixels did the job.

With the coin still selected, Copy the image onto the Clipboard. You can now Paste it back on top of the original image creating a new layer. Then from the Layers window, you can unselect the Background (the original image) so that only Layer 1 is visible. If you want to keep both the layers (and any other you may add) save the image as a Photoshop file. It can then be saved as a PNG file which will keep the transparent background around the coin. This can be done by using the Save As command or the Save for Web option on the File drop down menu.

Another option would be after copying the coin to the Clipboard, create a New file and then Paste the coin into the new file. Be sure when you create the new file, that you choose Transparent background at the bottom of the New dialogue box. The new file can be saved the same as described in the paragraph above.

www.laserlaura.com to view some of collages I have made from photographs.

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