How To Remove a Background In Photoshop [For Beginners!]

Learn this easy-to-follow method to remove a background from a photo in Photoshop!

This step-by-step Photoshop tutorial is geared toward beginners. We will use the Select and Mask Workspace to remove the background from our sample image.

Removing the background from a photo in Photoshop has never been easier! There are many methods and tools available to you to remove even the most difficult background.

In this tutorial, you will learn an essential background removal technique that should work in most cases and give you the best results.

To follow along, you can download the image for this tutorial here.

Remove a Background in Photoshop with “Select and Mask”

Time needed: 5 minutes

Follow these simple steps to remove a background in Photoshop!

  1. Enter the Select and Mask Workspace

    Go to Select > Select and Mask. This dedicated workspace has all the tools you will need to create selections and refine its edges.

  2. Select the Foreground

    Start by selecting your foreground element. In some cases, the Select Subject button will be all you need. It utilizes artificial intelligence, known as Adobe Sensei, to analyze your image, and select the main subject.

    In more difficult images, you can manually select the main subject by using the Quick Selection Tool. Simply drag over the areas you would like to select. Photoshop will find the edges automatically.

  3. Refine the Selection

    No matter how you create your selection, you will need to fine-tune it. You can use the Quick Selection Tool, or the Brush Tool to add or subtract from the selection.

    With either tool, you can paint over the area you would like to deselect while holding Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS).

    The difference is that the Brush Tool will deselect only the areas you directly paint over. While the Quick Selection Tool will expand outward and automatically find and follow defined edges in the image.

  4. Refine the Mask Edge

    To remove a background in Photoshop and make it look realistic you need to have good mask edges.

    From the Global Refinement options, you can use the Smooth, Feather, Contrast, and Shift Edge sliders to improve your mask edge. These sliders will only affect the edges of the selection.

    Smooth: creates a smoother outline.
    Feather: Blurs the transition between the selection and the surrounding pixels.
    Contrast: Increases or decreases edge sharpness.
    Shift Edge: Moves soft-edged borders inward or outward.

  5. Output as a Layer Mask

    After you refine your selection, go to the “Output To” dropdown and select Layer Mask, then press OK.

  6. Add a New Background

    At this point, the background from your image should be gone!

    The next step is to change the background or add a Solid Color background.

Now that you know how to remove a background in Photoshop, try it with your own images!

To learn how to place a person in a different background, then make sure you check out my compositing secrets tutorial!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, make sure to follow PTC on YouTube! And tag us with the hashtag #PTCvids when you share your results on social media!

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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Carla Cafolla

thank you