How to remove a background in Adobe Photoshop.

When you want to cut an object out from a scene during photo editing, let AI powered by Adobe Sensei lend a hand, or go manual with background removal adjustments.  

Two similar photos next to each other: One of a person sticking their head out of a van and one of the same photo but with the background removed

Remove a background with help from AI.

Sometimes you need to cut out the original background of a photo and replace it with something else. For example, product photos and professional headshots often put their subjects in front of a solid color or white background, which is easy enough when working in a photography studio. But if you don’t have a physical solid background on hand, you can use a few different methods in Photoshop to remove the background of an image and replace it with a new one that suits your needs.

     

Once you’ve detected, selected, and removed the background of an image, you still have to double-check the edges to make sure everything works. This is especially true around complex edges, like animal fur or human hair. Fortunately, tools powered by Adobe Sensei, like the Refine Edge Brush tool, can also help you better blend the subject with its new background.

An image of a plant in a pot with the Adobe Photoshop Remove Background Quick Action panel box superimposed over it

How Adobe Sensei helps detect subjects.

Unlock the layer, choose Quick Actions from the Properties panel, and select the Remove Background button. Powered by Adobe Sensei, this tool will detect the subject and create a transparent background.

An image of a person with the background removed behind them and the Adobe Photoshop Brush panel superimposed over it

Clean up edges with black and white brushes.     

After you remove the background, some small bits of background can remain on the edges of a subject. Use the Brush tool to polish the mask. Select the subject and use the white brush to reveal and the black brush to conceal any unwanted pixels.

lmprove an object’s borders with the Refine Edge Brush tool.

The Refine Edge Brush tool is purpose-built to fine-tune edges. Simply move the brush over an edge, and it will integrate that surface with the background.

An image of two people in front of a newly added background and the Adobe Photoshop Layers panel superimposed over it

Check layers and examine the subject.

Go through your Layers panel and check that the foreground, background, and subjects are all to your liking.

Remove a background manually.

You can also manually select and delete a background in Photoshop for when you want to exercise precise control over how you remove a background, or only a part of it.

An image of a grapefruit on a table being selected in Adobe Photoshop using the Object Selection tool

Object Selection tool     

The Object Selection tool is the most fundamental way to manually select elements of an image with a cursor. Simply click and drag around the element you wish to select and cut out of the image with some AI assistance.

An image of a person being selected in front of a colorful background using the Adobe Photoshop Magic Wand tool

Magic Wand tool     

The Magic Wand allows you to quickly select a solid-color background. Click on a pixel, and it selects all pixels of that color. From there you can quickly select a new background color.

An image of a flower being selected using the Adobe Photoshop Lasso tool

Lasso mode     

The Lasso mode of the Object Selection tool finds the edges of an object and makes a selection. It also gives you more control over the exact shape of a selection.

An image of a flower being selected using the Adobe Photoshop Pen tool

Pen tool     

The Pen tool uses vectors to contain a subject. It can create a scalable vector mask to fit over subjects of varying sizes, which makes it easier to resize a subject over a new background.

Explore more on how to make subjects stand out.

Photoshop offers myriad ways to manipulate backgrounds, bring elements to the foreground, and make images more amazing. Explore these Photoshop tutorials to fine-tune how to delete unwanted visual elements and clean up edges. 

Understand backgrounds better.     

Explore the difference between a background in an image and a background layer in Photoshop.

     

Learn more

Eliminate elements with the Eraser tool.     

Learn how to erase any element of an image — background, foreground, or subject.

     

Learn more

Create and modify brush tools.     

Discover how to build the best brush for cleaning up edges as well as how to modify brush size.

     

Learn more

Discover more about painting tools, presets, and options.

Explore how brushes, pencils, and other tools can make image selections look their best.

     

Learn more  

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