Background removal is an activity that has confounded both
film photographers for years.
Occasionally its a simple task but
most of the time its very complex and the level of difficulty increases
directly proportional to how much you want to successfully separate an
item from the background.
The folks at Adobe have recognized the propensity of Photoshop
Elements users to do some background removal so they've included three
methods in Elements to complete this specific task.
When you visit the Elements Help file for guidance with any one of the
three techniques you will soon learn how easy, how fast and how
stunningly effective these methods are.
However when you actually try them with one of your images it soon
becomes apparent that theory (what it says in the Help File) is often
different from practice (the technique with an image) - which can lead
to an enormous amount of frustration.
where I come in - follow along with the three different techniques so
you will know and understand their limitations, shortcomings and
The Three Techniques
The three background removal techniques in Photoshop Elements are ...
In truth, any of the selection methods that allows you to isolate items
will work and that really covers all of the selection methods. My
personal favorite has always been the Selection Brush Tool that was
covered in another tutorial however you may just find that one of these
three will work perfectly for you.
following three techniques require some input from you and then you
hand it over to Photoshop Elements to do the rest. Now I don't
know about you but I always figure that I'll make better decisions than
a computer program especially in this situation.
The Magic Eraser Tool changes
all similar pixels when you drag within a
photo. If you're working in a layer with locked transparency, the
pixels change to the background color; otherwise, the pixels are erased
to transparency. You can choose to erase contiguous pixels only,
or all similar pixels on the current layer.
can think of the Magic Eraser as the Magic Wand of erasers. This
tool works best with an image that has a lot of contrast between the
background and the object you wish to isolate.
Click the airplane to learn more about the Magic Eraser.
The Background Eraser Tool
turns color pixels to transparent pixels so
that you can easily remove an object from its background. With
careful use, you can maintain the edges of the foreground object while
eliminating background fringe pixels.
This technique also requires a reasonable amount of contrast between
the parts being removed and the parts being kept.
Click the Escalade to learn about the Background Eraser.
The Magic Extractor makes it
easy to select people or objects so that
you can superimpose them on other backgrounds. For example, you
can remove yourself from a photo of you on your bicycle at home, and
superimpose it anyhwere you want it to be. You
can also save the extracted image as a file that you can use again and again.
Click the thumbnail for more information
Just So You Know
After evaluating the three different methods of background removal I've
come to the conclusion that the best method to use, if there is any
challenge whatsoever in your image, is not any one of them!
If you want to isolate something from its background then the best method with Photoshop Elements is the Selection Brush Tool!
But what the heck - check these three out and confirm what I've said for yourself.