How to remove the background of an image in Photoshop using 2 different methods

Daniel Constante/ShutterstockDepending on which Photoshop version you have, there are a few simple ways to remove the background of an image.


Do you ever wonder what your fluffy Akita might look like in its natural wintry habitat? Or perhaps, what your cuddly black cat might look like in an unnatural, hostile habitat, like the endzone of an NFL stadium?

While we didn’t need Photoshop to envision the latter this football season, in general, Photoshop is your go-to tool to make what’s usually only imaginable a reality, or as real as a picture, at least.

Removing a background in Photoshop paves the way for some of the most fun uses of the application.

And while there are more complex, time-consuming ways to rid your subject of its boring background, there’s an easy method you can go about with the Quick Selection Tool in Adobe Photoshop CC 2020.

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How to remove a background in Photoshop

1. Start the Photoshop app on your Mac or PC. Pull up the image you’d like to remove the background from by clicking “File,” and then “Open…” from the top menu.

2. Next, it’s time to wield the Quick Selection Tool. The icon, a solid rectangle surrounded by a dotted line, is found on the left side toolbar by right-clicking the Object Selection Tool and clicking the third icon.

How to remove background in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderThe Quick Selection tool isn’t the only way to go about isolating subjects in Photoshop, but it is definitely one of the easier ways.

3. Click piece by piece until you have surrounded the image that you want to remain in the foreground, or the part of the image that will remain after the background has been removed. You can also tap “Select Subject” in the upper “Options” menu bar.

How to remove background in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderI’m foregoing the ‘Select Subject’ button for the purposes of practice, but in all honesty, it’s a very good if not equally effective way to lasso the desired subject matter.

4. Zoom in to fix any imperfections around your subject. You can also do this in “Quick Mask” mode.

5. When you’re happy with the image that you want to isolate from the background, right click your outlined subject and click “Layer Via Copy.”

How to remove background in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderRight click and select ‘Layer Via Copy’ from the menu.

6. Tap the eyeball icon in the “Layers” panel next to “Layer 0,” as it will be called by default to make the background disappear, in the menu on the right side of your screen.

Alternatively, here’s an easier way to remove the background, if you don’t need near-perfect margins on your subject

1. Open your image.

2. Create a new layer in the right side “Layers” panel. Deselect “Layer 1,” and select the “Background” layer, with your photo as the icon image, under “Layers.”

How to remove background in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderCreate a new layer.

3. With that layer selected, you will now see the option “Remove Background” under the “Quick Actions” panel. Click it.

4. You may need to tap the double arrows to “Expand Panels” in order to see “Quick Actions” if you’re on a smaller screen.

How to remove background in PhotoshopEmma Witman/Business InsiderMy dog subject Roo here is now free to roam Mars, Yankee Stadium, or any other background in the Public Domain that I can slap behind her without infringing on copyright laws.

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