5 Steps to Make a White Background Transparent in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll show you how you can make a white background transparent in Photoshop. Making a white background transparent in Photoshop is same as deleting or removing a background. But having a white background in the image has lot more advantages than any color because you can see the every minor detail of the subject that will help us understand to which parts we needed or not.

The White background also makes the selection process so easy and you can make even complex selections like selecting hair, extracting tree leaves and much more. Let’s dive in to find out more.

Step 1

Open up the photo in Photoshop. You can open a photo by selecting File > Open then choose the image which you would like to open. You can use any image for this tutorial like either yours or may be any others but I’m using this one which has the pure white background.

Here is the image opened in Photoshop:

white-background-tansparent-1

Step 2

Press CTRL + J to duplicate the background layer or right-click on the background layer choose ‘duplicate layer.’ We are duplicating the background layer because in Photoshop background layer has no transparency and also, duplicating the layer will not harm your original image. Now you’ll have two layer background copy and background (see the below image). Just delete the background layer as we don’t need that.

white-background-transparent-2

Step 3

Now it’s time for selecting the background. You can use the Eraser Tool (E), Magic Wand, Quick Selection Tool (W) or may be Polygon Lasso Tool and Pen Tool (P) for selecting the background. The quickest way to that is to use the Magic Want Tool (W). You can also use other tools as well so activate any of the selection tool and select the white background.

Activate the Magic Want Tool (W). Then simply click on the background to select it and it will select the background. Here you can see the marching ants showing that we’ve selected the background.

white-background-transparent-3

Since we all know that Magic Wand Tool (W) works on the color sample so sometimes if your subject has white or near to white color (like you see the man has the gray color jacket) then it can select that part as well. The reason is simple because the gray color is near to White color.

Here you can see we’ve man parts selected as well:

white-background-transparent-3a

You can fix this issue and for that, you need to minus the selection. Just hold the ALT key and click on the area where you want to minus the selection. Here you can see the results after correcting selection:

white-background-transparent-3b

Step 4

Now the selection is active you can delete the background to make it transparent. There are three ways to do that, first, you can use the Eraser Tool (E) and use it over the selected area to erase the background. Second, you can simply press the Delete button to delete the background.

Third, which is very safe compared to first two ways, is to use the layer mask. With the layer mask, you can easily go back whenever if you want some parts visible again or maybe you made a mistake during selection. So we’ll go with the third one, let’s remove the background. While the selection is active, click the second button at the bottom of layer panel to add a Layer Mask.

Here are the results with clean and neat transparent background.

white-background-transparent-4

If you think that you made some mistake or by mistake you got those parts deleted that you don’t want then don’t worry layer mask will take of that. All you need is to select the layer mask, paint over the area with the white brush which you would like to back visible again.

Sometimes when using the quickest method we got some hard edges visible around the subject which we don’t want. To soften them, you can manually mask those areas by painting over the layer mask with a soft round black brush. That really makes the results decent and I use the mask every time to clean up the unwanted edges or parts.

Step 5

Now you’ll have the image with the transparent background if you are satisfied with the results. But our work has not finished yet we need the preserve the transparent background while saving the image. First, save the file in PSD format to do that, go to File > Save and choose the PSD Format. Once you save the file it becomes easier to use the image in plenty of ways Moreover you can edit it further as well.

Here you can see I saved the file as PSD:

white-background-transparent-5

Go to File > Save For Web and a below shown dialog box will appear. Please don’t save the image as jpeg otherwise you’ll have the white background again in the image. Under the preset box select the PNG 8 to save the file in PNG format. You can also go for PNG 24. You can also save the image by selecting File > Save As then simply choose the PNG format but why I’m using the Save For Web?

In below image you can also notice many options like you can set the resolution of the image, you can reduce the quality, blur the image, or even you can preview the image in different color profile settings. All these setting are only available for Save For Web command not on Save As. That why I choose this options to save the image whenever I want to save any final results.

white-background-transparent-5a

Once you set the image quality, resolution or maybe you don’t want to do anything with image settings then just click on the save button. Give any name to image and save the file as PNG.

Let see the image:

white-background-transparent-5b

Very decent results and clear transparent background.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and let me know if you need any help I would love to help you. If you like the tutorial then do share into the world. Don’t forget to give a try to the tutorial and have a great Photoshopping Day!!

Bunty Pundir

Bunty Pundir is the founder of PSD Stack. He loves writing Photoshop tutorials and sharing knowledge with others. Follow him on Behance, Twitter and Google+

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