Photoshop Elements How to Remove Background – How to Make a Transparent Background

Photoshop Elements How to Remove Background – How to Make a Transparent Background

Hi I’m George Peirson and in this Photoshop Elements remove background video we’ll be taking out this grassy background back here we’re moving it out of the picture and that will allow us to come in and give this picture a different background just like that. That easy to do. Okay now if you enjoy this video make sure that you Subscribe to my channel and also click that Like button. If you want to learn everything about Photoshop Elements then take a look at my complete training and you’ll find a link for that in the description. Okay, let’s get to it. [Music] To remove and replace the background in the Photoshop Elements picture it’s really a pretty simple concept. What you need to do is to make a selection around your object and use that selection to create a layer mask which we see right up here. Once you have your a layer mask in place you can then use that to hide the background around your object and then put something else in behind which becomes your new background. Now the choice of what tool to use to make that selection is the real key to making quality selection if you have a hard edge I normally will go over here and I’ll use the polygonal lasso tool which is right down there if I have a softer edge like I have in here with some hair and so forth then I’ll usually come in and use the regular lasso tool to make a rough selection and then clean that selection up using the refine edge tool and that’s how we’ll take a look and fix this particular problem here okay let’s just get rid of this one get that out of the way there we go and here’s our basic dog picture so two basic steps first make a loose selection and then second clean that selection up using the refine edge tool so here’s the basic tool lasso tool and we’re working with a new selection here in this instance I have feathering set at zero because I’m using the refine edge anyway it’s going to be giving me a soft edge anyway so that doesn’t need to be set any higher than zero for this now you can zoom in when you’re doing this might be a bit easier let’s go to our zoom tool and this is zoom in a few clicks there we go and now I’ll use this tool start outside and let’s come along and stay in fairly close I don’t want to go into the dog at all but I want to be fairly close to the dog then when you compliment edge like this if you go up against it with this tool the picture will scroll but it’s better if you hold the spacebar down and then pull it picture let go to spacebar and then continue your selection just that so say there’s a little ways out don’t go up right up against the Doug will use will get that fine edge with the refine edge tool and again spacebar and pull the picture and then just kind of continue on around now this basic technique has uses in lots of pictures and you will see me use this in a lot of my videos it’s really kind of real basic thing that once you have this concept down it can really help you out in all kinds of other images notice right down here I cut into the dog a little bit right there let’s just fix that I want to add that to my selections to go here to add and also a little loop around that that adds that in okay that’s taken care of now let’s go up to our select and refine edge now right now I’m working in Photoshop Elements 15 if you’re in a different version you’re financially relatively similar in 14 and 13 if you don’t have refine edge then you have to retard way which is just using the regular or the polygonal lasso tool does make a lotta little points along the edge you can do it but it’s just a lot more work now when you’re in the refine edge you’ll be using this tool here this is the radius tool and I like using the overlay color option in here you also can hold the spacebar down you can see there could hold spacebar down and you can move the picture around with that spacebar while still keeping the tool now when I use this I’ll take this kind of crosshair that’s in that here’s the size of your brush leave this at 35 that’s the default and I’m going to go over right up against that edge right there that line is the line of my initial selection now if I come right down and hit the edge of the dog that’s fine if I don’t I’m not going to worry about it yet I’ll normally do a couple of passes on this as my first pass I’ll then see if I came down to the edge if I did great if I didn’t all just do a little bit of an additional push just like that okay hold the spacebar down one more time let’s just move the dog over here I’m going to put this a little further over there there we are any of the same thing I’m going right up against the edge of my initial selection and as you can see I probably coming right down against the edge of that dog anyway which is fine that’s what I want to be doing there we go let’s think for a minute okay so good ruff here so let’s come over this section easy to see here because I have that green coloured in behind something’s are real easy to see where it’s not quite matching like a little bit right in there and then this continue around and work it this way again going over that edge that I had and if I need to I can come back in a little bit closer and get the a to the dachshund really work out and work towards the dog on a couple of passes or work towards your subject that’s the best way to do this okay now I have that let’s go to our zoom tool here right here in the refine edge I’m going to zoom in a bit further and back to my tool and using the spacebar I’m just going to pull straight along and look for any little spots that have a bit of green in them on it as just kind of really clean up that edge we should be okay all right there’s a little bit right there there we go just a little touch up clean up on that edge again this is real easy this time because I have that sharp distinct color in the background now for the refine edge to work need to either have a sharp color difference or you need to have a sharp contrast difference in this case we had color which is absolutely perfect for us makes it real easy to do this now again if you don’t have a definite difference between your background and your foreground if they’re very very similar you’re going to have to use a lasso tool instead and again if you have this kind of first of them it’s a much much more difficult so hopefully have that distinction in there so you can do this oh I have some pictures where I just cannot do them can’t slip them anyway here inside of Photoshop illness matter what I try I’m tried a lot I’ll show you one of those in just a bit here let’s go back on the fit screen so there’s our selection there’s the overlay now if I change this to on black you can see that if I change this over here too on white we can see that there’s a little bit of stuff right down along here and kind of see that down there and right up in here so let’s zoom in and I’ll see if we can clean up that edge anymore just a little bit along there the first thing I’ll try here is to increase my contrast sometimes increasing contrast will clean that stuff out and actually it did there that kind of clean up that bit of a mess in there that’s fine looks good now if you get little spots like that just go ahead and hit them again with this tool it’ll look a little weird because we’re doing this on white background we’re seeing there that’s the picture in behind and then we see the mask effect when I let go okay so let’s have the spacebar held down again and I’m just double-checking my edges the reason you get a little bit of that color showing through there is because we’re actually seeing a little bit of that background through because what this does for this gives you a very very slight transparency in there we had the layer mask onto that that green effect will go away so just get a little transparency we’ll put something else in behind and it will look real nice okay so there you go you can do a little bit of cleanup down here normally I’ll just use the contrast a little bit more contrast tends to clean up the edges real nice okay once you have your edge done and you check that against your black looks fine and against your white looks fine and I’ll go back to my overlay there we go and come down here so it’s output and output – and you want to do can decontaminate colors in there that just helps a little bit on that edge and I want to go to a layer mask so here we have new layer with layer mask right there click on that one and choose ok and there it is so what that does is it keeps our original because this a new layer right here with our layer mask on then alright let’s now zoom out all fit on screen again there we go so the nice cleaned up dog picture there’s our transparency so we’ve removed that background in there from the dog let’s now put in a new background file and I have one hiding in here here it is Hayden Valley kind of pretty valley image I’ll just drag this in get rid of that and then I’ll pull the sides up to resize this just a bit such fits properly there we go and then I’ll drag it down underneath of my dog picture and there we go there’s the dog in a new background just that easy to do we’ve removed the background with the lasso tool and then the refine edge and then replaced it by putting another picture in behind the dog okay again real easy to do but it’s a great technique to really practice on and learn well because you’ll find a million uses for this in all kinds of projects let me show you one picture I mentioned you just really can’t fix here we go I have tried to mask this out numerous times I’ve tried it here I’ve tried it in Photoshop I have never had any luck on this because there’s just some weird stuff happening up here the hair is light over here the hair is dark in here the backgrounds dark in here the backgrounds less of the background and the foreground are different across the image there’s a lot of those little little fine stuff in here now if you go over to the professional Photoshop Adobe Photoshop program and you really play around channels and things there are ways of doing this kind of level of background removal but you just cannot do this in elements is this is beyond what elements can do so if you see something like this if you have a project like this picture like this and all you have is elements just put it aside figure you can’t do that it’s not going to work hopefully it has them a bit more contained edge like we have here with our dog and then it’s a fairly easy process as you saw to go ahead and remove that background and then replace it with something else so there you go that’s how you can use Photoshop Elements to remove a background thank you for watching my video I hope you found it useful if you like this video click on the like button below to let others know you can click the subscribe button so you don’t miss any of my videos in the future and frequently uploading new training videos don’t forget to check out my website at houck aguru Zeng com


  • MrGrunthunter's Adventures says:

    George, Just curious, on the very difficult photo of the girl with the pink hair on a 'solid' color background … couldn't you treat that like a chromakey/green screen technique?

  • Peter Head says:

    Again you make it all look so easy, George. And yes, replacing the background is straightforward enough. However, with me it's always the lasso tool – polygonal or otherwise – combined with the refine edge that I continue to have problems with. Maybe, just maybe I'll get there eventually, but at the moment it is a source of irritating frustration!

  • MrMoonpie001 says:

    George, great video on a tool I hesitate to use. Never had much luck with refined edge until this week. I think the main issue is I was trying to make it work on some very complicated selections. For me, I do a lot of landscape and the problem is usually trying to change the sky or more often when I am trying to work several parts of different photos together. The toughest selection I face would involve getting around all those leaves on many different trees so the new sunlight or new sky can show through. I would compare this to your issue with the hair in the photo of the lady. I did stumble onto a technique that does give me some success getting around the leaves. What I do is make my refine edge tool very large like 350 px and then try making a selection that covers a much of the stuff I want to select as well as some of the outside area. What happens is as the parameters of my area get larger the distinction seems to get more obvious to the refined edge tool. I then clean up any missed areas with a slightly smaller brush 200 px or 100 px.  I don't know if this would be good enough to meet your standard but I was surprised at how far I got by doing this. Another idea would be to make the selected photo into a black in white and kick up the contrast, copy and move the layer mask up to the original or copy of the original in full color and garbage can the black and white layer.

    Some food for thought. Still, in the experimental stage with this tool, it is amazing when it works well.

    Thank you, George


  • emma lissette alvarado vasquez says:

    thanks máster

  • teaky3 says:

    Another Fantastic Video George Thanks

  • Suzi J. Owen says:

    My question how do you pull in the background, my backgrounds are loaded to a texture file to find them, however it comes in as a separate file…hope you understand . Is it something with tiles?

  • DrinkingStar says:

    Hi George. I picked up a little better understanding about the refine edge tool from this tutorial. Thanks. And thanks for letting us with PSE know there are certain situations where the refine edge tool will not work, even for a skilled master of PSE like you.

    After watching many of your tutorials with the lasso tool and after watching InfoPuppet's tutorial using the magnetic lasso tool, I was wondering if you could do a tutorial when it is best to use the regular lasso tool, the magnetic lasso tool and the polygonal lasso tool. I have seen you use the regular and polygonal lasso tools but never the magnetic lasso tool. Are there any situations you would use the magnetic lasso tool?

  • CarolAnnsArt says:

    Very useful. Thanks.

  • John Chubb says:

    Great video for more practice, George! My refine edge tool is working much better with your videos and technique. Thanks!

  • Eileen Little says:

    It is a great video. Thanks

  • Hongs says:

    Really helpful!

  • Jackie Connell says:

    Another Fantastic Video George cheers

  • Jackie Cristini says:

    Thank God I discovered you!!!

  • Mov-it Tire Products says:

    Really, really helpful, thank you! I am working on a project with products, what is the technique if you do not want a back ground at all just the image, jpeg? I have Photoshop elements 13 🙂
    Thank you in advance!!!!

  • Tasa Silak says:

    Really helpful video, thanks.. I've search for this long time.. I just have a quas. when i did al this .. how can i move this element that i just remove in other corner or somewhere else?
    Thanks, Taša

  • Gordon Williams says:

    The video is AOK. How do you bring the background on to the screen? I just don't get it.

  • Patricia Berry says:

    Thank you so much ! I should of watched your video along time ago ! It's Fantastic !

  • Phil T says:

    Very useful. I have been looking for some time to find a tutorial that explains removing backgrounds. Nothing has come close to your tutorial, many thanks.

  • Immortal Natives says:

    When I go to "recently edited file" it doesn't open like how it does here at 9:45.

    How can get that to happen for me??

  • Bob Herkes says:

    Excellent! Mahalo!

  • Lisa Lisa says:

    Nice! Thank you!

  • lupita king says:

    Thank you ! First time trying changing background and I am really happy 😊!

  • MIlw55 says:

    When I want to add my background, it opens up in a whole new layer. It doesn't stay on the layer you are working in like yours did. What am I doing wrong?

  • Laurie Lane says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to try it.

  • Mike Jenner says:

    Great, thanks a lot!

  • Reading with Miss Gretchen says:

    Thank you…very hepful!!!

  • Gene Cordoni says:

    A very good lesson to introduce us to background removal…thank you very much.  Very informative.

  • Adventures of Riley Madison says:

    This was very helpful. Now I just have to work on technique.

  • Amanda Mancini says:

    can someone direct me to a video where i can remove part of a photo and replace it with another image — ie a face or changing the reflection of a mirror (if i take a picture of a mirror then iam in the picture…how do i cut the reflection out and replace it with something else.)

  • jbschammel1 says:

    Two things I noted that you need to remind people: 1. When you are using the lasso and you want to move the picture up, You need to remind people to hold down the mouse button. If you don't, you have to start all over again. 2. You need to tell us how you got that green color around the dog. Thank you.

  • Robert Neil says:

    Great video! I have run into one issue I can't seem to figure out (I'm a newbie!) When I open the photo I want to use as my new background, It opens as a whole new tab, which prevents me from dragging the new background in. I'm assuming there is a siple setting in Photoshop that I am missing? Any help is greatly appreciated!

  • Ti Ko says:

    when I upload the background image a new tab opens and I cant move it to the picture… please help

  • Sandra Dickinson says:

    I find your tutorials very thorough and helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise. Of all the tutorials I have been watching, yours are the best.

  • Mary Walsh says:

    Why does the book Dummies for Photoshop Elements 14 not work together with Photoshop Elements 14 software ? I can’t remove an object from the picture using the lasoo , with healing brush and content aware tool. It just does not wotk!!! Frustrating.

  • James Blondin says:

    Was with you until I pulled in another image. Could not drag it into the original, edited image. Said source was same. Also, my image had no header to drag to the layers column. It did populate that column and said background but would not let me drag that layer. What am I not doing?

  • Debra Reynolds says:

    Gosh George you make that look so easy… I have a dog that has wild hair when she was pup and I have tried numerous times to do the refine edge and I just can't get it… I'll take your suggestion and keep on practicing. Thanks for another cool video.

  • Toni MacPherson says:

    thank you, you are so easy to follow

  • Katt says:

    But what if you don't have a recent picture to put in the background then what option do you choose LOL

  • Young Chin says:

    how do i add the background if i don't have one ready to go from recent like you did….

  • Tracy D says:

    Hi George, if not replacing background can the picture be saved just with the transparent background? Thank you for the video

  • Jenny Vithoulkas says:

    How do I get the green background color while cutting and refining the edges?

  • Richard Taee says:

    Great video thank you. I have same issue as SJ Owen and also, when I place my edited image over another image in 'pages' it has a grey edge around which doesn't look great.

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    how would I take my image after i remove the background and paste it on a tshirt

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    Thanks one more question when I add the picture to the shirt it says the dpi is too low how high should it be and do you have a video to raise it?

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    So I did what you said but it’s still not working. Do you take phone calls

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    I figured it out. Tee springs has their own dpi which means they only allow me to get the picture so big

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    I figured out thanks! Do you have a video for silloutes?

  • Andrea Kelley says:

    When I save a png document should I save it as interlace or none?

  • Andrea Kelley says:


  • Lorraine Hepburn says:

    FINALLY someone has explained this properly. You have just saved me many, many hours of trying to delete backgrounds with the eraser tool. Thank you.

  • Lisette Vial says:

    Hi George, after watching your videos I decided to buy the Photoshop Elements 2018. I had been hesitating between the subscription to Photoshop CC and the purchase of Elements. Your explanations are so clear, you make Elements so easy to learn that I decided to buy the Elements and avoid the hassle of subscriptions (so many negative comments on internet that make you doubt). I installed the program and started practicing (the dog background) right away. However, is there a way of making the fonts in the menus a bit bigger? The menus, the fonts, everything is so tiny!. Can you help please? Thanks!

  • Days of Glory forever says:

    Excellent explanation. Thank"s 'George

  • Tim Turner says:

    Wow, using 14 I was unable to use this…. really messed up her hair. Just could not figure it out.

  • Brandom Castor says:

    Bootleg photoshop

  • Big Chunky says:

    Cheers George.
    Is this the same principle for removing the background of text that you created in photoshop elements? Do you have a tutorial based on removing the background from text?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Quran Playground says:

    I really wish you could shorten this up, talk less and should show the process. I appreciate your video, but when in the middle of problem solving an issue – very difficult to listen to 12+min video than could have been 2-3 mins.

  • Robert Binnie says:

    replaced new backround way too fast. Cannot get mine to enter in layers. bummer

  • Helen Roussel says:

    Hi, very informative and have learnt a lot! However, the refine edge tool does not eliminate – it leaves part of it still there no matter how many times I go over it. The settings are the same as in your demo – any suggestions? Thank you

  • Jakkie Botha says:

    George, great video I have just acquired the product and followed your instructions to the T. The problem that I have is that when I selected the "Refine Edge" /view option / Overlay my photo color has now changed to total red! Why would this be and how do I fix this? I cannot attach a screenshot else I would have shown you what it did!

  • Chidambara Krishnan says:

    CWhen i open an image it becomes a seperate one. Unable to import as a layer in the existing file

  • Lencho Bully says:

    Do you have a to Tutorial on color separation layering like you would use for silkscreening

  • Charles Randolph says:

    I have PhotoShop Elements 10 not sure how to do the refine edge. I'm not able to refine it like you did… Help!

  • Catina Weaver says:

    When I move my background layer over to my dog it wont let me move it around what am I doing wrong???

  • Bailey Helliwell says:

    When I go to put in the new picture it everything disapears and I can't figure out how to get the picture there like you did

  • Bailey Helliwell says:

    ya how do you do that i literally can not figure it out it goes right into the new picture i made and I don't understand what you are saying to other people

  • Khawa Jong says:

    thanks. but how you save after all done?

  • David Robert Bliwas says:

    I just want to thank you for taking the time to make this video …. so helpful to me …. and just wanted to add my note of gratitude and send all my best wishes for you in the new year ….

  • Miss Kikay says:


  • Tim G says:

    Finally! Someone I can follow…..

  • Vallerie W says:

    Omg ok I’m clearly doing something wrong. I have Photoshop Elements 2019 but thought I might still be able to get the general idea. First my left side tools do not even look like this, but I looked around until I found something that said “replace background.” I selected that, outlined my item, selected Black- and then it changed my ITEM to black instead of the background. I just give up!!🤣😂
    I’d give anything for written step by step instructions and I cannot seem to find any anywhere lol

  • Chad Mcghee says:

    is there a way to turn off XMP Files in Photoshop elements 15? they pop up every time i edit a raw file. and i have to Delete those every time & it takes time to do that especially when i am editing tons of photos at one time. if there is a way to turn off those stupid XMP Files please Explain how that is done. it is Driving me NUTS!!!!!!!

  • thefisherman6000 says:

    George. I’m thinking of buying Photoshop Element (not Premier). Can I do this with that software or I have to get Premier? Thanks

  • Jim Baker says:

    Excellent video. A really clear explanation. Thanks. 🙂

  • puddy007 says:

    George, Great tutorial on using the refine edge tool. It's a real game changer when making selections. I have a question which is unrelated to this tutorial, but perhaps you may have a tutorial in your playlist that I couldn't seem to find. It's related to the image of the dog; more specifically the green under the dog's chin. I have several dog images with the same exact green tone under the dog's chin. Is this what is known as a color cast? If so, do you have a tutorial how to remove a color cast? If not, perhaps that could be a subject for a future tutorial.


  • How To Gurus says:

    More Great Photoshop Elements videos

  • Ted Strand says:

    This was a great tutorial! Well spoken and easy to understand!…….thanks!!!

  • Tracey Soles says:

    I am having issues with refine edge part of the procedure, the entire image is orange, not just the back ground.. i have tried on JPG and PDF files. Please advise what i am doing wrong,

  • pongo5678 says:

    So Great!!!

  • भरद्वाज वर्मा says:

    thank you

  • mrkingofmetal says:

    Is this for all the Photoshop elements programs?

  • Comment54 says:

    Very clear. I hope that little beagle stays away from the wildlife in the valley? (I have a very similar picture– Yellowstone is amazing, but so dangerous). Wonderful explanation, and I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for taking it step by step.

    EDIT: I just got it working (honestly, a perfect match). I am stunned at how nice it looks on my pictures. I had to do it a couple of times to get the hang of the refined edge tool. Thanks, this is a huge step forward in making my pictures look better.

  • Chad Mcghee says:

    George i am not sure why but i cannot add a new background to a Transparent picture. i go to file then open recently edited file. the file does come in but it doesn't pop up in a window its just another file opened right next to my Transparent picture and i cannot add the background no matter what i do. can you please help me out here? What am i doing wrong?

  • Kelley Stinson says:

    How do you do this with a gap in the legs or arms?

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