EXTREME NooB Photoshop question

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Bubbasteve, Mar 29, 2006.

  1. Bubbasteve macrumors 65816


    Dec 23, 2004
    Charleston, IL
    I'm very sorry to ask this (well actually I'm not since I would like to know) but how do you make pictures with a white background transparent so it's just the main object being displayed, say in a keynote?

    For example, I'm doing a keynote for a speech intending to persuade my class to purchase a Mac. In some of the slides I have pictures of different Apple Computers. The problem is is that my picture is of the iMac and there is a white background to it... my goal is to make the white transparent so only the iMac will be displayed on my slide.

    Thanks in advance
  2. UKnjb macrumors 6502a


    May 23, 2005
    London, UK
    If I read it correctly, open Photoshop, go to File > New.
    In the panel that appears, go to the Background Contents at the bottom of the panel and select Transparent.

    View attachment 44026

    Click OK and you will get your canvas that appears as a panel of grey squares.
    Open up the picture of your Mac, select it, copy it and move to your new transparent canvas. Paste it in there.
    hey Presto!
    And if this is NOT what you wanted to do - sorry for wasting your time!
    Good luck/
  3. pknz macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2005
    I think he means saving the file with a transparent background.

    If that is what he means, if the picture is basic enough you could save it as a .gif (but the quality of .gif is pretty low). Or if you can use .psd files in whatever you want to use the pics in you .psd should keep a transparent background.

    If you can't do either of those you might need to change the background of the pic to whatever the rest of the background is.
  4. fradac macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    ok so to do what i think you need open up the image in photoshop (of the imac for instance). and then use the magic wand to select all the white space. if there are other things like shadows etc you want to get rid of, hold onto shift and select that too with the magic wand

    you basically want to finally have everything selected EXCEPT the imac

    now from the Select Drop down, click on Inverse.

    now only the imac will be selected. Copy it and now goto file and create a new file.

    like UKnjb said, make sure it says Transparent for the background. also select "Clipboard" in the Preset (this way the new file will just be big enough for the imac you have selected and coppied).

    now it will creat the new image. simply paste the imac.

    Now the trick to keep the transparency when you save is. you have to use a file format that supports transparent background. jpg DO NOT support it. so use PNG or GIF, whichever one you like.

    thats it :) all should be good
  5. mac.FINN macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2006
    The major problem with the magic wand tool in this case is that the imac is probably white too. So any attempt to select everything but - will be difficult.

    You may want to clarify exactly what you want because it seems to be getting confused.

    For my understanding, which is - you have an image off the web with a white background, which you don't want. So you have a couple of options.

    If you're any good with the pen tool, draw a path around the exact area of the image you want, make a selection, copy and paste into a new transparent canvas. Save as a .png. Done

    A slightly safer way to go (especially if you're all thumbs with the pen) is to create a new transparent document, place your image into it and apply a clipping mask to the image. In the mask carefully erase all the parts of the image you don't want (use a mask because if you screw up, you can just repaint the original back in). Save as a .png. Done.

    Have fun, what you're trying to do isn't an easy button push - and can be frustrating if you're a noob (as you say) to get a really clean edge. :D
  6. fradac macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2003
    Atlanta, GA

    you can use one of the Lasso tools , i particularly like the Magnetic Lasso tool. it finds most sharp edges by itself.
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Another trick, when using any of these techniques, is to use the "feather" option on your selection tool of choice. This will create a softer edge. Something like 3 to 5 pixels usually does the trick.
  8. stevep macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2004
    Not sure if your presentation software supports transparency, but if it doesn't you could place the cut-out image on a plain coloured background, and use that same colour for the background of your slide - this is sometimes a good way of avoiding or disguising those annoying fringe pixels you can sometimes get when doing cut-outs.
    And, I would use the pen tool to trace a path around the iMac image and then convert it to a selection - much more control as you can adjust the position of the nodes to get an exact fit.
    Or, when you've made your selection in any way you're happy with, go into quickmask mode and use a small brush or the eraser tool to do the little adjustments. (there's always more than one way to skin a cat in Photoshop).
  9. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    feathering 3-5px is gonna make edges WAY too soft.

    I feather people at .8

    pen tool + clipping path = best results. Magic want and magnetic lasso are teh suck. You spend twice as long ***** with the tolerence to make it just right.
  10. MacBoobsPro macrumors 603


    Jan 10, 2006
    Highlight the edge of the computer using what ever method you like. Then press 'Apple + Shift + i' (to invert the selection) then press 'Apple + X' to cut away the background.

    You should now see the computer on a background of grey squares. Save as a PNG and it should work.

    That is one of many ways (probably the easiest too).
  11. DavidFDM macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maine, USA
    The cleanest method is to create a clipping path using the bezier curves. Go to the path palette, create new path. Use the Pen tool to draw a line around the object. I usually cut into the object by a half pixel or so. Don't worry about being exact; you can go back a modify the control points (like in Illustrator). Once you have the path drawn, you can make a selection with it. Invert the selection and clear out the background. This is the best method with anything that has a hard edge. Things like hair are a bit trickier.


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