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Alternative ways of removing backgrounds from graphics for elearning

Last week we discussed removing the white background from graphics to make props for your elearning courses using the magic wand. However, Photoshop has multiple ways of doing similar things, so here are some options that may work better for the kind of image you have.

Selecting by colour range

This method is very useful when your image has a lot of disconnected areas that you need removed, such as the background for this chain link fence.

Clicking on each of the white shapes in this image with the magic wand would take far too long. For this sort of image, click Select in the top menu and Color Range in the drop down.

This will give you a pop up menu showing which parts of your image will be selected (shown in white). You can change which colour of your image you’d like the selection to use by clicking on the original image with the eyedropper, or add or subtract colours from the selection by selecting the eyedropper + or – from the buttons on the right, under Save. The Fuzziness slider is similar to Tolerance with the Magic Wand, which will increase or decrease the range of colours selected.

Once you are satisfied that the selection is correct and encompasses all the parts of the image you want to make transparent, click OK. You can still modify the current selection further with the Magic Wand before deleting it.

Manual selection with the Lasso and Marquee tools

If you find an image with a prop you really like that is not on a contrasting background, you can also manually make selections with the Marquee and Lasso tools. The Marquee tool has a rectangular and elliptical setting, which will draw a selection in those shapes. The Lasso and polygonal Lasso tools are for drawing freehand shapes around your selection.

This image has dark shapes on a dark, gradient background, so it would be difficult to select with either Magic Wand or Color Range. However, you can simply draw two ellipses to encompass the bowl and plate, and then click Select > Inverse to make your selection of everything except the bowl and plate.

If you require finer detail, using the lasso tool can let you draw the border of your selection freehand, or the polygonal lasso can let you draw the border by drawing line segments around your object. I prefer the polygonal lasso tool as each click of the mouse creates the next point of a line segment, which creates a selection slowly and accurately. Using the freehand lasso tool requires you to hold the mouse button down for the duration in which you are trying to create the selection shape.

Keep watching this space or contact us today to talk about graphics for your elearning!


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