So you have a lovely photo of your kids or dogs and want to have some fun removing the background and adding a different background? Or maybe you just want to remove the background from an image in order to use it on a website or digital document?
There are many ways to remove backgrounds from images, and they will all give you different results. Your best bet is to try several different methods on your image and see which one gives the best results.
In this post, I will write about three methods: using PowerPoint, using the ClippingMagic website, and using an app on an Android or iOS phone called Background Eraser.
Remove background using PowerPoint
For desktop users with PowerPoint installed, you can remove the background very easily and fine tune which parts you want to keep or remove. To get started, open PowerPoint, click Insert and then Pictures.
Select your image and click the “Insert” button. After your image is loaded onto the slide, click it to open the Image Tools ribbon. In the far left corner, you will see the Remove Background button.
When you click on this button, it will automatically try to detect the background and highlight it in purple. This is usually not ideal, and you will see parts of what you want highlighted in purple and vice versa.
In my example, PowerPoint misread one dog’s face and all three noses! You can easily fix this by clicking the Mark Areas to Save button in the upper left corner. Then you just click and drag from one location to another that you want to save.
When you let go, it will automatically detect which part to leave. This may end up adding purple to another part of the image, but you can just draw another line to fix it. Here you can see that I had to draw a couple of lines to get only the dogs.
The Mark Areas For Deletion button works the same way, except that it marks areas in purple that you want to delete. When you are satisfied with your editing, click the “Save Changes” button.
The background should disappear and you’re done! At this point, you can right-click the image and select “Save as Image”. To preserve transparency, make sure you save the file as PNG or GIF. The JPEG format does not support transparency.
You can also add a new background to PowerPoint by inserting a new image and then right-clicking the original image and choosing Bring to Front.
I pasted in with the clouds and then brought the dog to the front. When you remove the background using PowerPoint, it automatically makes the removed part transparent, so you don’t have to manually make the background transparent.
When you remove the background, you can see some background around the edges of the main object. This is really tricky to remove in some images, but there is a nice trick that makes the cutout look much better in PowerPoint.
Right-click the image and choose Format Image. Now expand the Soft Edges and increase the size a couple of points. Below you can see how much better the image of the dogs looks than the original above. Any remnants of the background will be removed when you soften the edges.
Remove background with Clipping Magic
If you don’t have PowerPoint installed, you can try ClippingMagic‘s website, which does the same. Drag the image into the box or click Upload Image.
Now all you have to do is paint green and red areas on the image. Click on the green plus sign and draw inside the part of the image you want to keep. Then click on the red minus sign and draw just outside the section you want to keep. A yellow line will automatically appear around the main object.
On the right side, you will immediately see a preview of the image. If you are not satisfied with this, you can click the “Clear” button and start over. You can also adjust the brush size if you think it’s too big by clicking the Brush button at the bottom. If you need to erase green or red lines, press the Eraser button.
Overall, it works very well and is very easy to use. Alternatively, you can click the Edges button and add anti-aliasing and feathering effects to get rid of any leftover background. If you are dealing with hair, you know it might seem impossible to get rid of the background between hundreds of hairs, but you can click the Hair button and read the instructions on how to fix the problem.
The only downside to this site is that you have to pay to download a copy of your image. Not only that, they require you to sign up for a monthly plan instead of a one-time payment, which I wouldn’t mind paying if it was something really cheap.
So, here’s what I suggest you do. Click on the Background at the bottom and choose white. Now just take a screenshot of your image and save it to your computer. Now you can use a tool like PowerPoint to make the white background transparent. This is not the best solution, but it is better than a subscription if you just need to remove the background in one image.
Remove background using background eraser
If you are currently taking most of your photos with your smartphone, it will probably be easier to just download an app to help you remove the background. Here are the ones I suggest for iOS and Android:
After installing iOS app, Background Eraser will display a blank screen as shown below.
Click on the small icon in the upper left corner that shows a mountain. It will ask you for permission to access your photos. When you agree, select an image from your camera roll.
Once your image is loaded, you will see the buttons at the bottom become active. You can crop and adjust colors, etc. if you like. In our case, we want to click on “Erase”.
The erasing tools will appear at the bottom. By default, Erase is selected, and if you start moving your hand over the image, it will start to erase. Several points should be noted. First, the maximum width is set and you can adjust it with the slider.
Also, there is offset so that when you move your finger across the screen, the erasure will be offset from your finger so you can actually see what you are erasing. You can also adjust this offset using the slider.
Then Restore will do the opposite Erase and return whatever part of the image you move your finger to. TargetArea is really handy and allows you to simply click on an area with a similar background and automatically remove it. This is good for solid color sections.
TargetColor will allow you to pick one color in an image and erase it anywhere else in the image. Finally, Reverse inverts the selection.
Using a combination of tools, you can remove exactly the parts of the image that you need. Note that you can also pinch to enlarge, which makes it easy to get rid of hard-to-reach parts. Finally, when you’re done, click on the “Done” link and then click on the arrow in the upper right corner.
You can now save the image to your camera roll, email it, or share it on social media. You can also choose from various sizes and choose between PNG and JPEG.
Hopefully you now have all the tools you need to easily remove the background from an image! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment. Enjoy!