Stock photo Web sites (or any other Web sites that allow downloading high-quality pictures) list thousands of photos that include a single object on a white background. These can be pretty much anything—fruits, vegetables, hands, legs, lamps, tools, cookies, trees, cars, etc. Usually these photos are intended for image editing needs such as complex compositions, ads, and any other pictures that may include either a single object or more than one. But before using such objects in your composition, you want to remove that annoying white background. In this tutorial we will look at the quickest way to remove unwanted background of any color.
Please note that by “the quickest way” we really mean the quickest, not the most precise way (which is the theme for the next Pixelmator tutorial) of removing unwanted backgrounds. This technique might not work with complex backgrounds or blurry objects.
Anyway, let’s get started.
Open an image with the object for which you would like to remove the background.
To demonstrate this, I went to www.istockphoto.com, typed “single object” into the search field, and found a red satin bow that I am sure will be useful for some of my compositions in the future.
Select the Magic Eraser Tool in the Tools palette
The whole magic of removing unwanted backgrounds (or any other colors) in Pixelmator has to do with the Magic Eraser Tool.
Click-and-drag with Magic Eraser on a white background, and see how it becomes transparent.
Repeat the procedure if needed. For example, I repeated it on the bow shadows.
Now that you have an object without a background, you can put it into another image or simply use it in other compositions.
If you wish to keep the object’s transparency, you will need to save the image in PXM, PSD, TIFF or PNG file format. See the Pixelmator User Manual for more information about saving images.