As part of our beginner's guide to Adobe Photoshop, we take you through the process of removing a background from an image.

Open your image

First, you'll need to open the image you wish to remove the background from. Here, we're using a simple photograph of a giraffe to demonstrate.

Make a selection

Next, you'll need to make a selection. To make a selection, there are various tools you can use, but for beginners, the easiest tools to use are the Quick Selection Tool and the Magic Wand Tool. There's also the Lasso tool, which can be more accurate but also take longer to use.


For this example, we're using the Quick Selection tool, which can be found in the tools panel.

Make sure you're using the Quick Selection tool with the '+' in the centre, by pressing the shift key.

Select the background that you'd like to remove by clicking and dragging around the area. If you accidentally select something you didn't want to, you can press the alt key on your keyboard to use the '-' Quick Selection tool and remove it from the selection.

You don’t need to be too accurate with things like hair and fur, because you can refine the edge later.

When you're happy with your selection, right click and then click 'Select inverse'.

Add a layer mask

Now, click the 'Add Layer Mask' button at the bottom of the layers panel, and you'll see instantly that the background is gone.

It might not look great yet, though, but don't worry, you can use the Mask Edge tool to refine it.

Refine the mask's edge

Double click on the mask in your layers panel, and then click 'Mask Edge'. You'll now see the Refine Mask menu.


From here, you can make adjustments to the mask to improve its appearance.

First, click show radius. You'll see nothing to begin with, but by adjusting the radius slider, you can make sure that the radius is picking up all of the stray hairs and getting rid of the background between them. Uncheck show radius to go back to the Refine Mask preview.


Use the sliders to adjust the mask until you're happy with the look you've achieved.

To help, you can change the view mode by clicking the blue arrow next to the thumbnail image and choosing from the drop down menu. 


Add a new background

If you now want to add your photograph to a new background, you can do so by opening up the background image in Photoshop and simply dragging the cut out image onto the background.