The Photoshop Phanatic: Photoshop Basics
Using the Extract Filter to Remove Images from Backgrounds
In this column, we will tackle one of the most common tasks in Photoshop, removing objects from their backgrounds. The Extract filter provides one way to isolate an object and remove its background. Using the various tools in the Extract window, you can isolate the areas of an image that you wish to extract. Did you ever wonder how that cool collage you just saw on the cover of Time Magazine was created? Well, chances are the Extract filter came into play at some point. Ready to get started? Open your copy of Photoshop and follow along.
- Open the image you wish to remove the background from.
Tip: Always work on a copy and never an original document! If you are working on a layer, duplicate it by selecting the Layer in the Layer Palette and choosing Duplicate Layer from the Layer Options (the black arrow at the top right of the Layer Palette).
- Select Filter > Extract
- Set Tool options, as needed.
This is just one of many ways to remove objects from backgrounds. Other options include using the Eraser Tool to erase the background, using Quick Mask to make selections and delete the background as well. As always, experiment with this technique to see what works best for you. When you have a workflow in place using the Extract filter it can save you valuable time in Photoshop. Increasing productivity is always a good thing! Until next time, good luck in all your Photoshop pursuits.