How to Use a Background Eraser in Photoshop

You’ve just taken the perfect picture but the background is lackluster.

Whether it’s a sunny day that blew the photo out of contrast, or an oblivious pedestrian who decided to take part in your photoshoot, a poor background can ruin an otherwise acceptable subject. Maybe you only want to remove a section of the background. Is it necessary to whip out the scissors?

Fortunately for you, modern-day tools make this process nearly painless. Photoshop is the premier image editing tool. Photographers have been using it for decades because it includes many nifty features.

Today you’ll learn about Photoshop’s background eraser, and how you can erase the background in that awesome photo.

Background Eraser and Other Tools

There are a number of ways to remove the background in Adobe Photoshop:

  • The object selection tool
  • Magic wand tool
  • Lasso mode
  • Pen tool

Each of these provides essentially the same function: they allow you to isolate your photo’s subject by drawing a line around them. Minus the pen tool, these all use AI to determine where to draw the line. However, these tools require a bit of practice and are prone to mistakes.

Background Eraser: Easy and Automated

If you want a quick and easy way to erase the background, the background eraser tool comes to the rescue. It uses AI to guess what is the subject of your photo. It then makes a guess at what is the background before removing it.

Keep in mind, the background eraser uses machine learning, so the results might not always be accurate. For photos where there isn’t a clear delineation between background and foreground, the eraser might cut off pieces of the subject. However, if you subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud you’ll get updated versions of Photoshop which improve upon the background eraser with time.

How to Use Background Eraser

Open your copy of Photoshop. Open the image you want to work on, and then unlock the layer.

Step 1. Locate the Remove Background button

Choose Properties, then Quick Actions. You should see a Remove Background option. Once you click this, everything happens automatically.

The program will automatically detect the subject, then remove the background. It will use the layer mask to do this. The end result is a transparent background that you can fill with your own image.

Step 2. Use Black and White Brushes to Trim the Edges 

As mentioned, this won’t be perfect. You may see small chunks of the background still connected to your subject.

The Brush tool will help you to adjust this mask layer to taste. After selecting the subject, you want to use the black brush to hide any stray pixels. Use the white brush to restore any part of your subject that was accidentally removed.

Step 3. Use the Refine Edge Brush to Polish the Borders of Your Subject

This is another automatic tool. All you need to do is run the brush over an edge, and it will make sure you get a clean boundary between the subject and the background.

Congrats! You’ve removed your background, and now it’s up to you how to replace it.

Now Go Remove Your Backgrounds!

To erase an image background with the Photoshop background eraser has never been easier, and you can use this for any image you like. Photoshop allows novices and professionals to improve their workflow and create beautiful pieces of art.

Follow us for more tips on how to leverage Photoshop for your images.