Removing Backgrounds with Magic Brush

Our Magic Brush selector makes removing backgrounds and selecting objects easier than ever before! This selector uses smart technology to automatically detect where you want parts of your image removed, and trims away excess backgrounds in just a few clicks. Read along for a step-by-step guide on how to use the Magic Brush selector in the Cutout tool to remove backgrounds in your own projects.

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Important Note: Once you have removed the background of the image, we recommend saving it as a PNG. This will automatically detect any transparencies in the image and keep them transparent. This is ideal for saving images as layers to use later, or for printing. If saved as a JPG, any transparent background will be white when uploaded. 

Step 1: Open an image in your Photo Editor. Open the Edit menu, then choose the Cutout tool.

Pro Tip: Before you get started with the Magic Brush, it can be helpful to remove the excess background area around your subject using another brush (Paint, Lasso, Polygon, etc). This helps Magic Brush be more precise in its selection. 

Step 2: Choose the Magic Brush icon. Here you'll have a few options.

  • Tolerance:This parameter is the key to using Magic Brush effectively. A lower Tolerance is less aggressive and will leave more of the image behind. A higher Tolerance will remove more of the image.
  • Brush Size: Controls the size of the brush tool you use for selection.
  • Remove: Use this to remove the area of the image you select with the brush.
  • Keep: This does the inverse of Remove, replacing the removed section of the image.

Pro Tip: The Magic Brush gets best results on images whose background colors are inverse of the subject.

There are also a few icons at the top of the Cutout dialogue to familiarize yourself with.

  • Show/Hide Mask: This will either show or hide the mask that defines where your image has been erased from the original selection.
  • Invert Selection: To switch your selection quickly to its inverse, use 'Invert Selection'.
  • Reset: Remove the current selection and start over.

Pro Tip: Hold the Space bar and click and drag to pan around the canvas while you're zoomed in. If you are using a touchpad, you can also use two fingers to pinch to zoom in and out or swipe to pan around the canvas.

Step 3: If you're happy with your cutout, select Apply. You'll see two options in the save dialogue come up.

  • Trim Transparency: Removes excess transparency and cuts your image down to just the subject.
  • Export as Layer: Turns the transparent layer into a separate file in your Image Manager.

Step 4: If you choose to export as a layer, you'll be taken to Image Manager where you'll have access to your layer cutout.

Pro Tip: Use the Remove/Keep and Tolerance adjustment options if you remove too much of the background and need to add some of it back.

Using Magic Brush on Image Layers

Step 1: Once you have your background image open in Photo Editor, go to your Image Manager and find the image you want to layer on it.

Step 2: Double-click or right-click to Add as a Layer onto the canvas. An Image Properties box will appear, click on Cutout

Step 3: Follow the same process as if you were working in the Cutout tool, using the steps in the first section.

Pro Tip: Press Command / Ctrl + Z on your keyboard to Undo your last move if you accidentally over-select an area.

Step 4: Once finished, select Apply and choose if you want to Trim Transparency and/or Export as a Layer.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out another tutorial:

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