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 Magic Brush in your own projects.

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Watch a Video Walkthrough:

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

Step 2: Before you get started with the Magic Brush, remove the excess background area around your subject. This helps Magic Brush be more precise in its selection.

Step 3: Use a rectangular or circular selection tool and have Cutout set to "Keep", then select closely around your subject.

Using Magic Brush for Cutout
Step 4: Once you have the majority of your subject cutout, choose the 'Magic Brush' icon. Here you'll have a few options.

  • Remove: Use this to remove the area of the image you select with the brush
  • Keep: Use this to keep the area of the image you select with the brush.
  • Tolerance: This slider controls how many colors are included in the selection. The larger the tolerance, the more colors are included.
  • Brush Size: Controls the size of the brush tool you use for selection.

Pro Tip:

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

Close Up of Cutout ControlsThere 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:

Press SPACE bar to pan around the canvas while you're zoomed in.

Saving with Magic BrushStep 5: If you're happy with your cutout, click the blue checkmark to 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 6: 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.

You can also use Magic Brush when adding a layer to your background image.

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. When you see an 'Image Properties' box appear, click on 'Cutout'. This will zoom-in on the layer you're actively working on.

By default you'll have 'Display Canvas' turned on, which will show the full background canvas around the selection. Uncheck this to isolate the layer from the canvas.

Remove Background on LayerStep 3: From there, you'll follow the same process as if you were working in the Cutout tool. First choose 'Keep' and use a selection tool to remove the excess background. Then click 'Remove' and start moving the Magic Brush around the image to erase the background, using the mask outline to guide your brush strokes.

Pro Tip:

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

Remove Backgrounds with Magic Brush ToolStep 4: Click the blue checkmark to apply, and choose if you want to Trim Transparency or Export as a Layer.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out our blog post:

Our Improved Cutout Tool & NEW Magic Brush

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