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How to erase image backgrounds in Photoshop

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

This post is part of the Learning Photoshop series.

The Background Eraser Tool, which shares a space on the Tools panel with the Eraser Tool and the Magic Eraser Tool, allows you to remove the background color from an image while retaining the foreground color.

The trick to using the Background Eraser Tool is to keep the crosshair that is in the center of your cursor on the background color as you drag and make sure that part of your brush cursor is on the foreground color. You will want to choose a large enough brush size so that you can easily accomplish this.

Quick Guide: To Erase with the Background Eraser Tool

  1. Select the Background Eraser Tool on the Tools panel.
  2. Select the desired brush size from the Brush Preset Picker combo box.
  3. Select Discontinuous, Contiguous or Find Edges from the Limits combo box, depending on how far you wish to spread the erasing.
  4. Select a tolerance if desired.
  5. To protect the selected foreground color from being erased, click the Protect Foreground Color check box.
  6. Choose Continuous, Once or Background Swatch from the Sampling combo box to set how the eraser selects the color to erase.
  7. Drag on the edge of the background and foreground color, keeping the crosshair in the center on the cursor on the background area.

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