How to remove the background of an image (a tree) in Photoshop


How to remove the background of an image – Tutorial. Today we’ll see how to quickly remove the background of an image, and so to how to quickly isolate a complex object, like a tree, in Photoshop. We won’t use any time-wasting tools like the pen tool or even worse the lasso tool.

We’ll work mainly with the channels and the brush tool. This is the image we’re going to isolate:

 remove background from tree How to remove the background of an image (a tree) in Photoshop

Keep in mind that we can quickly isolate this tree because I took this picture with the sky in the background, otherwise it would be harder to isolate it. Anyway, go to your channel palette, and duplicate the channel with the highest contrast. In this case, the blue one is the one which offers the highest contrast between the tree and the sky. Once the channel has been duplicated, go to Image>Calculation. Now, as settings here I’ve chosen two blue channels, and set the transparency to “color burn”, but you’ll have to play with the settings because every image can be different, just keep in mind that what you want to achieve is the highest contrast possible between the object and the background.

Now, pick your white brush, and start painting around the tree in your new “Alpha channel”. Once you’ve painted white the background, select the Dodge Tool, set the range to Highlights and the exposure to 50%, pick a small soft brush and start painting around the tree to delete all the gray that’s left. Make the brush smaller when you need to go into details, like in between the branches.

To isolate the trunk pick the Pen Tool, make a selection around the trunk then Right-Click on it and select “Make selection“. With the selection active paint white what you need, and then go to Select>Deselect. Now that all the background is white, and the tree is black, click on “Load channel as selection” (the circle button on the bottom of the Channels Palette) and select the RGB channel and make your Alpha channel insivible.

Now all you need to do is go to Select>Inverse and then click on Add Layer Mask in the Layers Palette. Here you, now the object is isolate. Still, if you see some bad colors around the edge, like some horrible blue edges around the branches, go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. In the dropdown menu, where you see the word “Master”, select the colors that you want to modify. In this case, go to “blue” and once selected desaturate it and lower lightness. Again, this depends on the picture you’re working on, so just experiment with it until you’re satisfied with the results.

That’s it, thanks for following this little tutorials, and if you have questions just ask.



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