One of the most common Photoshop operations is making an image backgrounds transparent. There are various tools available in Photoshop to perform this. There are simple and harder ways available depending on images and requirements of the output. In this article I will try to describe one of the simple ways to make an picture transparent background in Adobe Photoshop. 

Why we need to make an image transparent Background

There are many places where transparent images are required. It gives us the ability to place your photo on any background. You can place it on a dynamic background which changes color automatically. Think about a responsive website where web pages change their page size according to different screens. In that situation you need to update the size of the photo background to make it fit with screen size. This is one unique reason why you need to make a photo transparent. There are tons of other reasons where you need a transparent background image.

Steps on how to make transparent image/photo

        1. Make your image a layered image

        2. Make selection on the image

        3. Create path on image with pen tool

        4. Create mask to achieve dynamic background change

Step 1: Make your image a layered image

Normally when we open an image in Photoshop it remains locked. Look at the image below to demonstrate that. It means the image is locked, you first need to unlock the image if you want to start working on it. You can normally double click on the image to unlock it. 

unlock background layer

When you double-click on the image layer, a pop-up window will come up. Then just simply click on the OK button. 

image a layered image


Then you will see there ‘Layar 0’ is written on the layer and you will also see there are no lock icons. 

Make Layar 0

This is how your step one is done. Now we will start step two where we will make a selection of the image. The reason for making selection is because we want to keep our required part of the image and remove other things from it.

Step 2: Make selection Pen tool

There are many ways to make selection on image but you will use the most common ‘Pen tool’ to perform the selection. The Pen tool is the most common and most sharp tool inside Photoshop to make perfect selection. 

Make selection Pen tool

You can press on ‘P’ from the keyboard to select ‘Pen tool’ but there are other options available there as well. So, exactly like the image when you see the pen tool is selected you need to also look at the first option. 

Step 3: Create path on image with pen tool 

Now the selection process is began. Before you make a selection on the image you need to bring the path palette from the ‘Window’ Panel.
From the dropdown list you have to check the ‘Paths’ option checked on not. If it is not checked then you have to click on it to check it. Look at the image below for a demonstration.

Create path on image with pen tool

Now you can see there is a new Path panel available under the Layer panel on the right side of Photoshop. For the second step here you need to click on the ‘Create new path’ icon. To understand this you can just look at the image below in step 2.

How to Make an Image Transparent

After clicking ‘Create new path’ there will be a new path layer available. Just look like the image below. 

300% Zoom:

It is very important that you make the image as Zoomed as possible. The standard is 300%. This way the image will be much bigger where your selection will be good. You don’t have to be 100% perfect with your selection because by making it bigger, now it’s easy for you. When you zoom out the image you can realize the change. 

Look at the left bottom side of the window. Where you can see the current of the screen. You can just click ‘Control and +’ to make the screen size bigger and ‘Control and –’ to make it smaller. Also you can directly write the screen size with percentage by selecting the text with a double click. When you change the window size, look at the percentage. 

Zoom 300%

Now you are ready to create a path on your image. You can start anywhere from the image to create a path. Select the whole image by clicking around the image. After making the whole selection, you need to join the path from where you have started creating the path. 

The path creation process is not easy. You need to practice it as much as possible to make a perfect selection. For example when you are curving the path, you need to look at the forward path angle. Because of the next election it will help you make the selection easy.  

After joining the path from where you started, you need to go to the Path panel again. The right click on ‘Path 1’ and click on ‘Make Selection’ Then a pop-up window will appear where you give some feather like 0.2 or 0.3 percent to make the selection little blur. By doing this your cut out result will be more precious and natural. 

Look at the image below to demonstrate the thing. 


Step 4: Create a mask to achieve dynamic background change.


Now the final step comes. Here you need to just click ‘Add layer mask’ from ‘Path panel’ 

add layer mask

By just clicking on ‘Add layer mask’ you can see the magic. Your image background will be completely transparent

Transparent Background done

How to change the background color on a transparent image. 

After creating transparency with the process mentioned above now it is very easy for you to change or add a new background to any color for the image. Go to the ‘Layer panel’ and there you will see the icon below. If you bring your mouse pointer there you will see ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ 

change background color on a transparent image

Now click on the icon and then a drop down list will come up. From the drop down list you have to select the ‘Solid Color’ option. 

solid Background

When you click on the ‘Solid Color’ option a pop up window will appear where you have freedom now to choose any color you want. When you choose a color, there is a new layer automatically created above your image layer that you have created at the beginning of the whole work process. Now simply click on the ‘OK’ button. 

Select Image background color

What we have done so far is great,  you just need to bring the ‘Color fill layer’ to the bottom of the ‘layer 0’. When you do it you can immediately see the background color of the image is changed

make a transparent background

Look at the final image now. The good thing is you can go back to the color layer that you have just created and change the color of the background you want. 

make an image transparent

I hope now it’s easy for you to make a transparent background. If you have any question on How to make transparent background in photoshop then please comment and for better understanding bellow given the video tutorial: