The background eraser tool is quite a helpful tool in photoshop. which use widely to retouch the pictures to make them look good. To remove the unwanted areas of the pictures, the photoshop background eraser tool works just fine. The images having fine detailing or unwanted backgrounds are corrected and edited using the background eraser tool. Then, this tool, there are many other tools like the ‘Eraser tool’, ‘Magic Eraser tool’, and ‘Pen tool’, etc. which are used to cut out the object from its respective background.

Image masking is also an ideal method for image background removal which works on complex backgrounds or edges. The images having furry edges or hairy backgrounds are better dealt with masking method. The importance of the eraser tool is not unknown and everyone in the photography or graphic industry is using this tool on a wider note. This tool helps in cutting out the backgrounds and the new backdrop is added according to the image requirement. By using this tool, you can erase the areas which are not required whilst leaving the other important areas untouched.

Here are the steps to follow while using the background eraser tool. Let’s see:


1. Pick The Eraser tool

Open Photoshop and select the image you want to remove the background from. Open the image and you will see it in the display window. Go to the Background Eraser Tool panel palette and pick the background eraser tool from there. When you pick the tool, the mouse cursor will change to a circle with a cross-hair in the center.

Pick the Background Eraser Tool

Selecting The Background Eraser Tool

Now depending on the areas to be removed, you can change the size of the Background Eraser tool. For that, press  “[ “and “] ‘keys on the keyboard respectively. Next, press “shift + [” for softer edges, and for harder edges, press “shift + ]”. We suggest going for harder edges for better results.

Background Eraser tool

Set Up the Background Eraser Tool in Adobe Photoshop Video Tutorial Bellow

  2. How to Work the Photoshop Background Eraser tool

You might have noticed that when you open an image in Photoshop, it creates a layer that is locked and generally sits in the background. To start working or editing it, you have to unlock the layer first.

Coming to the procedure, select the Background eraser tool and drag it over the areas you want to remove. Wherever you drag the eraser tool, it will remove those areas by sampling the color beneath the target symbol.

Work the Background Eraser tool

Target Background Eraser tool circle denotes the area where the pixels will be removed from. It is encircled with a large circle and any pixels located under the target symbol when match the color of the pixels are erased by the Photoshop background eraser tool.

When you start bg removing the areas, it can change that any other area you don’t want to remove gets  erase. If it happens, press Ctrl + Z to undo, and if there is more undo, press Ctrl+Alt+Z to go back to the step where you did the mistake. Now start erasing once again with the same method.

removing the areas

Background Layer

Working on the background is not possible because it is “locked” by default. While dragging the Background eraser tool on the image, you will see that there is no difference in it. It means that the layer is locked and is the background layer. Photoshop sometimes automatically transforms the background layer by unlocking it and naming it layer 0. Since erasing pixels on the background layer is impossible because of being locked, you have to unlock it if Photoshop doesn’t do it for you.

Background Layer

How to Work the Background Eraser tool Video Tutorial Bellow

3. Example of Background Eraser Tool Action in Adobe Photoshop

Now let us move forward to erasing the background with an example. As you can see this picture has a blue sky which you want to remove. Drag the eraser tool over the sky and removing it is the simplest thing you will do but if you see, there are trees around and accidentally you will remove the trees as well because they are in the same layer. Now to deal with that, you have to be careful with the target symbol and keep it on the blue area i.e. sky in order to prevent removing the trees.

Background Eraser Tool Action

The background eraser tool samples the color underneath the target symbol which is at the center of the eraser. When you drag the eraser, be careful about where the target symbol is.

To work properly with the Photoshop eraser tool, here are a few settings that will do wonders and make the process perfect to deliver great results. Navigate to the Options bar and choose:

Example of Background Eraser Tool Action

Sampling Options of Background Eraser Tool

You will see three options i.e. Continuous, Once, and Background Swatch to the right of the brush preset picker. It will help control the behavior of the eraser. The default option is the continuous one which samples the area where the symbol moves.

Sampling: Once Options

When you have too many colors to erase in a single image, the Continuous option is the best. It allows you to complete the process smoothly and lets you go with the flow. In order to remove the blue color or any other color, keep going and it will keep erasing the area without any hassle. But make sure the target symbol is over the same color you want to erase. If the target symbol shifts to another color, the tool will erase that color in that case.

Sampling: Once Options

One option is for simple images in which there is only one color. Even if you move the target symbol somewhere else, it will not erase another color so you need not worry about erasing the required area accidentally. The moment you click on a color you want to erase, Photoshop will record it and help to erase it properly.

Once option is for simple images

Background swatch is for those people who cannot position the target symbol properly. Choose any similar color you want to erase and Photoshop will do it accordingly.

Once option is for simple images


Now coming to the limits, it has contiguous and discontinuous options. Both these options tell Photoshop about the pixels which need to be erased. The discontinuous option is helpful in erasing the pixels where there will be matching sampling color and the contiguous option removes the pixels which touch the target symbol.

Once option is for simple images

Do you have a complex image? The area you want to remove is hidden under another area and removing it is a little tough, right? Here discontinuous option will work as it will not affect the other areas and simply focus on the matching color to remove it. The combination of the Once option and Discontinuous option is suggested to achieve brilliant results in such images.

Cut out Background of complex image

When you are erasing the areas, always check the final view after zooming in. Check whether the areas you want to remove are properly done or if there is anything left. Even when the limit is set to discontinuous and Once the option is chosen, there are some areas that can be left. To help with that, zoom in the window and see where there are a few areas left. Then, you can work on those by switching to the Tolerance value.

Tolerance of Background Eraser tool

Work with a tolerance value to get clean and crisp results. Working with similar colors can be cumbersome because sampling one color might sample a similar color and doing it all over again makes things tough. When you get to work with similar colors, a lower tolerance setting will suggest. Change the value from the dropdown menu located right next to the Tolerance menu.

Set the tolerance level according to the different color tones. If the image you are working on has different colors, then the tolerance level must be set to a higher value and vice versa.

Background Eraser Tool working result

Example of Background Eraser Tool Action in Adobe Photoshop Video Tutorial Bellow

3. Select Protect Foreground Color to remove Image Complex background

To get things at the next level, you should consider protecting foreground color if you find it problematic to work otherwise. With Protect foreground color, you will achieve desired results. Bet you, select the option if you want professional results.

Select Foreground Color

For image background removal, the background eraser tool works completely fine. It is definitely a flawless tool that will let you save the color of the areas you don’t want to touch while removing other areas of the background.

Remove Background without select Foreground Color

Remove bgwithout selecting Foreground Color

Click on Protect foreground color in the Options bar and press the Alt key. You will see an “eyedropper tool” to select the color to be protected.

Click on Protect foreground color in Options

Click on Protect foreground color in Options

As you do that, you will see that the foreground color will be changed to the sampled color in the tools palette. Now go ahead to get better results.

Pick the Protect foreground color

Pick the Protect foreground color

Deselect the Protect foreground color option when you are complete with everything.

Result after Protect foreground color

Voila, that’s it! You did it right. Background removal is a challenging task because it needs precision and skills. With the help of the right tools, you can achieve great results. Read the article carefully to get exceptional results.

background removal using eraser tool

Background Removal using eraser tool In Photoshop

Once when you excel in the background removal technique, you can work on any image whether it is simple, medium, or complex. After working with the background eraser tool, there is nothing hard in using other methods like pen tool and image masking. Since all the background removal methods need expertise and skills, you can do it easily once you master the art of image background removal. Stay tuned for more such informative articles, happy editing!

Select Foreground Color to remove Image Complex background Video Tutorial Bellow