How to Remove a Background! Photoshop 2022 (BEGINNER GUIDE)

We will explore the one-click method for removing a background in Photoshop and refining the edges to get a really good selection of even the most complex subjects. We will learn about the artificial intelligence features of “Remove Background” and “Select Subject” in Photoshop. We’ll do it the fast way and we’ll do it the more manual way so you can learn how to do it and why and when you need to use different tools and methods.

Full body selection with tricky hair

First, try the “Remove Background” AI button in Photoshop. 

Duplicate/shut off that layer with mask to save the original mask.

Add a solid color layer beneath to check on the edges against a non-friendly background.

Clean up the new mask with a “Normal” brush to find lost bits, Levels, and Brush set to Soft Light.

Duplicate the layer with the cleaned-up mask and set it to Screen. Drag below the woman. 

Group the top woman layer so you can apply a fresh layer mask to the group. Paint away the edges with a large, soft, low opacity brush to brighten the edges where they need it. Take a moment to examine all edges to clean up anywhere this brightening layer adds some halo effect.

Cover manually selecting the object, using quick selection, object selection, select subject, etc…

Jump into Select and Mask

Use the “On Black” viewing option to begin. Find areas of the edges that are particularly jagged or need help. 

Tweak and refine the selection with the Quick Selection tool, the lasso tool, and the brush tool.

Next, clean up the edges with the global refinement sliders.

Use smoothing to clean up jagged and stippled edges.

Use feather to add a little bit of realistic softness to the edges

Use contrast with feather to clean up jagged edges in a different way

Use the shift edge slider to clip the edges as another way to clean up the edges. NOTE: different images often require different techniques to get the best result.

Hair or other fine edges usually require a second pass of Select and Mask. 

Use the Refine Hair button to see if the AI can do all the work for you.

Use the Refine edge brush tool if the AI doesn’t do a good job. 

Add your new background behind the extracted subject and use a contrasting color to really show where the edges need some help.

You can select your mask and check out the Properties panel to reduce the density of the mask. The density is like an opacity slider but just for your mask. By revealing the entire image you can find area that got hidden by the mask and un-mask them to make sure they are visible.

Successfully removing the background from any image will necessitate not only getting a good edge on the subject you are isolating, but also correcting the lighting and minor halo effects that will appear if the new background is radically brighter or darker than the background you just got rid of.

We can combat this halo effect pretty easily. 

Duplicate the layer with layer mask that we just created and set it to the blend mode “Screen” if you’re moving from a dark to light background. (You would use the Multiply blend mode if you are moving from a light to dark background.)

First try dusting away halos with a Soft Light brush.