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I'm trying to remove the white background of an image (replacing it with transparency), however, the challenge I'm having is that the image has white parts that I would like to maintain. Below is the image I'm working with. Bare in mind that this image is work I've done and all rights are reserved under copyright law.

Wave Sample © 2012

The center part of this wave is white, which adds a glowing effect. What I want to do is remove the white background around the outside of the wave, while still keeping the white colors in the center of the wave.

I'm using Photoshop for editing. What could I do in Ps to achieve my desired results? How could I select the white colors on the outside of the wave, without selecting the center white colors? If I could get a good selection, then I can just simply delete the colors, but maybe selections aren't the only way to solve this problem?

Please give me some useful explanation, or perhaps a tutorial even, video tutorial, giving instructions on how to remove the background for this particular image.

Thanks for reading. All help is highly appreciated.

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Since you say you made the original image, if you really want it to look good I'd suggest just remaking it from scratch, this time with a transparent background to begin with. Trying to remove the background after the fact, especially from an image like this, will always yield results inferior in some way. – Ilmari Karonen Mar 29 '13 at 22:44

If you have fireworks, you could use it to convert this image to alpha (filter > other > convert to alpha - it works similar to multiplay, but actually converts the white pixels to permanent transparency).

Then bring the alpha channel back into photoshop which you could then mask over the original image. You will need to play with the levels to keep the black parts fully solid.

You would then be left with the black parts of the image. Use a brush to brush back in the white middle part of the image.

Below is a really rough copy, you'll need to really play with the brush settings to get it right.

enter image description here

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it is possible to do this without fireworks. one possible way among many: convert to greyscale, select all, copy, undo the conversion using the history palette to revert back to color, create layer mask, paste into layer mask. – horatio Mar 27 '13 at 13:52
Thanks for that, that's really useful! – Richard Tan Mar 27 '13 at 21:10
Or just download GIMP and use its Color to Alpha tool. (Ps. @horatio: your method ends up lightening any semitransparent pixels, since you forgot to divide the image by the mask. You might be able to do that using layer operations, though.) – Ilmari Karonen Mar 29 '13 at 22:17

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