I always seem to end up with black or white backgrounds instead of transparent ones. All I need to do is find a subject, make the background transparent, then paste it onto another picture for the book cover.

I have watched numerous GIMP tutorials on YouTube most of which go at the speed of light and do NOT explain what they are doing and why.

I appreciate any help I can get because I spent many hours with zero results.

  • It always look simple in videos, but 1) extracting a subject from its background can be very difficult, and is a lot easier if the photo was taken specifically for this (green screen or else) and 2) for a good final result you need matching perspective, color balance and light directions between subject and new background, and again, this is a lot easier if you take a picture specifically for this. Demos also tend to use the picture on which the expounded technique works well, while the picture you have in mind works better with another technique.
    – xenoid
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 20:51
  • there are so many questions in here about the same problem... have you used the search field?
    – Luciano
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 15:25

2 Answers 2

  1. Separate your image from its background
  2. Create a transparency layer
  3. Merge that layer down
  4. Save it out as a .png

enter image description here


Separating your image from its background can be time-consuming, especially if your subject has hair/feathers or other objects that are difficult to isolate/cut out. If the background allows, try using the "Background Eraser" tool to remove the background from your subject. You can adjust how sensitive it is. If this works to your liking, save the image with the transparent background as a png file (which will not include a white box background, and allows your background to be visible behind the subject). Search for tutorials on "Background eraser tool" if you need assistance with it.

enter image description here

  • I tried to use it in the past with no luck. Will try again. Thank you. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 3:38

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