I am editing an image in GIMP that has a few nearly-transparent (resp. very light) pixels scattered through an otherwise transparent (resp. pure white) background.

Is there a command that will quickly highlight or otherwise indicate pixels that are not the background color (i.e. white or transparent, depending on whether there's an alpha channel), so that I can clear them?

(I could just set the similar-color threshold to 0 and flood-fill, but that takes many clicks, and I have to either duplicate the layer first or remember where all the stray pixels are.)

  • 2
    In Photoshop you could load the alpha channel of the layer as a selection and as long as the stray pixels are more than 50% opaque, they'd get highlighted by the selection marquee.
    – nine9ths
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 5:21
  • In Paint.NET you can select the background region with the wand tool using 0% tolerance, then invert selection and deselect the foreground object manually. Sorry that I don't know Gimp well enough to answer this for real.
    – kettlecrab
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 0:02

1 Answer 1


You can use the Select By color tool with the Threshold set to 0:

enter image description here

Click where you know there is only white/transparency, and all of that color will be selected.

  • Perhaps, after this operation, you can increase the selection by 1 px. Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 8:58
  • @PaoloGibellini I'm not sure how that would help, (it would probably just select everything, which you can do with Ctrl+A). If you want to select only the non-background pixels, invert the selection (Ctrl+I) after following the steps in my answer.
    – gandalf3
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:06
  • Usually in a "nearly-transparent" grainy background (coming for example from a scanning) the points to be removed are "clusters" of points with different values. With a treshold of 0 you select just a value. Increasing the selection usually gets the entire "cluster" (it doesn't select everything). Other way is select with the magic wand the background, increase the selection until the "nearly-transparent" points are included and replace the entire background. Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 7:48
  • @PaoloGibellini Oh. I see what you are saying now. Yes, that is useful. For some reason I was thinking the OP's entire image was transparent with a few "nearly transparent" pixels.. But that would be silly as you could just select all and delete. :P
    – gandalf3
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 8:07

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