I was trying today to remove the background from this image below. No matter what I did, I wasn't satisfied with the results I got. As the gras tile is white and the background is white too, it was very difficult to distinguish between the background and the tile.

How would you approach removing the background from this image in Adobe Photoshop? I found the strands that stick out especially difficult to get right.

I have the actual item here next to me so I can take more picture if it would be easier. Though i don't have lights and professional white sheet...

I've removed the background of other images but they had simple shapes (circles, squares, rectangles) so I just used the lasso tool or the background eraser.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. You should instead photograph it with a background which contrasts with the subject.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 2, 2020 at 21:02

2 Answers 2


I have the actual item here next to me so I can take more picture if it would be easier.

Yes. Reshoot with a background that is neutral and not white (blue, green, grey - really anything other than white or black). With a better photograph you can cut the post processing time in half or more. (lighting is pretty bad in that photo anyway)

Otherwise, it's a painstaking manual painting with a brush on a mask project.

Without a reshoot... here's what I'd do..

  • Adjust Levels for entire image to improve contrast and fix the "dull" lighting.
  • Copy Blue Channel and create high contrast channel for left and bottom edge. Retaining the subtle shadow.
  • Copy Blue Channel again and create high contrast channel for the interior and close to the top and right edge. Top and right edge don't have to be precise at this stage, just general area. In fact, you'll want this channel to stop just short of all the small protrusions on those edges.
  • Use these 2 blue channel copies to create a layer mask and apply it to the image layer.
  • From here, grab a Brush and start painting back in the top and right edges manually. The goal is to get the image to look realistic, you won't be able to precisely match the photo because there's far too much guesswork along the top and right edges. The photo is too undefined in these areas. You'll need to use some artistry to paint those edges.

enter image description here

Control/Right-click the image above and choose "Open in New Tab/Window" to see it better

You could feasibly use just one copy of the Blue Channel. I used two because I thought I would be able to better define the top/right edges separately. I was not able to. Therefore the second channel copy was overall fruitless and it could have all been done with one copy of the Blue Channel.

  • what is meaning of creating high contrast channel?
    – Manghud
    May 3, 2020 at 18:57
  • Using channels and adjusting them via levels/curves/painting is much much easier than trying to create selections for a mask.
    – Scott
    May 3, 2020 at 20:30

It's unsharp, noisy and has low contrast. Reshoot.

I'm afraid only drawing a clipping path or painting a mask can make a good edge when the image has contrast this low. If one makes them enough he gets quite fast, but the needed work is much bigger than using color and contrast based tools.

Nothing prevents you to redraw or clone some edge items for plausible look in difficult cases. Nobody knows the exact placements of the hairs. The smudge tool after the background removal is often very useful.

I tried what happens if the Quick selection tool is used to make the selection. The edges were quite random, but some edits (clone, smudge) replaced them soon. The unsharp area is also redrawn with the clone brush, about 300 short strokes with a small soft brush.

The result unfortunately is quite far from the original. Tinkering like this takes so much time that you must be quite fast to get it done in less than a half an hour. That's not a problem if you are a hobbyist, but think you try to earn something and you have about 100 as bad photos. Easy to process shots are the only way to keep it profitable.

enter image description here

About reshooting: You told you haven't pro lights nor pro background. Your biggest problem is the poor usage of your camera and existing light.

Use a tripod and manual camera settings. With small aperture you get the whole area sharp. If you have a proper tripod and you can be without taking steps on the floor during the exposure you can get usable photos.

Low ISO-sensitivity in camera settings and avoiding underexposure keeps the noise low. Unfortunately without powerful lights the exposure will easily be too long for sharp manual shots => having a tripod is a must.

Be sure that no light blows against your lens. It reduces the contrast and generates flares due unwanted reflections inside the lens.

Lift the carpet above the background (=BG) You surely have something to increase the space between the carpet and the BG. Direct some more light to the BG to get contrast between the BG and the light egde parts of the carpet. Or let the carpet have more light. The uniformity of the extra light is less demanding if its on the BG.

With good contrast you can make the selection easily. Otherwise you must either cut corners or draw a clipping path.

If you can take 2 images without moving the object nor the camera so that in the other of the images the object is a silhouette you can use that silhouette to make the selection or layer mask in the properly lit image. I have used this trick numerous times.

BTW. Professionals use often colored background to make one click selection based on color. But that needs good lights and a long distance between the object and the background. Without having them the indirect light from the colored background pollutes the color of your object and the result will be a mess.

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