I'm pretty sure there is a solution somewhere out there, but I haven't find the right keywords for this problem. I'm not a graphics person just I'd like to remove the background from this image with PhotoShop:

enter image description here

This looks very nice on a white background, but I want to put this onto a black background and it's tricky as it has some "colorful" shadow. I used the Magic Wand to select the object, then inverted the selection and removed the background. Kind-of-works, but if I zoom in there are some problems on the object's edge:

enter image description here

I know I can do a contracted modify of selection, by n pixels, but it doesn't seem realistic if I just remove 1 pixel from the selection:

enter image description here

I'm not limited to use more colors, end design shall be in PNG (so can have transparency too).

I need some nice smooth edges without that background shadow, because I want this object to look good in front of both white and black background.

How can I achieve that?

  • 1
    Ultimately, for every high quality mask, one needs to zoom in and manually use a brush in many instances.
    – Scott
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:18
  • I'd try Layer > Matting > Defringe or White matte first before doing manual clean up.
    – Joonas
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


On a small image like this, there's a quick cheat you can use…

Make your mask by selection any way you like - wand is fine, though I tend to use 'Select & Mask' these days for it's finer edge detection & smoother masking - then show the mask only (alt-click on it)

De-select the image, then select the Paint Bucket tool & black colour. Opacity 100%, tolerance 40 should be OK.
Click once anywhere in the black masked part.
This will expand your mask very slightly & just crop out that white border.

gif showing before/after - it's a tiny change.

enter image description here

Anything more complex you would probably have to paint your mask by hand, or use expand selection, feather edges etc, but for something this small & simple, that extra pixel the paint bucket gives you should work.

Final image, on a black layer to show edges. Image itself has transparency.
Re-done after comments to knock out the centre - dotted in with the wand & the same paint bucket technique to fill the mask...

enter image description here

enter image description here

These are all just screenshots from Photoshop, BTW, not finished files.

This method is not perfect, but on such a small image where you're decidedly pixel-limited, it should be fine. If it still falls short, sometimes a second click of the paint bucket will fix it. If it doesn't, then it's time to get the paint brush on the mask & fix by hand.

  • Such a nice and easy solution, thx a lot. One more thing: there is small problem at the center: imgur.com/a/o0xjjJa. How can I add this to the mask? I tried Refining the mask, with smallest 1px size, but it removes (adds) too much. Once we figure this out, I'll definitely accept your answer :)
    – Daniel
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 12:43
  • I hadn't even spotted that bit. Just dot it in with the wand & fill it in the mask using the same paint bucket trick, one or two clicks. You'll never get rid of the pixellation at this size, so you have to live with the slightly blocky edge. Added to answer
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 13:00

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