I'm having issues with artwork I would like to use for my website. Unfortunately, the artwork I have came included with a white background behind it. I realize I can manually remove the white background using tools like the Magic Wand in Photoshop, but I've found that the edges of the artwork lose their sharpness. Is there anyway in Photoshop to just save an image out where the white background is picked up as the part of the artwork that is suppose to be transparent?


5 Answers 5


I have a trick I developed for this exact situation. You may be best to use slightly different settings for each element you want to be a separate graphic but try the following steps:

  1. Copy the section you wish to be a graphic into a new file
  2. Double click on the layer in the layers pallete
  3. Hold down alt on your keyboard, this separates the handle allowing smooth transparent edges and drag the left half inwards until the white is completely gone. Note: if you're not careful a residue of white may be left.
  4. You can now save for web as a transparent png if you wish.

See the screenshot below for details of stage 3

enter image description here

  • This works great! You still need to use the magic wand afterwards as it doesn't completely remove the background, but it adds transparency into the layer which is exactly what I was looking for.
    – rikkit
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 14:35

As you've mentioned in your question, there are various tools to remove backgrounds from images.

However, there is no automated method to simply designate a color as transparent when saving unless you save as a GIF image. However, GIF would be entirely inappropriate if you have a photograph as opposed to a drawing. Without knowing what the actual image looks like, it's very difficult to recommend the GIF format.

  • 1
    What? The exact feature you say doesn't exist, does in fact exist.
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 18:55
  • Really? Where??
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 18:59
  • See what I just posted as answer
    – Ryan
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 19:01
  • Okay, yes it's possible got a GIF image. I simply haven't used the GIF format in years. It is largely deprecated for everything other than animations since PNG support has improved.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 19:31

You can use the magic wand tool, magnetic lasso tool, eraser tool, etc and make sure that your white background has been deleted. Then just save it as a png or gif. I recommend png because it has a greater color palette i.e can reproduce more colors.


Photoshop cannot determine what the background is, but you can while saving change a color to transparent. For white it will change ALL white, not only "background white". So you'll only be able to use this technique if the object doesn't have white in it.

  • Save For Web
  • Change it to GIF with the Transparency Ticked
  • On left side of the preview window is an eye dropper. Use it to click on the white.
  • Click on the transparent box below the color table
  • Repeat working closer to the edges until you're satisfied with the results.
  • Note this is only for GIF images.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 19:03

go to Save for web devices and just chose png format for the website..you will get the image with transparent background.

  • 2
    Not if the image already has an opaque background.
    – Scott
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 18:44

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