The picture below shows the initial image, and the desired effect (sorta), First I used the magic wand to remove the background around the bell. Then I did CTRL+I and inverted the colors. This was great because I ended up with that small shadow under the black. Then I used CTRL+U to get the color I wanted (blue & orange).

My problem is, I still have a residue of black around the edge of the bell and inside as well (around the colored areas).

Is there a better way to cut a non-vector image out that makes it cleaner than the magic wand?

Here is the three steps I mentioned above:

enter image description here

  • 1
    I'd just redraw something so simply with the vector tools.
    – Scott
    Apr 1, 2014 at 17:20
  • 1
    There's scott again :) Wish I had your skills man, but for now, I have to do with what I have. I mean, I can see how the ellipses in the mouth of the bell and the ding-dong thingy would be done, ....but the actual bell shape? No idea my man
    Apr 1, 2014 at 17:25
  • 3
    The Pen tool :)
    – Scott
    Apr 1, 2014 at 17:34

3 Answers 3


You can select the pixels you want more precisely with the pen tool. Each time you click you create an anchor point that you can later move with the white selection arrow.


There's no way you're going to get it perfect without some manual tweaking, but you can still improve your image:

  • Select the transparent area with the Magic Wand, then from the menus select Selection > Modify > Expand and enter in a small number, like 1 or 2 pixels

  • Then go to Selection > Modify > Feather and enter in another small number, like 1 or 2 pixels. You'll have to experiment to see how much you'll want to delete around the edges.

  • When you're satisfied, deselect everything, then go to the menu Layers > Matting > Defringe and enter in another small number of pixels.

This will make the edges of the image be a consistent color.


In this spesific case there is a easy way to make a perfect selection. Go to channels copy the channel, and load selection.

Now even with this perfect selection there will be a fringe. The trick is to copy what you want to stay and then defringe this, or in this case the remove black matte option. Thats how you get rid of the residue. In general workflow its much better to think in terms of what you want to keep, instead of growing selection and geting slightly unperfect results. But thenagain this is far more common problem in motion graphics so i wouldnt expect this to be widely known outside those circles.

Again in this specific case there is a shortcut after selection paint it over and paste masked layers.

enter image description here

This is what you do. Go the the channels box copy one color channel. Select the copied channel. Magic wand select the outer white area, grow selection. The color areas act as a buffer you can safely grow into. fill with black.

Duplicate this channel, magic wand select one white area. Grow again and fill with black (if your fill wast good enough, undo and grow more then fill). Go to the copied channel. repeat for the other area.

Back to color mode. load selection of one area and make a fill layer. repeat for the other. Fill the background residue with white or put a pure white layer behind or leave it blank.

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