I have an image that has a white background but its also semi transparent so the white background seeps through. now if i remove the background it will still have the white parts where the original background was seeping through making it look really strange on any other background but white... Is there a way to remove the "white" parts in the image...


The bottom of the img is exactly like something i have in mind (where the arrow is reflected and the arrows shadow as well)

As you can see when i remove background and change it to black it looks horrible: has white background

Update: I actually made a mistake by voting the first answer up. I want to know how to remove the background completely. I know how to save images so they are transparent


3 Answers 3


I didn't read all of those tutorials but they seem to answer a different question.

If you want to save an image with a transparent background you need to remove the background from the image and then do "Save For Web" in either .png or .gif format and you'll have the ability to save with transparency. Then you can put it on any website and it will match the background.

For example:

Transparent Arrow PNG

Which should be saved like this:

How to save Transparent

Now, if you look on HTML you can see that as a transparent PNG you can put any background behind it:


  • PNG. GIF would look really bad.
    – Sylverdrag
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 16:20
  • 1
    Some systems don't allow PNG. Don't ask me why. I always try to use PNG for the algorithm legality but have come across some back end databases that don't support them.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 17:12
  • the problem is how do i remove the background part that overlaps with the picture. How do i remove the white from the reflection of the arrow so that part is also transparent and doesnt contain the white color. So when i put it on red or blue background it looks nice.
    – Xitcod13
    Commented May 14, 2012 at 19:27
  • @ Xitcod13: open the document, change the layer ("background layer") to editable, use "selective color" in the select menu, click on white, move the slider to something around 128 (experiment), while the selection is active, add a layer mask.Deselect. Place a new layer below this layer, flood fill it with red, tweak your layer mask, and then experiment with background colors. Once you see what you like, hide or delete the bottom layer and then export as noted here. The example really needs to be on a very light color, otherwise the shadows will look like spotlights.
    – horatio
    Commented May 15, 2012 at 16:39

Did you try a masking layer with a gradient applied to it? How it works cut out the arrow section where you want the color changeable and then set a background layer. Next create a masking layer for the reflected arrow and place a black to transparent gradient over it. I know this works in photoshop but I am unfamiliar with gimp's abilities.

  • This is most helpful but its does not achieve the effect needed. Look below.
    – Xitcod13
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 19:42

thanks to skids89 suggestion i figured it out. To remove a background from an image that appears transparent you need to:

cut out all the background that is not overlapping with the img. (magic wand select then del) delete bg then you need to cut out all the places in the img that overlap with the background (using magic lasso tool or something similar) and paste them into a new layer new layer with overlapping afterwards you need to apply the mask to the new layer and use the gradient tool just as skids89 suggested.(yet the img will still have the background behind it it will just be with a gradient and transparent) (changing opacity of the layer will also work) mask and gradient

now you need to create a background layer with a color opposite to the previous background color opposite bg and then you need to select the layer with the mask (not the mask the actual layer) go to image->adjustments->levels and move the bottom slider up adjust levels (that is if your color was white, otherwise first change channel setting to the most similar of your colors first--from RBG to blue for example if your bg was blue) this will make your original background disappear :)

results (yours should look nicer if you applied gradient to it): final bg

And this is how your final image will look like the bottom part having a truly transparent background so you can place any background behind it and it will look nice: final result

Tip: If you have any jagged edges or dots left behind after the cutout do the fallowing things to the layers with those problems: create a mask for them go to Filter->blur->Gaussian Blur mess with the value until the all the jagged edges are underlined (this might simply make it a tiny bit darker or transparent and might be hard to see but usually value somewhere around 2.0 works) then go image->adjustments->levels move the bottom slider up until the jagged edges are gone and move the top slider down until you are satisfied with the results. click ok and it should look wonderful (if you not getting result expected you probably selected the layer instead of the mask undo all you've done and select the mask of that layer then try again)


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