I have a simple image of a dragonfly that I downloaded from Adobe stock. I would like to place this image on another image of a pond, but the dragonfly image has a white background.

Some tutorial videos I have found online provide following steps to make a background transparent. - Copy background layer of image with white background - select this new layer - use Magic Wand tool to select white background - hit Delete

I have done this and it does not work. I still have a white background on the dragonfly image.

I need to learn how to get these white backgrounds off of images. It comes up over and over in my work.

Any help appreciated, thanks.

  • 1
    How does the procedure you describe "not work"? Did you possibly forget to remove or hide the 'background' layer? (Because that would do exactly what you describe.) – Jongware Nov 20 '16 at 23:53

There are a few ways to remove the white background from an image depending on what your trying to achieve or the colours found on the image itself.

Here are a few ways of achieving your requested outcome.

- Magic Wand Tool

Select the layer of the background you would like to remove and select the Magic Wand Tool (Shortkey: ) then once selected you want to simply just left click on the white background and it should create a selection over it. (Note: if you want to change the amount of white that is selected there is an option in the toolbar to change the 'Tolerance') After you have selected it i personally would make a layermask so its not irreversible later to do that simply click the 'Add a Mask' button found in the layers Panel. Alternatively you can just hit delete and it removes the white by erasing it.

- Blending Options

This option is useful if there is no other white in the image or lighter colours, right click on your layer with the white and hit blending options once in the blending options you will find the panel at the bottom of the pop up that says 'Blend if Grey' and all you have to do is drag the sliders from the white side closer to the black as shown in the image below.

enter image description here

To have more control you can split the arrow pointing upwards in two like i have to do this just press Alt whilst selecting it this allows you to create a better blend.

- Pen Tool

This one is pretty simple and probably the best/cleanest option as you have full control of the situation. Select the pen tool and trace around the area you would like to remove and once done right click choose 'Make Selection' and again either make a mask Layer or simply just hit delete all this has to be done in the layer of which you want the background removed. For help on Pen tooling here is a little guide (guide:https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/photoshops-pen-tool-the-comprehensive-guide--psd-718)

- Layer Blend Modes

You can also sometimes get away with using blend modes i personally don't suggest this as anything below your image can occasionally pierce through and cause issues later down the line but if your comfortable and not doing something to complex this can be an option. To do this simply select the layer your working on and in the layers panel choose 'Darken' or 'Multiply' (see image) this will only show the dark area's of the image and hide the lighter ones alternatively you can do the opposite with 'Lighten' in case you ever want to just show the light areas in a layer and hide the dark

enter image description here

  • The blending option is what worked best for me! I had an image with a black background, but the grayer parts between would get erased with the magic wand. I created a white layer, put it under the top layer and used blend to get the effect I wanted. Then clicked the eye to hide the white layer and exported the png with transparency. Thx! – Chuck Savage May 2 '18 at 19:31

Actually yeah, magic wand tool is always work for such process. Or you can also try:

  1. Multiply or Darken blending mode in layer panel. But make sure you didn't put any unnecessary layers between your dragonfly image layer and pound layer.

  2. You can select the white background of your dragonfly image and use layer mask to hide the background (if you don't want to delete completely the white background)

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