Oct 13

Graphic Design: Create Transparent Images in Photoshop for BEGINNERS

Gonzalo Carrillo

So you want to make a transparent image? Let’s explore a couple of methods available so you can properly and effectively make transparent images on adobe photoshop.

First, we need an image! let’s go ahead and use this nice image of a fish with a solid background:

Let’s go ahead and open this image in photoshop so we can get started.

Step 1 – Create a Transparent Layer

First thing we need to do is create a transparent layer. Use the shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + N to create a new layer. After you name your layer (i called mine transparency), click OK and make sure that the transparent layer is UNDER the fish image layer.

Step 2 – Designate the Transparent Area

Now that we have our transparent layer, select the fish image layer and press W to select the magic wand tool. Click on the background so everything but the fish is selected. If some of the background is not selected, or some of the fish is selected, play with the tolerance levels (located on the top left, under the menu bar) until it selects the entire background (I used tolerance 35).

NOTE: If your image has a background that is NOT opaque, you will need to use the Lasso Tool (L) in order to crop out the portion you wish to keep. Afterwards, it will require additional advanced techniques that are not covered in this tutorial to make it look presentable.

hit DELETE to erase the existing background. You should only see the fish and a checkerboard panel which indicates transparency. and voila! you have a transparent image!

Step 3 – Save as .GIF or .PNG

Remember that only .PNG and .GIF files can support transparency, so using .jpg’s is out of the question. To save as a GIF or PNG, press ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+S to open the “save for web” window. Select GIF or PNG-24 from the drop down menu and assure that the transparency box is clicked. Determine the size of your image, hit save, and you’re done!


Afterthought: Keep in mind that when trying to crop out an particular portion of an image requires finesse and time, the more you devote yourself to making sure that edges and lines are properly smoothed out, the better your final result will be.

Gonzalo Carrillo is a web designer for Websoul. To view further information and helpful tips about web design, view his blog at Gonz’s Websoul Blog

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