How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop

How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop

We are a professional photo editing company Clipping Masking Photoshop and in this article, we will present you with the exact steps on how to make a transparent background in Photoshop and how to make an image transparent. However, before we go into details, we want to tell you why these actions are so important.

After reading through the entire article, you will be able to follow the exact steps on how to make a transparent background in Photoshop and you’ll also know how to make an image transparent. So let’s dig in, shall we?

The Importance of Transparent Background in Photoshop

If we, the Clipping Masking Photoshop, should point out one single Photoshop skill that would definitely be the ability on how to make a transparent background in Photoshop. That fact alone tells you that background is of great importance in digital design.

These days there are millions of online businesses with new ones emerging daily. All those businesses, especially eCommerce, use some sort of visual content. And while videos are on the rise, images and photos still remain the king. In order to make a photo of an object or people usable on various backgrounds or even on a plain white background or as a stand-alone background-less object, the original background must be removed or made transparent.

These steps provide you with an image of the object of interest and give you a full scope of manipulative ability to create various new photos with it.

And since you most likely know that people (at least those lucky enough to have a set of healthy eyes) express interest in things and shop based on the looks of things, it makes visual content extremely important.

Aside from online marketing and content creation, there are still numerous magazines that also work with images that have had their background removed or made transparent.

Why in Photoshop? There are many photo editing pieces of software, however, Photoshop is by far the best choice. Sure you can upgrade to Adobes Illustrator and InDesign for vector and graphics design, however, background removal and other photo editing and manipulation are best done in Photoshop.

Steps to Create a Transparent Background for a Product Image in Photoshop

In this section, we will provide you with exact steps on how to make a transparent background in Photoshop. The steps presented below are general and should work with any version of Photoshop. The latest 2020 version of Photoshop does come with the most simplified way to remove the background, however, this doesn’t work with every photo and is as such best to take the more general approach to get the best results.

Step 1. Make your image into a layered file

Make your image into a layered file

When you open an image or a photo it is locked as a background item. You will see a lock icon next to it. By double-clicking on it in the right bottom area of the navigation panel you transform it into a layer. After double-clicking it you will see a prompt window, which you must confirm to complete the conversion. Once your image has been converted into a layer, you can move on to the next step.

Step 2. Create your selection

The selection step is the most important action towards learning how to make a transparent background in Photoshop. If the selection part is done properly, you will get proper results, if not, the results will be poor. However, there are ways to correct things in other ways (zooming in and using the eraser tool is always an option).

There are many ways to go around the selection process. First, you must determine whether it will be easier to select the background on an item because the switching between the selections of those two is very simple and fast with the use of keyboard shortcut Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+i. If you have a single color background, it is usually a better choice to select the background. For this you may use the Magic Wand Tool, Quick Selection Tool, Color selection option, Lasso tool, Clipping Path tool (for more complicated images), Masking tools, or even a combination of several of these.

Create your selection

The Magic Wand tool is the fastest way and it works well with single-colored backgrounds, however, it is often not perfect. So make sure to go with the option or a combination of options that will give you the best results. If you are dealing with an object with poorly defined edges, such as hair in the wind or furry animals or fluffy toys, you will need to use advanced settings to get great results.

Step 3. Delete the background

Delete the background

Once you have made a good and detailed selection of the background you can delete it by simply pressing the “Delete” button on your keyboard. If you have selected an item, you can press Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy it into a new layer or press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+i to select the background and then delete it.

Step 4. Save your file/Save your image in the proper web-ready format

Save your image in the proper web-ready format

It depends on what type of work and final product are you working on, however, to make your background transparent, you will need to save you images as PNG. Usually, going with the best possible quality is the right way to go, however, if you need extra small-sized files and can afford to lose some quality, then chose a higher compression rate. You can save by going to the ‘File’ and ‘Save As’ or simply pressing the Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+S on your keyboard. From the file type select PNG, select the compression level (quality) on the prompt window and click save to finalize the process.

Save your file

Note: In some older versions of Photoshop, you will go to ‘File’ and then click the ‘File-Save for Web and Devices’.

Making parts of your object transparent

Let’s say you dealing with an object that has some transparent parts (a window for instance). Once you have your item isolated as per the above steps, you can go end select objects parts/areas that you want to be partially transparent (e.g.: a car or a wall with a window). So you must select the windows and then pressing Cmd/Ctrl+J to have in a new layer. While still having that selection, make sure to delete it on the item’s photo (make sure you have the item’s layer selected).

Then select the layer with the window and adjust the opacity level (this option is just above the layers display panel. Set it to a percentage that you fill is best. Then you can select the two layers (clicking the second one while holding down the Cmd/Ctrl), then right-click and select ‘Merge Layers’.

So when you ask yourself how to make an image transparent or how to make a transparent background in Photoshop, you must first determine if you want it 100% transparent (t.i. background removed) or do you maybe want to keep the background or parts of the object and set their transparency level to meet your needs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When selecting objects or removing their background, it is important to keep in mind that the initial background color plays some role. This greatly depends on the image quality and the lower the quality the blurrier the edges of the object will be. So, if an object doesn’t have extremely clear edges (which is only achieved by the top-quality cameras), the edges of the object will be affected by the background color. As such it is smart to use items that were taken from a white background on backgrounds with light color and images that were taken from the photos with a dark background on new backgrounds that are darker. Or you must invest additional time and effort into smoothing out the edges. That is just something to keep in mind.

Steps to create a transparent background for a logo in Photoshop

Logos come in various forms and shapes but normally they are constructed of some icons or shapes and some text (company name and in some cases slogan). If you are dealing with an experienced designer, you will get a logo file in the PNG (in a transparent format) in the first place. However, let’s assume that the log you are dealing with in on a plain background (normally white). If that is your case, you will have to perform a very similar process to the one describer in the previous section to extract the logo as the PNG file with transparent background and be able to use it on any type of image.

Step 1. Open your logo file in Photoshop

Open your logo file in Photoshop

This step can be done either by locating your file directly in its folder (the place where it’s stored) and right-clicking on it, then choose ‘Open with’, and finally select ‘Photoshop’. Or you can go into Photoshop, click File, then Open and locate and select the item within the Photoshop’s prompt window. Once selected, click the ‘Open’ button.

Open your logo file in Photoshop

The process is basically the same as in the previous section. Before you can start with the selection, you must turn the logo image into a Layer. Double click it and confirm the action.

Step 2. Make your background transparent

So now you have a logo file on a background (hopefully on a white or another single-color background) in front of you. If the background color is single-colored, then the easiest and the fastest way to perform the selection would be to use the Magic Wand tool and click the white background, then hold down the Shift key and click the background parts that are within the logo (if the logo has some sort of holes or letters with holes (e.g. O, P, R, B, D, Q, …).

Create your selection

If the Magic Wand tool is not doing a good enough job, use other selection tools or a combination of them as described in the previous section. You can go to Select in the menu bar and chose color select and select the background color, which is also a good and fast way. Whichever selection method you use, make sure to be precise and to have all the parts of the background (parts that are not part of the logo) selected.

 Make your background transparent - How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop

Once you have selected all areas of the background, you can simply press the Delete key (if you want to delete the background) or you can select the logo itself by pressing the Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I and then Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy logo into a new separate layer.

Step 3. Save your image as a PNG file

In order to create a separate logo file with a transparent background, you must save the file. If you have deleted the background than your logo is already prepared. However, if you have copied the selected logo into a new layer, you want to click the “eye” icon next to the initial layer (the one containing the background) to make it invisible.

Save your image as a PNG file - How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop

If the canvas size is much larger than the logo itself, you may use the Crop tool to remove some of the access canvas and fit it to the logo’s size.

Save your file/Save your image - How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop

If you only see the logo on a transparent background, you are ready to save the file. In order to make sure that the background remains transparent, you will need to save the logo as the PNG file. Go to ‘File’, then ‘Save as’ and selected the folder in which you want to save the logo. Before finalizing the process by clicking the ‘Save’ button, you must select the PNG file format from the drop-down menu at the bottom of the prompt window and name the file as you wish.

Now you have your logo on a transparent background and you may place it on any photo/image that you want to brand.


If we were to ask you again how to make a transparent background in Photoshop or how to make an image transparent you should now be able to answer those with confidence. Moreover, with access to Photoshop, you should be able to perform the action steps as well.

Of course, you will not get the best results if you are completely new to the process but with practice and better use of selection tools, you will learn to get amazing results.

However, to save a lot of time you can simply hire professional and experiences Photoshop experts like we have here at the Clipping Masking Photoshop and have them do all the background removal for you.

Warmest regards,

Clipping Masking Photoshop