Tutorial

Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro

Removing the background from a photo is one of the basic skills for a graphic designer. Today we show you how you can do it directly in your browser using Pixlr Pro.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro

Here’s How to Remove the Background From a Photo in Pixlr Pro

Open Pixlr Pro and open your file either by dragging it directly to the work area or by going to File > Open. In this tutorial, I’ll be using this photo of a bald eagle.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
Press Control-1 to zoom the image to its original size. This will allow you to see all the details. Find the Lasso Select (L) and select one of the options. If you have a graphics tablet, you can use the classic Lasso Select. If you’re using a mouse, it will be easier for you to use the Magnetic Lasso Select. Here I’ll show you how to use the latter.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
Place the cursor over the spot where you want your selection to start and click.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
Drag your cursor along the intended selection outline. Pixlr Pro should automatically find the borders you’re outlining, but if you want to help it, “anchor” the selection from time to time by clicking—especially in the corners and around sharp turns.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
But some objects don’t have neat borders like this. In our case, the feathers have a blurry part that blends with the background. If you encounter an issue like this, try to outline only the edge that you’re sure about. We’ll take care of the rest later!
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
Once you go around the whole object, simply click the first point to close the selection.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
Sometimes it’s necessary to remove a part from the selection. In such case select the third option on the upper bar…
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
… and outline the parts you don’t want within your selection.
Remove The Background From A Photo In Pixlr Pro
If you’re happy with your initial selection, click Refine Edge.

A new window will open. Here you can adjust the edge of the selection to make it more natural. First, change the thickness of the automatic softening border so that it was just soft enough.

On the right, you can change the background of the preview to better see the effects of your adjustments. Feel free to switch the background color anytime you need.

The most important tool here is the brush. Pick something soft and comfortable that you can control easily with the mouse or the graphics tablet.

Use this brush to paint over the edges that you want to soften. The advanced algorithms of Pixlr Pro will add your strokes to the selection. Don’t worry if the final result is not as precise as you’d like—it can still be adjusted later!


If you think that your selection looks mostly as intended, select the output to Raster Mask and press OK.

Our selection may look nice with no background, but we need to test it yet. Create a New Layer under the object and fill it with white using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

If you noticed any undesired artifacts, don’t worry—here’s the time to fix it! Click on the mask of the layer to edit it.

Select a soft brush. If you’re using a mouse, make sure that the Flow is set to less than 100% to give you more flexibility.

When painting on a mask, black strokes make the layer transparent, and white—opaque. This allows you to “paint-in” the parts that hadn’t been selected, and “paint-out” the parts that had been selected by mistake. Spend as much time in this step as necessary to create a perfect selection.

If you want to be 100% sure that your selection is perfect, repeat the same step with a black background…

… and a grey one. This will allow you to prepare your object for every background.

And we’re done! Now you know how to isolate an object from its background in Pixlr Pro in a clean, professional way.

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