This GIMP (GNU) tutorial demonstrates how to remove an image’s background using the Fuzzy Select Tool. To work along, you are welcome to download the Start Image I am working with Here. Unzip the file and open the image onto GIMP’s workspace.
You can quickly Undo a step at any time by pressing Ctrl then Z. Alternatively, click a previous Undo History snapshot - Windows then Dockable Dialogues then click Undo History. In addition, to Zoom in (or Zoom out) of your image; from the top menu, choose View then select a Zoom Tool from the subsequent drop-down list.
Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes
Open your choice of Start Image onto GIMP’s workspace - File then Open - Ctrl then O.
Ensure the Layers and the Undo History Palettes are visible, and then drag them into position over your workspace - (Windows then Dockable Dialogues - then click Layers and Undo History).
2/ Add An Alpha Channel
Now, from the Layers Palette: right-click over the Background Layer and from the subsequent drop-down list, click Add Alpha Channel. Your Layers Palette and image will not change their appearance.
Now, from the left-side Toolbox, activate the Fuzzy Select Tool.
And from the left-side Options Box, set the following Add to current selection Mode and Threshold 22 settings.
The settings above are perfect for the image I am working with. However, when working with your photographs, it’s important to experiment with the Fuzzy Select settings, and discover a combination of settings that works best for your photograph’s requirements.
Now, left-click once over your photograph - as illustrated below.
Now, you are looking to isolate just the Flower and Stem with a Selection Marquee; (moving dotted lines). Therefore, because you have set the Mode to Add to current selection - go straight ahead and continue left-clicking over the following areas to remove the unwanted moving dotted lines.
Tip: Step Backwards
If you make an error, or your image doesn’t look right, press Ctrl then Z to go back a step or two, and reapply the Fuzzy Select Tool. Remember, you are looking to isolate just the Flower and Stem with a Selection Marquee.
After you have “mopped up” all of the stray pixels, your image will resemble the following, and you are ready for the next step.
The Outer Rectangular Border and the Flower and Stem should be isolated by a Selection Marquee - as illustrated below.
From the top menu, choose Select and then choose Grow. And from the subsequent Grow Selection dialogue box, set a Grow selection by setting of 1, and then click OK.
For personal results, experiment with different Grow Selection values.
Again, from the top menu, choose Select and this time choose Feather. And from the subsequent Feather Selection dialogue box, set a Feather selection by setting of
3.000, and then click OK.
For personal results, experiment with different Feather Selection values.
It’s time to remove the Flower’s Background. Therefore, from the top menu, choose Edit and then choose Clear - or tap your Delete Key. Because you created an Alpha Layer at the beginning of this tutorial, after clicking Clear, the area inside the Outer Rectangular Shaped Selection Marquee, and the Flower and Stem (in other words the Background), will be removed.
Removing the background reveals the following Chessboard Transparency. The Chessboard Background is GIMP’s way of informing you that the background is Transparent.
Congratulations, you have successfully removed your flower’s background using the Fuzzy Select Tool.
To finish, from the top menu, choose Select and then choose None.
Drop Shadow Tip
My Tutorial Here demonstrates how to apply a Drop Shadow - Filters then Light and Shadow then Drop Shadow.
Blur Tool Tip
Ragged edges can be gently smoothed using the left-side Toolbox’s Blur Tool: setting a low Blur Rate.
Being careful not to blur the edges too severely, pass your cursor over ragged edges and gently smooth them away - as illustrated below.
Congratulations, your image is complete, and is ready to Crop to size, and to optimise and save.
Transparent GIF Tip
Link Here to learn how to save your Transparent Image as a Transparent GIF.
Fill Layer Tip
My Tutorial Here demonstrates how to create a Fill Layer and Fill it with either a Solid Colour, Pattern or a Gradient.
Now you are more familiar with this technique, you can have lots of fun removing backgrounds from your favourite images, objects, or photographs.
Wendi E. M. Scarth. Top of Page.