Perfectly removing a white background

Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2014

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This might help someone else.  I am also writing this so I remember it.  This procedure makes a flat photoshop document with all white removed as if the document were a layer with blend type "Multiply".  You can then paint white behind it to make non-translucent sections for overlaying with other things (in other programs or web stuff), but the edges will be perfect with no loss of detail.

  1. Open the doc (RGB mode only)
  2. Make a new layer, fill it with full red.  Invert it (Cmd-i).It'll go cyan.
  3. Make a layer, fill it with green.  Invert it, so it goes magenta.
  4. Make another layer, fill with blue, invert to make yellow.
  5. Turn off the new layers so you can only see your original.
  6. Go to the channels palette.
  7. Create three new blank channels. They'll be black.
  8. Command-click the Red channel.  This will make a selection.  Change to your first new channel, and fill that selection with white.
  9. Do the same thing for the green channel, into your second new custom channel.
  10. Do the same for the blue channel, into the third custom one.
  11. Control click your first custom channel (with the selection from the red layer). Invert the selection (command-shift-i). Go to your new red layer (which is now cyan), and apply the selection as a mask (by clicking the mask button).
  12. Do again using custom channel 2, onto the new Green (changed to Magenta) layer.
  13. And again, from channel 3, into the Blue (now Yellow) layer.
  14. Set all 3 of your layers to blend type "Multiply"
  15. Turn off any other layers.

Done.  If you need to, make a new layer under, and paint white to make any sections you want opaque.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Jan 31, 2014

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Reading your steps I would think that step 11 the Ctrl+Shift+I invert would pop up a message that no pixels were selected. for the Ctrl+Clicking the Alpha  channels should select all pixels since all were filled with white. If your original new documwnt had a white background. For the Red. Green and Blue channels would be all white.

JJMack

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 01, 2014

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Hi JJMack.  Thanks for the comment.  Perhaps I should have more clearly stated in step 1 that you should open a document containing an image with a white background, from which you would like to drop all the white.  AT the completion of the process, your document should look something like this....

Screen Shot 2014-02-01 at 10.27.10 pm.PNG

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 01, 2014

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Looks like you loose white inside your subject as well. There are plug-ins like "Kill white" that will also do that also without all the layers.. You could also automate your process using Photoshop action support, Then your memory just need to remember the action name and where you store the action. The action may also generate some warning massages about the number of pixels selected. Since I do use Kill White Plug-in once in a while and it only a 32bit Plug-in I recorded your solution into an action however I merged your three layers into a layer name Kill White. So I can use it the Photoshop 64 bit version. However complex edges will have bleed for the white will not be 100% white in the fringe areas.

http://mikes3d.com/extra/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/apple.png

http://mikes3d.com/extra/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/drawing.png

http://mikes3d.com/extra/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/flower1.png

Capture.jpg

Trying to use for an extraction still produces bleed in the fring areas

Capture.jpg

Adding a new background replacement on top add a mask to that the cutsmask  some hair and the the fring, Hair can be recovered by change the replament layer blending mode to multiply for the original white background will change nothing but the hair masked off will blend in and darken composite. The white fringe will not darken the composite.

Capture.jpg

Message was edited by: JJMack

Capture.jpg

JJMack

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Feb 02, 2014

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If you want the actions I created you can download then here. I use a script in a couple so I included it in the zip file. I failed to post the link yesterday there was a problem on my web host service,

http://www.mouseprints.net/old/dpr/KillWhiteActions.zip

JJMack

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Community Beginner ,
Sep 17, 2014

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JJMack Thanks for the actions and all the useful info and experimentation! 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 02, 2017

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works perfectly. thanks JJMack​ !!!!

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New Here ,
May 04, 2018

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Hey jjmack, I am left with a transparent background...how do I fill in the background with white after funning this script

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New Here ,
Nov 09, 2016

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Thank you so much for taking the time to write detailed instructions which were easy to follow.  The steps worked perfectly and I get to keep my eyesight! 

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 23, 2020

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Simple but effective.  Great advice, thank you

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 25, 2020

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Superb thank you!

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2020

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Utterly works, perfectly! Thank you so much

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