Remove Background from any Design (EASY STEPS)

This guide will show you how to remove the background from your Design with few easy steps, Links to free tools and why is it necessary.

  1. What exactly is a background
  2. How to remove it
  3. Create a design without background
  4. How to save your file correctly

What Exactly Is A Background

When we mention the name Background of your design/artwork, we intend the area behind your image that you do not always want to use for printing.

In case of the above image, we created a simple red text, on the right side you can see the image with a clear white background still attached, this will print on your garment if you supplied the image in this state.

On the left, we can see the exact same red text, but without the white background, all software still has to show something on your screen, even if the background is not there anymore, so it is displayed as an always changing white & grey chequer pattern.

How-to-remove-background from t-shirt design

How To Remove It

The way you remove a background always comes to selecting the area you do not want to use and simply deleting it. To do so, you first have to select the unwanted parts you want to remove using various tools.

Below you will find a list of the easiest and most effective ways to select the background from your design with easy steps to follow.

This guide is meant to be very simple and easy to follow which is why we will not include any difficult to follow methods since more often than not you can do the job using only those simple methods. With very little time you can master each tool and use them all depending on your situation.

Free Software

Before you start removing any background you must install an image manipulating software that is capable of doing so.

We recommend Photoshop (20£ a month subscription) or a totally Free to use Gimp which works in the same way as photoshop. We will be using Photoshop in this guide. Click on the gimp link to reach the main download page of the software. It is very famous and used worldwide, so there are thousands of YouTube videos on just about anything you want to accomplish using this software, if you decide on learning more about it.


Color Range Tool

The above image shows you a very fast way to delete a background when your image is very simple, like a text or design without many colours and details.

  1. Open the SELECT tab.
  2. Click on COLOR RANGE… first thing you will have to do is select which colour you are trying to remove by simply selecting it from your image, we clicked once on the white are in our example.
  3. Add a FUZZINESS amount based on the type of image you have and press OK (amount is usually 80-100)

This process will select all white pixels present in our image. We used this process to create the second image in this guide. The final step is to press the DELETE key on your keyboard. You can play with the FUZZINESS amount to see which fits your image better.

Fuzziness option will select more pixels closer to your originally selected one based on the number you input. Higher the number, the more pixels will be selected, if you add 200 then all pixels will be selected in your image.

Lower the number, less pixels will be selected, if you add 0, only pixels with the exact value of your selected one will be selected. There is a small box with a handy preview that will show you how much of your image you will be selecting.

The method described can also be used in reverse, you select the Red text based on the colour, create a new layer and fill in your selection with the desired colour. This way you will have the design on a separated layer and you can disable the rest of the layers before saving your file. This method will only work on designs that use a single colour and might not be the best option for more complex backgrounds.


Quick Selection Tool

This tool is located on the left side of your photoshop screen, there are 3 different versions, we advise to use the Quick Select Tool, same as in our example above.

It works very similar to a brush tool in any image altering software, just in this case you don’t paint over the image but select the pixels you go over.

It selects similar colour pixels in the area, so in our case all we had to do was click and slide it over the white background once and it selected all white pixels around our image. However, it did not select the white areas inside the individual letters, as seen in the above image, since they were separated from the background with red colour pixels.

This tool works perfectly for more complex images such as a portrait, by slowly going around someone’s hair you can remove any background with ease.


Remove background Manually

Instead of using automatic tools that select pixels for you, sometimes you will encounter images that simply do not allow you to be precise so you will have to do the job manually.

For this work you can use the LASSO tool located on the left side, as shown in the above image. There are 3 different versions available, all 3 are great and we advise to test them so you can find out exactly which is best for your needs.

  • LASSO version simply allows you to draw a selection using the left click of your mouse.
  • POLYGONAL LASSO, like the picture above, will draw a straight line in between each click you make to form your selection.
  • MAGNETIC LASSO, just as the name suggests, will work on the same basis of polygonal lasso however, it will automatically position the lines closer to your selection based on the pixels present around the area you click.

All 3 versions are great and can help you a lot. If you need to select areas by drawing a predetermined shape, then click on the tool above lasso, called MARQUEE TOOL. It helps select very similar areas so we did not include it on its own in our list.


Create A Design Without Background

The best option is to create a design from scratch that doesn’t have a background to begin with, this way you avoid having to remove it later on.

This is very simple and fast to do if you only have a simple text as an image, it will give you a much better end result and consume the same amount of time it would take to remove the background from your already created design.

Open a new window in your software, you will see a single layer named BACKGROUND, by default this layer will be locked so you cannot disable it, here is what you must do:

  1. Double click on the BACKGROUND layer name.
  2. Press OK. This will turn your background layer into a normal layer.
  3. Now this layer can be simply hidden, or deleted, just before saving your file by clicking the EYE ICON.
  4. This is a separate method, drag and drop the LOCK ICON inside the RUBISH BIN ICON down below, after this you can hide or delete the layer all together.

Note, there must always be at least 1 layer in your workspace at all times, this means you won’t be able to delete your background layer until you have created a new separated layer.


How To Save Your File Correctly

Once you have finished creating your artwork or deleting the background, it is very important to know that you must save it using the correct file type, or all your work will be lost.

DO NOT save your artwork as a JPEG, this is the same file type all your phone images are saved in. JPEGs are commonly used because they are much smaller in size compared to other file types, however they don’t save the TRANSPARENCY information (this is the empty space in your image with no pixels).

This means all the work you put into selecting and deleting your background will be lost and filled in with white colour upon saving. To avoid this issue you must select PNG instead (we recommend always using PNG) or TIFF, since those types of files will save your TRANSPARENCY information, this way your background will not be filled in with white colour.

  1. Make sure your background is disabled or deleted. (The example above still has the background) Open the FILE tab and click on SAVE AS…
  2. Open the SAVE AS TYPE drop down menu and chose PNG from the list.

Sometimes you will not see PNG as an option, this is because you must be working with RGBs colours. Here is how to fix this:

  1. Open the IMAGE drop down menu from the top.
  2. Expand the first window called MODE
  3. Select RGB COLOR

Go ahead and save your file, PNG should be now available in the drop down menu.

It is this simple to save your work, however, it’s very crucial to choose the right file format for all your work as it can be lost in a single click. We also advise to save your original work file in the PSD format, this way all information will be saved and if you need to make future changes you can access your original file directly and not have to do everything all over again.

All print shops will accept, and even prefer, PSD since this gives them the ability to save the image in the preferred file type used by their equipment.

It can be time consuming at times to remove a background, and even if you master the easy techniques we showed you, you might still need extra help with your Image.

In case you want our expert team to help you, then Click This Link and get in touch with our London print shop to have your background removed. We charge from 5£ to 15£ per background removal based on the time it takes and difficulty of the job, most of our work is around 5£ so don’t worry as it is not very expensive.