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    How to create a transparent background in GIMP

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    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort

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    What happens when you have to use an image with a messy background that you don't like? You can remove this background or make it transparent in the same way that you can eliminate all unwanted details in the background of the image or remove the background completely and replace it with something else.


    If you've used GIMP before, you'll know that this software makes creating quality images and designs extremely easy. Also, you don't need to be an advanced user to create a transparent background in GIMP. 



    Here are some simple methods you can use to remove the background of an image or make it transparent if you are a novice GIMP user. 

    How to remove the background from an online photo

    How to create a transparent background in GIMP

    Depending on the type of image, GIMP has a few different tools you can use to make the background transparent. Some are easier to use, while others require some GIMP experience. Choose the method you feel comfortable with and see if it works with your image. 


    How to make the background of the complex image transparent Complex

    One of the easiest ways to create a transparent background in GIMP is to use the Fuzzy Selection tool. Lets you select areas of an image based on color similarity. It will work great if the background of the image you are working with has different colors and textures that you need to erase.

    To make the image background transparent using Fuzzy Select, please follow the steps below.

    1. Open your image in GIMP.
    2. In the lower right corner of the screen, select the image level. Right-click and select Add alpha channel . This will ensure that you remove the transparent background and not black or white. If the option to add an alpha channel is grayed out, it means your image already has it and you are good to go.
    3. Select the tool Fuzzy selection from the toolbox in the upper left corner of the screen.
    4. Using Fuzzy Select, create a selection area using the subject or background of the image. Choose the one that is easier. Just click and drag around the subject (or background) and GIMP will create a smart selection. To manually add to this selection, press and hold Shift and continue to drag the cursor around the subject. To remove areas from the selection, press and hold Ctrl (for Windows) o Command (for Mac) as you drag the cursor around the subject. 
    5. If you have selected the background, select Delete (for Windows) o Modification > Clear (for Mac) to make the background of the image transparent. 
    6. If you have selected the object instead, go to Select > Invert first. Then continue to remove the background of the image. 

    You may need to repeat this process if your image has a complex background with different colors, objects and textures.




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    Another easy way to create a transparent background in GIMP is to use the Select by Color tool. This method is perfect if your image has a solid background made up of a single color. Select by Color also uses a smart selection that will help you remove the image background in seconds.

    To use Select by Color to create a transparent background, please follow the steps below.

    1. Open your image in GIMP.
    2. In the lower right corner of the screen, select the image level. Right-click and select Add alpha channel .
    3. Select the tool Select by color . If you can't find it in the toolbox in the upper left corner of the screen, right click on the tool Fuzzy selection and find it there. You can also select this tool using the keyboard shortcut Shift + O.
    4. Select the area of ​​the image background that you want to make transparent by clicking on it. To manually add to this selection, click and drag it to the right until the entire desired area is selected. To remove areas from the selection, click and drag to the left. You can also increase the selection by holding pressed Shift and clicking on a different area of ​​the image. 
    5. When you are satisfied with the selected area, select Delete (for Windows) o Modification > Clear (for Mac) to make the background transparent. 

    Similar to how you did with Fuzzy Select, you can create a selection from the subject of your image instead of the background. So go on Select > Invert and remove the background by selecting Delete (for Windows) o Modification > Clear (per Mac). 




    How to make the background of an image with a detailed subject transparent

    When you're working with an image that has a subject with a lot of small details, like strands of hair or clothing that you don't want to crop, use a foreground selection tool to remove the background and make it transparent.

    To create a transparent background in GIMP using foreground selection, follow the steps below. 

    1. Open your image in GIMP.
    2. In the lower right corner of the screen, select the image level. Right-click and select Add alpha channel .
    3. Select the tool Foreground selection . If you can't find it in the toolbox in the upper left corner of the screen, right click on the tool Free selection and find it there. 
    4. This time, use the tool to select the area with the subject instead of the background. With the tool selected, draw an outline around it. The outline does not have to be precise, a rough selection will do. 
    5. Select Submit on the keyboard to create a mask. You will see the background of the image turn dark blue and the subject light blue.
    6. To create a more precise outline of the subject, use a brush to paint it over. You can select the stroke width in the menu of featured selection on the left side of the screen to increase or decrease the brush size. 

    If there is an area within the subject that you don't want selected (or you want it to become transparent along with the background), in Drawing mode on the left side of the screen, select Draw background and use the brush to outline the area. 


    When you select the mode Draw unknown you can add any separate area of ​​the image to your subject if you don't want it to become transparent along with the rest of the background. 


    1. Select Preview mask in the pop-up window Foreground selection to see what the subject mask looks like in preview mode. 
    2. Once you are happy with your selection, select Submit on the keyboard or Select in the pop-up box to finalize it. 
    3. Go to Select > Invert to invert the selection.
    4. Select Delete (for Windows) o Modification > Clear (for Mac) to make the background transparent. 

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    Discover new ways to make a background transparent

    GIMP makes it easy to remove a background from almost any type of image. While we've only covered beginner methods here, once you become familiar with the software, you'll find that GIMP has more tools you can use to change your image's background. 

    If you are not a fan of GIMP, you can also use different software such as Photoshop to make the background of your photos transparent.

    Have you ever used GIMP to create a transparent background before? What method did you use? Share your experience of working at GIMP in the comments section below. 

    Further Reading:

    • How to change the background color of a blank image using the online editor
    • How to make Telegram stickers
    • How to remove the background from an image using the GIMP
    • How to remove the background with Paint 3D
    • 4 ways to change wallpaper on Android
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