Terms and Concepts of Photoshop Background Removal You Need To Know

Terms and Concepts of Photoshop Background Removal

One of my friends started an e-commerce webstore one year back.  His photographer used to use the pictures of the products on a white background.  He used his high-end camera for the pictures.  Recently, my friend employed a graphic design firm for background removal of white wallpaper background with an absolute white background using Photoshop.  This has increased his sales of the products substantially.  So he told me the matter on the coffee table.  He asked me to know the reason what caused the sale to increase.  As a Photoshop professional, the answer to his question was simple.

The natural white background most of the time has some over highlighting or shadows in different parts of the background.  Although, it may seem like a clean white background, when we replace the background with an absolutely even white background using graphics software like Photoshop, the product stands out more loudly.  The product becomes more highlighted and focused, without any distractions caused by the background.  So we can understand that even if the background is less distracting, a total even background makes the product more highlighted and eye-catching.

Customers See What Picture is displayed on the Online Stores

From the customers’ perspective, they have to rely upon the displayed pictures to choose a product while they are shopping online.  It’s not like background removal is important for the e-commerce websites only, other mediums of advertisements and marketing such as newspapers, magazines, billboards, brochures, and flyers all can benefit from this technique.  But for e-commerce stores, it is required the most.  Advertisement is all about injecting the product and messages into the minds of the prospective buyers.  Background removal and other techniques of Photoshop play a vital role to make the product alluring to the customers.

So We Need Background Removal / Replacement

Thus, now we understand the importance of background removal for product pictures.  Now, we may want to know about the techniques and tools used for background removal/replacement.  You can remove or replace the backgrounds of your products in many ways.  Following is a brief description of the terms and tools used to remove the background.

Clipping Path

Clipping Path is an outline vector path (line) drawn along the edge of a product or object.  The technique of background removal that produces the highest quality outputs is the clipping path technique.  After drawing the line or clipping path with the use of a pen tool we can cut out the image from its background. Cutting out the object and making a new layer with the object on a transparent background is the removal of the background. Now, we can set any background beneath the cutout object’s layer.  This is background replacement.

Deep Etch

Sometimes, we come across the term deep etch while talking about background removal.   It is simply the technique of using clipping paths to remove any part of a picture.  Backgrounds in our case.  It can be anything other than background.

Pen Tool

The pen tool is a very useful and powerful tool of Photoshop.  We use it to make the outline, clipping path, or deep etch around a figure or product in a photo.  To do the background removal with a high-quality pen tool is used to make smooth outlines.  We can make smother outlines using a pen tool than other techniques of creating outlines.  Professional Photoshop experts prefer to use pen tool whenever it is necessary to produce high-quality outputs. Using a pen tool is a bit complicated for beginners.  But experienced graphic designers can play with it efficiently.


Masking is a non-destructive process to remove the background.  One advantage of masking is that we can later include or exclude areas to our cutout portion of the photo.  It gives us the chance to fine-tune the selection of areas later, if necessary.  Generally, masking is done after making a selection using the pen tool or any other option suitable or efficient for the particular situation.

Lasso Tool

Lasso tool is a very basic type of selection tool.  It is appropriate for quickly selecting an area roughly.  But for precise selection, it is very difficult to use.  It is a quick method of rough selection useful for purposes other than background removal. There are three variants of the lasso tool – lasso, polygonal lasso, magnetic lasso.

Magic Wand

If there is a high degree of contrast between the product/object and the background the magic wand tool is the fastest tool of selection.  Even though in most cases, it fails to select cleanly and smoothly, for some works other than background removal, it may be preferred for its speed if the accuracy of selection does not affect the quality of output.  It has a variant called the quick selection tool.

Background Erase Tool

It also may be possible to remove the background with the Background Erase Tool found as an Eraser tool option.  Also, it is applicable if the contrast is higher.  But the quality of the output cannot be as high as selecting with the pen tool.

Which Tool is the Best?

So can we say “East or West Pen Tool is the best for selection if you are a master of using it”?  I think, yes, we can say like this.

Who Needs Background Removal?

  • Photographers
  • E-commerce websites
  • Pre-press company
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Catalogs
  • Brochures
  • Billboards
  • Posters
  • Flyers, etc.

This is just to give you some ideas regarding background removal and related tools and techniques.  The selection part or doing the Clipping Path is a tedious work of the process.  So you can hire a graphic design firm for this job.  Our expert professionals at Color Experts International will be happy to do this or any type of Photoshop and graphic design works with high quality and competitive price.  We have a dedicated 24/7 customer care facility for your convenience.

You can try our quality with our Free Trial Offer for 2 images.  If you become happy with our quality and price, you can award us your jobs and get relaxed regarding the photo editing services you need.  Cheers!

Learn More Resource: how to make background transparent in photoshop