Articles, Blog

Gimp: Remove The Background And Make It Transparent

January 24, 2020

In this Gimp Workshop tutorial for beginners, we are going to remove the background from an image and make it transparent. When we have opened Gimp, we go to file in the menu bar. Then we go to open. Search for the image that we want to use and open it. There is a download link in the video description
for the image used in this tutorial. When your image does not fit in the window, you can go to view, zoom and fit image in window. Go to layer, transparency and hit add alpha channel. In the layers panel we can see that the font
changes from bold to normal. This indicates that this layer now can have transparency. Although we are going to remove the background,
we are first going to select our subject. There are many ways in which we can do this. One of the easiest ways is by using the free select tool. Click in the toolbox to make it active. Hold the Ctrl key and zoom in by rolling the mouse wheel. We can click node after node to select our
subject. But when you have a steady hand, you can also
click and drag to make a line. Pressing the backspace key, lets us undo one
or more previous made nodes. Then we can just continue. When we press and hold the mouse wheel down,
the cursor changes into the move tool. We can then, by moving the mouse, move the image. Letting go of the mouse wheel gives us the
free select tool again. This moving of the image, can of course also
be done with the scroll bars. Usually it is best to stay just a little bit
inside the boundaries of our subject, when we make a selection. Selecting hair can be a bit difficult, but
later on we will see how we can make it look better in this particular image. When we are at the bottom of our image, we can just click outside the image and move to the other side. For the sake of the tutorial we will speed
up the video until we are back at the first node. Now we click the last node over the first node. Then hit enter or double click in the selection to apply it. Go to view, zoom and click on fit image in window. With this image, there are several areas inside
the selection that we also have to remove. Go to the tool options. At the mode we click on the third button,
which is subtract from current selection. Select the remaining areas in the same way
as you did with the girl and the suitcase. And again, we go fast forward. Click Ctrl+Sift+J to fit the image in the window. Go to select and click on feather. We feather the selection line with 5 pixels,
and click okay. In this way the edge of our selection is not so hard, but looks more natural. We have now selected the object, but we want
to remove the background. Go to select and click on invert. We can see at the marching ants at the edge
of the image, that the background instead of the girl is selected. Then we go to edit and click on clear to remove the background. The checker board structure that we see now,
is the transparency. Go to select and hit none, to deselect the selection. Now we will work a bit on the hair, to make it look more natural. Go to the toolbox and make the smudge tool active. Then we choose brush bristles 02. Change the size to about 15 or 20. This depends also on the size of our image. Bigger image means bigger brush. Smaller image means smaller brush. Smudge the edge of the hair like so, to make it look more natural. When this is done we go to view again. Click on zoom and fit image in window. Now to finish of, we are going to export our image out of Gimp. Go to file and click on export as. Contrary to what you would expect, we have to go to export or export as and not to save or save as. Here we can search for the destination folder. And here we can give it a name, but do not
hit enter yet. Images with transparency always have to be exported with a PNG extension to keep the transparency. So click on select file type, scroll down to PNG image and click on it. The extension behind the image name is now changed to png. You can also just type in the extension behind the image name. Now we can click export. And in the dialog that pops up, we can just
click export again. And that is how you do it. I hope this helps. Please take a moment to give it thumbs up
and leave a comment. Thanks for watching.


  • Reply Ray November 20, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Using a child to demonstrate this walks a very fine line. I feel as though this is exploitation.

  • Reply not tiarnan November 20, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Doesn't work

  • Reply Jim Dart November 21, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Absolutely incredible. Two days looking for an easy to understand, easy to follow tutorial on this and here you are making it so simple in less than 7 minutes. The other tutorials want to make this way over complicated. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Mik Parker November 22, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Today I have looked at numerous tutorials for background removal and got pretty stressed with either the way it was presented or the music. This one ticks all the right boxes, the voice is so relaxing. Thank you so much for this video. I have liked, subscribed and shared. Great work

  • Reply Breazie November 23, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    i dont have add alpha channel 🙁

  • Reply Ken's Homestead November 24, 2019 at 1:29 am


  • Reply Vince Wang November 25, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Great explanation. And I love your voice, so warming!

  • Reply Jorge Toledo November 27, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Thanks a lot, a clear explanation, thanks

  • Reply Robley November 28, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    this tutorial is great! but uhh… can somebody help me with the part after you select the girl? I did everything but it won't let me select the inside.

  • Reply The Wrongness November 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Very helpful! Thank you. Cheers. 🙂

  • Reply Matthew Bennett December 1, 2019 at 8:29 pm


  • Reply Benjamin December 2, 2019 at 7:16 am

    great video, thank you

  • Reply kefbeats December 2, 2019 at 9:22 am

    wow this was very useful for a beginner like me. Thank You

  • Reply Tallen Cox December 2, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    I am in awe at how well-made this tutorial is. Great pacing, clear instructions, relevant explanations. I even liked the music.

  • Reply TDS seventy-five December 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Kliksphilip for gimp?

  • Reply G8M8N8 December 11, 2019 at 1:42 am

    laughs in Paint 3D

  • Reply Simon Sackett December 11, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    I've searched through so many Gimp tutorials on Youtube – I think I've finally found 'the one'! Thank you.

  • Reply RJZ TV December 12, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks thats was simple enough, just starting to use Gimp.

  • Reply Paulus December 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Could you please tell me what music this is

  • Reply John Beel December 15, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you very much for this very clear, step by step tutorial. A person cannot go wrong if they simply follow your steps.
    I look forward to more of your tutorial videos.

  • Reply William Francke December 16, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Excellent. Easy to follow along with, which I did, and resolved a headache for me! Thanks.

  • Reply Jalal Uddin December 18, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    thank you so much for teach us your are so great sir love s
    from turkey

  • Reply Len Kaiser December 21, 2019 at 8:34 pm

    Wow that is actually easier than doing this in Photoshop 🙂

  • Reply Robert Vlog TV December 23, 2019 at 8:19 am

    thank you for the tutorial very informative clear teacher.

  • Reply Johnny Wahlgren December 24, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Hej ! Finns Gimp på Svenska ?

  • Reply Fa Gyu December 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

    when i press clear it just paint the whole thing the background red

  • Reply Michael W. December 28, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Beautiful step by step friend, thank you

  • Reply Lᴀʙʜᴘʙ32 December 30, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Amazing 👍🏻

  • Reply SuperChelo January 1, 2020 at 5:36 pm


  • Reply razfellow January 2, 2020 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you, great demonstration!

  • Reply HourADayGamer January 4, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Without a doubt the best tutorial out there for background removal!

  • Reply Bring Your Own Brilliance January 7, 2020 at 5:15 am

    I am a frustrated amateur artist transitioning from to GIMP. I am happy I found your easy-to-follow tutorial. My goal is to prepare my art for t-shirt designs. Thank you. Best wishes to You for every success in 2020.

  • Reply Gaurav More January 7, 2020 at 7:39 am

    thank you so much sir. for this amazing content

  • Reply Johnny Ortega January 9, 2020 at 2:18 am

    You, sir, are a genius. Thanks for the help.

  • Reply Web Creatos New Zealand January 9, 2020 at 10:32 am


  • Reply MomsMustache January 14, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Thank you so much. Very straight forward and helpful.

  • Reply Dee Dee January 14, 2020 at 10:33 am

    The background turned white instead of transparent 🙁

  • Reply MFK January 16, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Brilliant tuition. Thank you.

  • Reply ltvagabond January 17, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Great, straight forward walkthrough. thank you!

  • Reply slavike January 19, 2020 at 11:45 am

    it won't let me add alpha channel, the button is not clickable

  • Reply Phillip Bell January 20, 2020 at 2:20 am

    Edit->Clear does nothing. I added an alpha channel. I selected and inverted, I can see the rectangle highlighted as well as the image, so I know I have the correct part of the image selected. I selected "Edit->Clear". It does nothing. I'm on a Mac with Gimp 2.10. The "delete" button, the "Edit-Clear" and all of these things do nothing. The transparency does nothing. It's a PNG image.

  • Reply Manzoo January 20, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    Image selection background turned white instead of transparent. How do I change the background to transparent?

  • Reply Lucie January 20, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    I wind up with a white background;
    what am I doing wrong?

  • Reply Leotheepic January 22, 2020 at 3:16 am

    only used 3 seconds of this but its exactly what i needed thank you

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