Hello Friends, its me again! Today, using Photoshop, we are gonna be doing one of the most basic things anyone would want to be able to do.  Assuming you have a picture… No, scratch that; a “perfect picture”,  great smile, the right pose and all the curves in the right places! But there’s just that awkward person or picture spoiler right behind you and you are sad cos you have to delete that great shot… Well, don’t! Photoshop offers a set of elite tools at your disposal to remove and replace that unwanted background.

Tools For Removing Backgrounds


elite background removal toolsThese tools (in the order above) include: Magic Wand Tool, Polygon Lasso Tool, Magic Eraser Tool, Background Eraser Tool and Pen Tool. We are gonna be exploring them one after the other. The Quick Selection Tool could also be used in making selections for removing and replacing backgrounds but is usually less precise especially when working with low quality/pixelated images and images which the target’s edges are not clearly defined. Okay, enough yapping…Let’s get started!!!

  • Removing Background with the Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand Tool seems to work the best when you have a simple image that has a solid or well defined background behind it. The idea behind this tool is isolate the color in a layer. All you need to do is click on the  and use it to remove the background leaving only the image behind.



First, you go to the layer panel on the right hand side and unlock the background layer by double clicking on the mini padlock and renaming the layer.


Unlock the layer











Then you move to the tools panel right click and select the Magic Wand Tool, located underneath the quick selection tool.

Select magic wand tool











Select it and bring the cursor over to your picture.

On your tool bar you will see tolerance, which should be set at 32, then following that is the anti alias, contiguous, and sample all layers.  Be sure to check the box in front of each of them. What the 32 refers to is that the Magic Wand chooses 32 shades of the color it is sitting on.  That is 32 shades higher and 32 lower.

select tolerance








Then all you have to do is simply click somewhere in the background, and you will see a selection made around the edges of your image, as well as at the edges of the background.

click image to select


Notice darker shades next to parts of the image, for a more definite selection, you will change the tolerance to 60, click on the background again the whole background is selected.

click image again wit tolerance 60


After this is done, press the delete or backspace button on your keyboard. A “Fill” window should appear on the screen which allows you fill the selected areas on the image. Pressing Shift+F1 should do same too. Select a colour of choice and click ok. The entire selected area should now change to the selected colour

  • Replacing Background

To use an image in your gallery as a background, instead of pressing delete or backspace on the keyboard, press Ctrl+Shift+I to invert selection to the actual target and Ctrl+J to extract selection thereby creating a new layer named Layer 1. Click on File in the toolbar and go down to Place… Select a background of choice and adjust accordingly. Click Enter.

Go to the layers panel and drag the newly created layer under Layer 1.

Voila!!! There you have it! You have successfully changed a background using the Magic Wand Tool.

You can get the exercise files for this tutorial in the download section of this website or just click here

Feel free to post screenshots of your work here and ask questions where necessary.


You’ve got it in one. Con’ludt have put it better.

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