Gimp: Make background transparent and remove it – Here's how

Gimp: Make background transparent and remove it – Here's how

You can easily remove the background of an image in Gimp or make it transparent. This guide will show you what to do in just a few steps.

If you free a motif from its background, i.e. make the background transparent or delete it, then this is called "freeing" in image editing. This is quick and easy with a solid background. However, the more detail there is in your subject and background, the more fiddly the work gets. But don't worry, we'll show you how to proceed in both cases.

Caution!

It is best to save transparent backgrounds in PNG format. If you save your image as a JPEG, the transparency of the motif disappears again because the format does not support alpha channels.

Gimp: Make and remove solid background transparent

  1. Open the image in Gimp whose background you want to remove.
  2. Go to "Layer" > "Transparency" > "Add Alpha Channel" in the menu bar.
  3. Now select the "Select by color" tool in the menu bar under "Tools" > "Selection tools".
  4. Click on the background with the tool so that it is selected. Now you can delete the background by clicking on the "Del" key. You should now see a checkerboard pattern instead of the background. This is the placeholder for the transparent background.
  5. Export your image as a PNG file to save the transparent background.

Gimp: Make and remove multicolored background transparent

  1. Open the image in Gimp whose background you want to remove.
  2. Then go to "Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel" in the menu bar.
  3. Now select the "Free selection" tool in the menu bar under "Tools > Selection tools".
  4. With this tool you now have to cut out the desired motif manually. The best way to do this is to zoom into the image so that you can see the outline of the object to be cut out and move along it with the selection tool. The more thoroughly you work here, the more beautiful the cut motif will be in the end.
  5. When you're done cutting, move your mouse pointer back to the menu bar and go to "Selection" > "Invert". Now you can use the "Del" key to delete the background. The checkerboard pattern appears in place of the background.
  6. Now export your image as a PNG file to save the transparent background.

Summary

  • Make a solid background transparent and delete it: Open image > Layer > Transparency > Add alpha channel > Tools > Selection tools > Select by color > Highlight background and press Delete > Save image as PNG.
  • Make and remove multicolored background transparent: Open image > "Layer > Transparency > Add alpha channel > Tools > Selection tools > Free selection > Cut out motif manually > Select > Invert" > press "Delete" key > Save image as PNG.

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