OSX Tip: 1 Using preview to remove backgrounds

August 1, 2012

As OSX progresses I have noticed the built in functionality is getting better and better. For the next few posts I will be highlighting built in features of OSX that not may people know about. This little tips and tricks will help you  simplify your workflows and make you more productive! For years I have used Photoshop to remove backgrounds on images so they are translucent / clear. Instead of opening up Photoshop, here is a quick and easy way to remove backgrounds from images in OSX.

To get started open up an image in Preview.

(If you have not changed your default program for images Preview should automatically open the image.)

 Select the “Select” dropdown (it looks like a square made of dotted lines) in this drop down you will see a magic wand and an “Instant Alpha” item in the list. Click on the Instant Alpha button.

It will seems as though nothing has happened what you have to do is drag your cursor from left and right to fine tune your selection. (You can see this in the video below) after you have your selection you will see a black and white dotted line come up. It will look like ants are marching around your image.

If you are happy with your selection hit the delete button to remove the background. If the image was a jpeg you may get a warning saying jpegs cannot have translucent backgrounds, just click the option for duplicate to PNG.

For a step by step walkthrough you can watch the video below:

If you have any questions or have issues feel free to email me at tj at tjhouston.com