Advanced Background Removal Method in Photoshop

In this video, Colin Smith from PhotoshopCAFE demonstrates an advanced and highly accurate method for removing a subject from the background in Photoshop.

There are so many methods for masking in Photoshop and there are more basic and more advanced methods and tools for extracting a subject from the background, some are more simple and basic and others – like the one Smith demonstrates in this video are more complex and time-consuming but has much more accurate results for a professional outcome.

The first step of this method is to do a rough selection (you can use any tool you want including the new “select subject” tool) and then choose select>modify>contract by about 10 points. Make sure that selection didn’t miss anything and save the selection.

Next, go to the channels and choose the blue (if the background is a light background go for blue and if the background is dark go-to reds), duplicate the blue channel and press CTRL on the layer that you previously created and this will load the selection. now press CTRL and delete (when black is the background color) to delete what you selected.

Now you are going to use dodge and burn to remove the background and make the selection as contrasty as possible. This is basically a play with black and white. Go over the brighter areas until they are completely white (with an eraser or dodge tool) and use the burn tool to go over the edges of your selection to make everything super sharp and edgy on your selection. This is not complex but it can be time-consuming depending on how complex your selection is and how accurate you want to be.

There are more tips in the video like fine-tuning shadows and hair selection but the final step is to load the mask by hitting the CTRL (turn off the channels you worked on and re-select the RGB channels) and inverse the mask by clicking the ALT and the mask icon and you have your cutout.

If you still have a few things missing choose the mask and use a black or white color brush to remove/add them).

Again – this is a time consuming but a very granular method. We have looked at more basic techniques for the selection and masking here on LensVid – see here for more.

You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can find more PhotoshopCAFE videos here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.


  1. Amazing technique. Thank you for showing us the advanced method, now time to go and practice. Hopefully, many people benefited to learn this technique.

  2. Thank you for sharing this nice post. I really appreciated that, Hope it will be helpful for others who search for the best resource about it.

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