Quick way to remove background without using lasso tool in Photoshop

As digital artists, sometimes your client will just give you a crappy badly compressed jpeg logo, telling you this is the best they have, and expect you to do miracle out of it. And with a flatten and rectangular jpeg image, it is so limited to extend your creativity with it. Of course you don’t want to spend too much time to match their logo type face and colour and reconstruct it, and you are too lazy (perhaps not worth the effort) to slowly trace it out using Lasso tool… Luckily, it is not impossible to do this.

Original logo

lousy jpeg compression

What you will need to have is of course Adobe Photoshop. And what you will learn in this tutorial is to edge out the unwanted background using masking instead of lasso tool.

Step 1

Duplicate the layer of the logo (drag the Background layer into create new layer icon ) and turn off the visibility of the new layer. Click the bottom layer as we are going to work on that layer now.

Step 2: Cleaning up

Desaturate the layer (⌘+SHIFT+U/CTRL+SHIFT+U)

We’re going to clean up the jpeg compression artifacts and make the logo into purely black and white: Adjust the levels (⌘L/CTRL+L) and drag the left slider a bit to the right until the logo become purely black and white while still preserving the smooth edges.

Jpeg artifacts gone


Step 3

Invert the colour (⌘I/CTRL-I), select the whole layer (⌘A/CTRL-A) and copy (⌘C/CTRL-C).

Step 4

Turn on the visibility of the upper layer:

go to Channels window

Step 5

Create a new channel by clicking create new channel icon and paste it into the new channel (⌘V/CTRL-V)

Hold the ⌘/CTRL key and click on the new channel thumbnail to get the selection.

Step 6

Now switch back to Layers window, delete the Background layer by dragging it into the delete layer icon .

Step 7

While still having the selection, click the Add Layer Mask button

DONE. Now you have the logo without the white background. It is non destructive because you can ‘disable’ the layer mask anytime to reveal the original version of the logo.

With the transparency background, you can simply come out with unlimited effects of your own:

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I’d like to donate to ebin.wordpress.com for the contribution.


About Kevin Yeoh
I’m Kevin Yeoh. I design functional and beautiful websites for creative people like you. Check out my website: www.kevinyeohdesign.com

46 Responses to Quick way to remove background without using lasso tool in Photoshop

  1. Pingback: Toinen Betatesti » Blog Archive » links for 2007-05-25

  2. Joseph says:

    Great tutorial, thank you

  3. Sakimichi says:

    Thanks, i learned a lot from your tutorials 😀

  4. Pingback: Blog Image & Web Solution » Photoshop: removiendo el fondo de un logotipo sin utilizar la herramienta de lazo

  5. Sophism says:

    so nice trick

  6. kathiguru says:

    hey cool man ….. thx a lot….

  7. mohamad says:

    Great work

    u r the best
    thnx alooooooooooooooooot

  8. rosa says:

    fantastic great tutorial ….thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Branca says:

    Thank you, dear!

    You made my life a lot easier and better. . .

    😀 kiss xxx

  10. katz says:


    Thank you so much for this superb tutorial.. This is soooo great.. 🙂

  11. Abra Exonar says:

    thank you SOOO much! =D

  12. John says:

    Outstanding method. Thanks

  13. Azbo says:

    Thanks so much for this! Beats using the magic wand anyday, hoorah for ebin! hoorah for masks!

  14. uppyness says:

    cool, i’ve used lasso tool for a long time.
    thx for sharing great tutorial.

  15. Johan says:

    Just a tip; if you can’t find the ‘channels’ tab, choose “Channels” from the Window menu.

  16. Lourens Coetzer says:


    Great tutorial, thanks. However, I’ve just got one question, how do I save this as a gif or jpg without the background? I’ve tried various ways but each time it seems to save it again with a white background!


    • ebin says:

      Lourens, JPG does not support transparency. For gif, find the option ‘transparent gif’ or something like that. Good luck.

  17. Julie Tierney says:

    Hi there – did you figure out how to do this yet? Julie

  18. steve says:

    thank you!, great tutorial.

  19. Ibrahim says:

    Thank you, this tutorial is very helpful.

  20. Muddasir says:

    stand up for the champions

  21. Muddasir says:

    standup for the champions

  22. khan says:

    Great tutorial, helped alot !


  23. Aj says:


    I have created some logos for my client using a logo designer programme, now I want to use that logo on top bar of the front page, but when I import the white background appear, I don’t want to have white jpeg background. I tried above tutorial, but really could not help it out for me, any video or pictures tutorial? asimjamalpk@hotmail.com

    Thank You

  24. Cutthroat says:

    Great tutorial Thanks Carry on to teach

  25. Todo says:

    This is really great, but after that how can I put a other background to the image as in your examples… I do it by adding another layer below, but the result is a color that is not the wished one… also if I put “drop shadow” effect, it puts shadow and on the mask, not only on the image (logo in this case)… it’s the same with all the effects… how can I put effect on the image itself without to reflect the mask?

  26. WP says:

    Excellent. Need to go through this tutorial every time I have to remove the background, since I do it once in a while.

  27. v1n_vampire says:

    thank you. this tutorial help me greatly. i need to delete white background of a diagram without deleting some parts/edges of the text and this work perfectly. ^^

  28. this is cool man…very effective…thanks for sharing….

  29. pk64 says:

    Hi, Is it possible to do this on Photoshop Element 7, I can get as far as step 4, but I can’t find the channels tab. Thanks.

  30. chaitanya says:

    i think it only works for removing text not for images from difficulty backgrounds.

  31. aflam maroc says:

    This post is great. thank you for sharing these helpful infos. I appreciate your work man

  32. Krimos says:

    Thank you Ebin,
    It’s really a good tuto. Great work 😉

    What about logo with color graduated background ?
    In the second step : Clean up my logo can’t be 100% black and white because the gradient part of image become as black as the black background. Any solution ?

  33. dobby76 says:

    Kinda alot of steps but seems pretty effective. Sometimes using the magic wand can get you in and out faster with a pretty clean edge. Helpful though – Thanks!

  34. marv says:

    excellent guide thank you 😀

  35. Joseph Vasilisky says:

    hello step 5 onward i keep messing up!!!!!! it does not work out for me i press control and click on the add new channel icon but it just does not work!!!

  36. Joseph Vasilisky says:

    Never Mind i figured it our from your tutorial!!!!


    ps iv been trying this 4am thats how i got confused

  37. ben says:

    boom! easy as pie! thanks so much!

  38. I have tried the tutorial, it works just great.
    But, do you know how to fix the “scratch disk full” warning?

    Remove Background

  39. theonie says:

    amazing tutorial you saved me thank you so much!!!

  40. michele lilly says:

    hey ebin!
    your “quick way to remove background without using lasso tool in Photoshop” is awesome, but i am missing something somewhere. it’s when i get to step Step 6.

    “Now switch back to Layers window, delete the Background layer by dragging it into the delete layer icon” i am lost. in your image, you only have one “background” copy, when you say to “delete it” i do, then it’s gone. i hope i am making sense. i REALLY need to learn how to do this & can’t find anywhere else that teaches it like you do. i do several publications with “TONS” of lousy logos, and my clients are not happy (ha-ha). anyway, i know this is an older thread, bt i sure would appreciate any input you can give me!

    michele lilly-i. design graphics

    • ebin says:

      Hi Michele, sorry for getting back to you so late. Answering your question on Step 6, the image in my post shows the state of after the Background layer is deleted. You can scroll up to Step 4 to see how the Background layer look like. I hope this helps!

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