Thursday 1 March 2012

Lasso and white out your pics

If you have ever wanted to know how to make your photos look like this:
-all cut out and on a white background, and you have Photoshop Elements   (a budget version of Photoshop) this is a technical tutorial from an utter amateur.   All these photos link to Flickr where you can see them a little bigger.  I have PSE 8, an older version but I am hoping the principle is the same with PSE 9 and 10.
Here goes.... 
1.  Save the photo you want to edit to your desktop

2. Open Photoshop Elements, you do not need a new file just the programme open.

3.  Drag your photo from the desktop and into the working space or grey area in Photoshop elements
Picture 1

4.  The photo is quite small at this point and you need to zoom in.  The short cut on a mac to do this is to press command cmd key and the + at the same time, the more you press+ the bigger your picture will get- much easier to work in detail on it.  To reverse, press command and -.  You can also chose the zoom options under the view menu selection at the top.
Picture 2

5.  Choose the polygonal lasso tool from the tool bar at the side.  you can see it highlighted as the 6th tool down on the top in my toolbar selection.
Picture 3
Now place your mouse where you want to start cutting out or outlining your shape.  I have a spool block here that I want to cut out from the ironing board it is on and place on a white background.  Click where you want to start, each drag and click continues the line.  There is no 'undo' option with this tool so go slow!  If you want your line to be perfectly straight, hold the shift key down whilst you click and drag.  

6.  The lasso needs to make a completed loop around the object.  When you get close to this a tiny circle appears to show the loop is complete, click at this point and the line becomes active and will flash!
Picture 5
7.  Go to Select from the menu bar at the top, and choose 'Inverse'
(Edited to add)OR- there is a  very clever trick passed on from Alison at Little Island Quilting.  Check the colour palette on the bottom, of your tool bar- you need the background colour- the right square on the colour picker to be on white- now instead of 'Inverse' press 'Delete'- white background!  If you like method this you can skip stage 8- go straight to 9 and 'Save'.

8.  From your tool bar on the left, the bottom icon in my tool bar choses colour- click on it and a palette of colours comes up.  I chose white.  There are 2 squares on this tool, the active colour is the square that is on top, make sure this is right, the little double arrow next to it will switch the squares around.

8.  Now, go to Layer from the menu bar at the top, choose 'New fill layer'.
Picture 6
In the box I call this layer by the colour I have chosen, "white", check the opacity box at the bottom is set at 100%. and press OK
9.  Your photo should now be cut out and on a white background
Picture 7
Now all you need to do is save.  You can go to File and save as a photoshop file, or you can chose 'save for the web'  and save as a jpeg/Gif- whatever is your preference.

I really hope that works for someone out there- Lynne, Angela, Lu, Katy or anyone else.  That is how I do it- there may be much slicker ways, but this works for me!
sib blog


  1. Time to re-load Elements I think x

  2. Thank you! I have elements and hadn't really twigged I could use it to do this (that might be partly because it scares me so I haven't really used it!) Going to try this out this weekend

  3. Thank you Kerry for great tutorial!

  4. Brilliant Kerry. Photoshop Elements just came out for iPad I think, so I'm going to try it!

  5. I am such a Picnik addict I had not used PSE on an actual photo yet ;)
    I will definitely try this, thanks!

  6. Thank you Kerry! That's fabulous! Do you know if there is a way to make it on no background? So say if the page you want to put it on turns out to blue or something, so you wouldn't want a white background. Does that make sense?

  7. Great tutorial. I have photoshop but I really don't know what I'm doing with it half the time. This has been very helpful even though things are quite in the same place.

  8. Thanks for that Kerry, I don't have Photoshop but an old version of Corel so there might be something similar I can play with.

  9. Hi Kerry
    Tks for sharing a wonderful tip. You are such a generous person : )

  10. You are awesome sauce.

    Now, to just get a mac and photoshop...

  11. There is actually a quicker/easier way of doing it!
    I agree with everything you say up to point 6 but once you have got to point 6, just hit the delete button and it'll turn the background to white (checking of course that you selected white where you mention it is in point 8).
    I used to do it the way you have described and then someone in our Creative dept at work showed me the 'easy/lazy' way. Hope this helps.

  12. Ooh, goody! I'm bookmarking these instructions. I remember my Bernina dealer telling me something about a pared-down version of Corel Draw coming with my Bernina Embroidery software, and he said you can use the Corel program independently as well. I'm scheduled to take my software mastery classes next month and I wonder if I can do something similar with that?

  13. Thanks for this - I've looked at your photos with envy for far too long!!! :(

  14. Wow. Thanks so much!!! I also have PSE 8 and KNEW there was an easy way to create a nice, crisp, white background for my items but wasn't sure how to do it. Now I do! :)

  15. Thank you so much for posting this, I've always wondered how to get such a nice clean background! Will definitely give it a try.


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