GIMP is probably one of the best image editing softwares out there next to Photoshop, and possibly confusing. I’ll admit I’m still confused even though I played around with it for quite awhile. Just less confused than when I first started. *phew*
A few weeks ago, Kimba from the Caffeinated Book Reviewer asked if I could write a post on how to remove backgrounds from images in GIMP. There are a few options, and the ones that I know of either results in a long time waste or paying just to upgrade Serif (the free version is good enough for me, and I’m not sure how their background removing thing works).
The long way is simply adding an alpha channel, use an eraser and make it really big before making it smaller as you get closer and closer to the edge. Think of it as just learning how to do long division back in the elementary days. I think I did a pretty terrible job for awhile at first. :p
The other way however, is different. It’s originally found over at NZ Photo Info, but I made some adjustments since they work better than the ones used in their tutorial after a few experimentations of my own. I’m bad at explaining, so I’ll be using more images than usual to help out.
- GIMP – it’s free :3
- A photo – preferably one whose colors contrast the background’s, but that’s optional. You’ll end up with similar results either way.
- Time and patience
For this tutorial, we’ll be using this avatar which I made on Azalea’s Dolls (well, I was bored, and I was thinking of summer, and coconuts seemed fit, okay?).
Using the Free Select Tool (In Toolbox, 3rd icon in 1st row), roughly draw around the image you want to keep from the background. Do NOT release the mouse or you’ll have to start all over again. If you do, it’ll turn it into a straight line, which isn’t exactly helpful unless you’re planning to cut something cleanly in half. It should look as though there are ants marching around the photo.
It does not have to be perfect. In fact, I purposely keep away from the image I want to keep so I don’t accidentally cut anything vital off. Like an arm or leg, for instance.
- You might want to pause every few strokes. In case you make a mistake with the next one, you don’t have to undo a lot, especially if you’re the type that prefers to use CTRL+Z.
- You’ll also want to make the brush/pencil size smaller as you get closer and closer to the edges.
When you’ve colored in everything you want to remove, click on Quick Mask again, or simply press SHIFT+Q. The ants should be marching once more, this time near the edges of the image.