Photoshop: Transparent Background Creation

Some projects might require you to create a Photoshop transparent background. The way you do this depends on whether you have started your project or not.  Option A would be the best course to take if you have yet to begin. Option B requires a minor ruse, but is not much more difficult than option A.  Still, the simplest route is to start at the very beginning.

Option A Step 1: Create a New Project

Before you start, check out the specifications on the image you are going to manipulate. Take note of the size in pixels. When the window pops up to create a new project, it will ask you what size you want your image to be. Insert the same settings as the photo you are going to use. Check the box for transparent background and hit OK. Now you have one layer named "Background" with a lock icon next to it.

Option A Step 2: Bring in Your Photo

Open your photo in a separate project. Select the whole frame and copy it (Ctrl + C). You may discard this new project and return to your original project. Go to "Layer," select "New," then choose "Layer". Name your layer, for instance "Photo," and click OK when the pop up appears. Next, paste the image into the "Photo" layer (Ctrl + V). Now you have your image in a layer on top of the transparent background and you are free to manipulate it as you choose.

Option B Step 1: Remove the Image from the Background Classification

If you have already done a lot of work on an image and it is currently classified as "Background," do not be daunted by the little lock icon. You do not need to start all over. To create a transparent background on an already existing project, you first have to classify your image (currently your background) as a layer. Select your background in the layer window, go to the "Layer" drop down, select "New," then click "Layer from Background." This will be the layer with your photo, so name it accordingly. For now we will call it "Photo."

Option B Step 2: Add a New Background

Now go to "Layer," select "New," then choose "Layer." The pop up will appear again and ask you to name this new layer. Name it "Background." The layer called "Background" will automatically appear above the "Photo" layer. Simply drag it to the bottom of the list so that it is under the "Photo" layer.  Note that this is not a background in the true Photoshop sense of the word. Should you attempt to go the "Background from Layer" route which is available in the "Layer" drop down, the background will automatically turn from transparent to white. Thus, you have taken a wrong turn.

Transparent backgrounds can be very strategic in Photoshop work. Knowing how to create them at any step of the way will help achieve your project's goals.

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