How to Cut Out an Image in Photoshop (07 Best Methods)

One of the essential Photoshop editing skills is the cut out image. If you can master this, you can cut any object or subject out of the image and use it later somewhere else.

There is plenty of other software than Photoshop that can automatically cut out images, but of course, it will not be a professional output. So if you like perfection in everything, why not learn this easy task and cut images out on your own? 

We are here for your help with the easy learning of how to cut out an image in Photoshop. First, read the step-by-step procedures and three different methods and master them in a few days by practicing. So, let’s begin. 

How to Cut Out an Image 

Cut Out an Image in Photoshop is an easy task. There are 7 different methods that you can follow to cut out pictures. These various methods have made image cutting an easy task. Thanks to Photoshop for providing some valuable tools for photo editing. Each tool we will discuss is used not only for cutting pictures but also for further enhancement. 

With these 07 tools, it’s possible to make cuts in photos to take away the subject in it or remove the background like image editing experts. Let’s get introduced to the 07 tools in Photoshop that you can use to cut out any image. These are

  1. Pen Tool 
  2. Background Eraser Tool
  3. Quick Selection
  4. Subject Selection
  5. Rectangular/ Elliptical Marquee Tool
  6. Layer Mask
  7. Color Range

There are some similar things to do in each of the methods. First, you have to cut out the image by eliminating the background. The common keys used are Ctrl, Alt, and Shift keys. Also, you will see a New layer is added commonly in some methods to make a precise cut. 

These similar actions will make things easier for you and help you master the use of all the 07 tools to cut any image out. Hence, let’s dive in to learn the methods and steps. Here we go with the first method. 

(Method 01)

Cut Out an Image Using Pen Tool

You are looking for a tool that can help your image subject get the best and crisp edges? Then you should pick a Pen tool. It does the cutting out best with straight edges. So let’s find out how you can use and get a perfect, clean cutout. 

Step 1. Making an Uneven Edge 

Click on the toolbar and select the Pen tool. Make sure it has the “Path” option at the top instead of “Shape.” Click on any corner to start making a path by dragging the cursor. You will notice a straight elastic line in between the two points. It will make uneven edges, but we will not need to worry about it since we eventually fix it. 

How to Cut Out an Image Using Pen Tool

When you have drawn the whole path to finish, drag the cursor on the first point from where you started. Notice a small circle there, and by clicking on its point, you can finish drawing your path. 

Clipping Path to Cut out Photos

Step 2. Refining Path 

Pick the Direct Selection tool found under the tool named Path Selection. 

Path Selection Tool

To activate it, you need to click on any point.

It’s time to become more careful in dragging the points to get them into their correct position. Therefore you better zoom in on the subject. To change the curve angles, click on the handle ends. Then, pull and push the endpoints and change the curve steepness. 

Creating Clipping Path

Step 3. Adding Points

Dragging pints into tight areas will seem tricky enough for many curves.

curves in clipping path

Pick the Pen tool with a plus over it and add another point to get the points more precisely. 

add point in clipping path using pen tool

Click and let go of the line wherever you are willing to add that extra anchor point. It will give you a new point. 

add extra anchor point in path

Get your new point to the position properly to get an excellent curve.

excellent curve in clipping path

Finally, refine the subject for one last time just the way we have already shown. 

How to Cut Out an Image 

Step 4. Finishing Off

Now that you have finished refining, you have to move the points on the outside to cover the whole sky. 

Cut Out an Image Using Pen Tool

Keep dragging the corner points and reach the ends of the four corners. 

Cut Out Photos Using Pen Tool

Step 5. Making Selection from Path

Click the Paths Panel. You will find the path named “Work Path.” If you want, it’s possible to use it as a clipping path and save it. Now, compose this work in Photoshop by converting it to a selection and masking following the mentioned steps. 

To make a selection, press down Ctrl and click over the work path from the paths panel. 

Work Path

You will then see on the screen a marching ants selection. 

ants selection to cut out photos

Now again, press Alt and create the inverted mask. 

create the inverted mask

You have successfully cut out the subject image with the perfection that has the cleanest edges. 

Cut Out Photos Using Pen Tool Photoshop

(Method 02)

How to Cut Out Images Using Background Eraser Tool 

The Background Eraser Tool is also a great pick for a perfect image cut out. Erasing pixels on layers makes the parts transparent that you want to remove. Wherever you drag the cursor, it will remove that part’s pixels and give the area transparency. It is known as image masking.

On the left in Photoshop, you will see an option labeled as “Eraser Tool” click on it, and you will find the background eraser at first. 

Step 01. Select the Tool 

After opening the picture, you want to cut it out, find the background eraser tool from the Eraser submenu and select it. 

Cut Out Images Using Background Eraser Tool

Step 02. Select the Brush Size and Remove Image Parts

You need to ensure that you are erasing with the right size brush. Depending upon the subject edges, you need to fix the limit of your brush. To erase quicker, a larger-sized brush would work best. But for the fuzzier edges, you should use a small brush and increase the hardness. 

Now, place and click your brush on the color you want to eliminate. The matching hue within the tolerance will be removed with the brush moving. However, other colors will remain in the image, but we have a solution to this issue too. 

Cut Out Photos Using Background Eraser Tool

Step 03. Keep Sampling and Deleting

The Background Eraser Tool is by default set to Continuous Sampling. It means any color that matches the crosshairs will be removed if the image background contains various hues; you have to keep deleting them after sampling—this way, the risk of making errors is reduced. 

If you find your background having a color that is pretty similar to the subject color, the chance is you might accidentally wipe the subject out. Select Protect Foreground Color and press and hold on to the Alt key to avoid this issue. Then, with the help of the eyedropper that will pop up, you can rescue the hue you want from destruction. 

How to Cut Out an Image in Photoshop

(Method 03)

Cutout Photo Using Quick Selection Tool

It’s the first method that is pretty simple and perfectly cuts out photos. You will only need to follow three easy steps to finish method 1 and get your expected result. So, let’s dive in. 

Step 1. Open the Photo

This particular method is done only in Photoshop cc. If you don’t have it already, then install the software first. After installing Open, start the Photoshop cc and to open an image, click on File > Open > Choose an Image

Choose an Image to cut out

Step 2. Make Selection 

The more straightforward way is to select the background other than the subject. But if the backdrop is more complicated than the subject, you should instead select the image subject. Then, drag the quick selection tool on the area you want to make a selection. If you’re going to deselect it press Alt and drag on the area. 

Now, to ensure your subject is selected, inverse the selection by choosing Select> Inverse or press Ctrl+Shift+l. 

Make Selection to Cut Out

Step 3. Refine The Edges of Selection 

Click over the toolbar found at the top right and choose Select and mask. To preview, you should make the backdrop invisible by increasing the transparency. 

Refine The Edges of Selection to Cut Out Photos

You need a view which can show you the edges the best. So, change the image view to either white or black depending upon your preference. 

Cutout Photos Using Quick Selection Too

Pick the refined brush from the toolbar located at the top left. Then, start painting on the flyaway hair areas and make sure you don’t end up going too far but get only the ends of the edges of the hair. This way, you can make the Photoshop AI understand better which one is the background and hair. 

Refine The Hair Edges to Cut Out

While refining, you will find your selection edges are getting more transparent and better.

Eliminating the color fringing issue

Let us share with you a secret of disappearing the color fringing issue. When refining, immediately turn the “Decontaminate Colors” option on and eliminate the color fringing. 

Cutting out hair background

Finally, choose New Layer with Layer Mask and click ok to get the cutout. 

Cut out hair background

You will get your subject cut out from its background accurately, on which you can do further edits. 

How to Cut Out Background of Hair

The result will look like the image below. 

Cut out Photo Using Quick Selection Tool

(Method 04)

Cut Out an Image Using a Subject Selection

Subject Selection is an incredible option in Photoshop. Its chief purpose is to find the most eminent object in a photograph automatically. It draws an outline around the selected subject to separate it from the background. You can find this tool with the option named Select Subject located in Select and Mask. 

Step 1. Selecting Subject

It’s considered the most effective and simplest method for pro photo editors to cut out images in Photoshop. First and foremost, open the image you want to work on in Photoshop by choosing Select > Subject and wait for a while for the selection. 

Selecting Subject

You will see an uneven line around the subject when the selection is ready, just like the below photo. 

Image to cut out Using a Subject Selection

Step 2. Making a Precise Selection

If you want to make the selection more specific, you can use the Quick Selection Tool or the Lasso Tool. Use any tools and remove or add selection parts using the Alt and Shift Keys. 

Making a Precise Selection to cut out

Step 3. Cut Out Image

Once the selection is ready, you can now cut the photo out. Press Control-C to make a new document. To paste the photograph, press Control-V

Cut Out an Image Using a Subject Selection

(Method 05)

Cut Out an Image Using the Rectangular/ Elliptical Marquee Tool

Image cutting is impossible without selecting the object you want to cut. The marquee tool is another tool that draws selection around the objects. However, it only makes selections in square and rectangular shapes. It’s located in the tools panel found at the top of Photoshop software. 

Step 01. Choosing one of the Tools

The rectangular/elliptical marquee tool is another powerful image-cutting tool in Photoshop. It’s called a Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee Tool. It’s a rough method; however, it helps make outstanding designs. Choose the tool from the Tools panel. 

Cut Out an Image Using the Rectangular

Step 02. Selecting a Part in Image and Cut Out

Select the image part that you want to cut out. After selecting the part to eliminate, click on Layer > New Layer > Layer Via Cut/Copy, and you will have the final output ready. 

Selecting a Part in Image and Cut Out

(Method 06)

Cut Out an Image Using the Layer Mask

When it’s about cutting out images with perfection, professionals choose Layer Mask. It doesn’t directly cut a picture, but it hides the unnecessary parts of an image. Through this option, you can apply masks over the layers of photos and permanently delete them. In addition, it uses white color to reveal and black to conceal image parts. You can find this option in the Layers panel. 

Step 01. Create a Mask

A popular way to cut out images to the image editing experts is by making a Layer Mask. For this method, you first need to make a selection. Then, use any of the techniques we mentioned earlier and click on the icon named Add Layer Mask from the Layers panel. 

Cut Out an Image Using the Layer Mask

Step 02. Use Brush and Cut Out Photo

To adjust the cutout, use a brush with black and white colors. Use white color and brush on parts you want to keep and brush with black to remove the parts you want to cut out. 

Cut Out Photos Using the Layer Mask

(Method 07)

Cutout Photo using Color Range

Color Range works outstanding in cutting out complicated subjects like trees, liquid, smoke. It keeps the colors accurate plus will quickly make the selection even if the picture contains a subject with holes. These are the simple steps explained to cut out photos with the help of color range. 

Step 1. Choose Color Range

Click on Select> Color Range to cut out the image with it. 

Choose Color Range

After you have selected it, a dialogue box will pop up on the screen. 

Color Range to cut out the image

Step 2. Pick the Eyedropper Tool

You will see three eyedropper icons, but you have to select the left one only. 

Pick the Eyedropper Tool

After choosing, it’s time to pick the most usual color by clicking on the background. We have picked the sky blue color. You will notice on the window of the color range that it’s showing you some white. It’s because those are also a part of the selected area. 

Cutout Image Background using Color Range

Step 3. Refining Selection

There’s another eye dropper with a+ right in the middle. Click it and drag it across the backdrop to add it to the selection. Here we dragged the a+ eye dropper to the tree’s right side to choose all the whites and blues. 

Cutout Photo Background using Color Range

Step 4. Sliding the Fuzziness Slider

To get a white background and make your selection look more sociable, you need to keep sliding the fuzziness slider until the selection is accurately refined. Now click ok after the final refining. 

Cut out Photos using Color Range

Step 5. Masking Selection

The background is selected after clicking ok. Hence you can now cut out the selection. Your goal is inverting the cutout area. For this, you need to press down the Alt and click over New Layer Mask. The subject will be selected. 

Masking Selection

You can see a newly created layer mask. 

created layer mask

You will get a clean and delicate cutout like this one. 

Cutout Photo using Color Range

Final Words

How to cut out an image in Photoshop is a common question we are asked. However, since it’s better to learn through reading, we have prepared this article with details about cutting photos in Photoshop. 

If you learn all those methods, you will never have issues with image cutout. Now that you have learned them, we wish you the best of luck with your practice.

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