Photoshop Tutorial: Erasing Unnecessary Content

Here’s a simple way to use Photoshop to erase unnecessary content from your photos and images.

Step 1: Place the img (image) on top of a blank, white layer (comes in handy when erasing content).  Duplicate the img, and add a vector mask to the top-layered img.

step 01

Step 2: Hide the first-layered img, and start drawing on the vector mask with a black brush – that will hide the content when you brush over it.  If your item is a square or has a bunch of straight edges, you can also use the polygonal lasso to select the areas to erase easier than drawing a line via the mouse/brush.  But once you get all of the “background” (bg) content cleared, you should be good to go.  And I recommend to use the vector mask vs.  simply erasing content because you never know when you need to go back to an img and replace that one item you already removed.  Sure, it may eat up file space, etc… but I find it is worth it.

step 02

Now here is where the fun stuff begins…

Step 3: Turn the hidden layer back on, and select the vector mask content (press ctrl while clicking the vector mask box in the layer tab) to get the ant trail surrounding the obj(s) (object) of attn.  Then make sure to select the layer under the vector masked layer, and go to Select » Redefine Edge (the ants should still be marching around the layer).

step 03

* I know in previous versions of PS CS the Redefine Edge option was nonexistent, so you may have something like Select » Feather instead.  With that, play around with those settings to see what you can come up with. *

Step 4: With the “refine edge” settings, you can adjust a couple of things here, but you would want to pay more attn to the “Feather” and “Contact/Expand” settings, and you also have the option to view it as if it were on various bg colours.  And you will want to play around with the two settings I mentioned a bit to find what works best for your particular img, but as for this one, I figured 41.2 and +27 work well.  So, I hit OK, and then press ctrl+shift+i (Select > inverse).  Now we have 05.

step 04

step 05

Step 6: Press delete, and now you have the soft edge surrounding the obj(s) you selected originally, and this another place where the white bg can come in handy.  Apply any other colour to it (07) to see what you can come up with, and you can surely get some creative things that way!

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Any and all comments are welcomed.  Thanks for taking a look!