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Advice on removing background from intricate images Please.

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Hello all.
Im new to graphic design, Im on a very steep learning curve and I'm spending a lot of time trying to teach myself. I am trialling several Design packages and i wonder if you could give me advice on the best one to use for what I am trying to achieve.

what i want to do is create digital collages and composite art work using public domain, vintage backgrounds and images. I have been spending Hours following tutorials and scanning the net for advice how to completely remove the white background from old black and while line drawings but i cannot do it well enough. these images have tiny tiny areas of white and each method i have tried leaves some white behind, I want these images to be transparent so i can place them onto different backgrounds and have only the black lines visible, if there is even the tiniest white bits left behind its very obvious when you place it onto a coloured background .I know it is possible as i have seen it done by other people in their work but i think it would not be prudent to ask them how they did it.

I am using the free trial of Photoshop elements 13, Photoshop CC and Gimp. I'm getting on quite well with Elements but i haven't done much with the other two as yet. is it possible to Completely remove the white background using elements? I have about 2 weeks left before my trials run out and i must make my decision on which to buy. Im hoping to stick with elements as i like the idea of buying the software outright and not just renting it as seems to be the only option with PScc now

I am hoping that you can advise me which would be the best software to use to achieve the kind of work i am hoping to produce Please. I'm quite comfortable with elements but I'm will use whichever is the most suitable package. doesn't have to be the ones i am trialling if there is a more suitable alternative.

I have included an image of the type i am trying to work with. I would want to remove all of the white (even the small specks on the actual thread) and place it on,for example, a texture from an old book page. and i would want to see the images through all of the areas that are not black. I would also want to remove the white so that the black image could be used as a transfer.

Thanks in advance
Merry Christmas


I just might have Fathomed it...i need to check my theory further but the early signs are promising.... I turned the image into a brush !
I just need to see if the image clarity is good enough.
Id still be very interest to here your thoughts and also what you might think may be the most appropriate software for what I am trying to achieve
Many Thanks.


Well-Known Member
Hi Nancy,

I have never used the versions of Photoshop you have mentioned but I am sure Photoshop Elements can achieve your goal and I am certain Photoshop CC can. I have never touched Gimp so wouldn't know. I understand what you mean about not wanting to 'rent' CC, that's why I have stuck with CS6 until I feel it is outdated and need to upgrade. There are many ways to skin a cat but what I would do is select the White with the colour dropper, click on Colour Range via 'Select' menu, this will automatically select only the white colour in your image. You can adjust the 'Fuzziness' level via the meter in the Colour Range screen until you are happy with the selection. PLEASE NOTE: Before doing all this remember to unlock the background layer!
Hi There GraphiCarl..Thanks so much for Taking the time to help me. Its very much Appreciated. I have tried many techniques for removing this Pesky white background and all of them left tiny little pieces that were just visible when the image was placed on a background of a different colour and that offended my OCD no end! . for the last few hours i have been practicing with the brush technique and its working like a charm..It works particularly well on the kind of images I'm working with and i will use the other methods for other types of Image. I downloaded the free trial of Elements 13 on 5th Dec so you can see how new I am at it.. but I've been really working hard to learn it and Im getting somewhere near Happy with the stuff I'm producing.. So... I think I've decided that Elements is enough for me for the time being and when the trial runs out i will buy it...
Thanks Again
Merry Christmas
Hello Again - I just attempted the method your suggested and my software doesn't have the option of "Colour Range in my select option. Im sure it is probably hidden somewhere else, I'm just not experienced enough (YET) to know where it is. I think that Elements 13 must have been changed a quite a bit as lots of the tutorials for earlier versions don't apply to my version. perhaps because it relatively recent the tutorials haven't filtered through yet. I'll get there !
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