How to make a background transparent like a pro

Try Movavi Photo Editor to make an image background transparent:

  1. Download and install the program.
  2. Add your picture to the program.
  3. Mark the foreground objects and the background.
  4. Delete the background.
Ben Jacklin Edited by Ben Jacklin

Professional-looking collages and posters all have one thing in common: they don’t include a bunch of blocky images with different backgrounds, all pasted together. Pro photo editors understand how to make a background transparent. Let’s walk through a few simple ways to do it.

Program

Best for

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Designing multi-layer photo collages and retouching photos

Making simple edits to photos online

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Best programs to make an image background transparent

Movavi Photo Editor

Best for: Creating professional-level photo collages and PNG images with transparent backgrounds

OS: Windows 7/8/10/11 (64-bit), Mac OS X 10.13 or higher

Price: Free trial, $69.95 for a lifetime version

Movavi Photo Editor is a professional-level photo editing platform for Mac or PC. Its user-friendly interface is designed to be accommodating to beginners and veteran photo editors alike. The software’s AI engine is incredibly powerful and has the ability to automatically refine image quality, restore damaged or faded photos, and remove backgrounds and images. Tutorials are available to help beginners get to know the platform, and it’s easy to learn how to make an image background transparent in just a few simple steps.

Key features:

  • AI auto adjust automatically refines image colors and contrast

  • Automated photo repair and restoration capabilities

  • Advanced object removal and photo retouching

Pros:

  • Makes it easy to remove backgrounds and unwanted objects in photos

  • Easy enough for a beginner, robust enough for a pro

  • Supports multiple export file formats

Cons:

  • Platform can be resource-intensive on less powerful computers

  • Does not include automated software updates

Adobe® Photoshop®

Best for: Retouching photos and designing multi-layer posters

OS: Windows 10 (64-bit) or later, Mac OS X 10.15 or later

Price: $9.99-54.99/month (no lifetime license available)

G2 rating: 4.6 out of 5, 12,356 reviews

Adobe® Photoshop® has long been an industry standard – so much so that people usually just say something was “photoshopped” or “’shopped” when they mean that a photo was edited. The software includes tools to create transparent backgrounds, layer different photo elements into a single project, retouch images for cohesiveness and attractiveness, and a lot more. It’s a robust platform, but it’s not the most user-friendly, especially for beginners. Adobe also does not offer a lifetime license. Instead, users have to opt to pay for a monthly license through the Adobe® Creative Cloud®.

Key features:

  • Integration with other Adobe programs, like Lightroom® and Illustrator®

  • Neural filters offer a range of effects for backgrounds and scenery

  • Library of templates for social posts, posters, etc

Pros:

  • Professional color grading features

  • Video and animation capabilities

  • Includes cloud storage

Cons:

  • Difficult to learn

  • No lifetime license available

  • Not a good choice for batch photo editing

Download Adobe® Photoshop®

Canva

Best for: Performing simple photo editing tasks for free

OS: Any (with internet access)

Price: Free (with paid features) or $119/year

PCMag rating: 4 out of 5

Canva is a free online photo editing platform with a premium subscription option and paid features. Essentially, you can use Canva at no cost, with no watermark, if you stick to the free stock photos, clipart, fonts, and templates. To remove the watermark from paid features, you can purchase a one-time use license or go with a Canva Pro account with an annual subscription. If you opt to pay for the annual subscription, you’ll get access to many of the paid features, but some will still require a one-time payment. Canva includes a lot of templates for different types of marketing and artistic projects, including graphics for different social platforms, print and online media, and others. It’s not the most robust photo editing program, but it’s a good option for many creators on a budget.

Key features:

  • Multiple template options

  • Integrated stock photo library

  • Large fonts library

Pros:

  • No watermark on free graphics and images

  • Easy drag-and-drop editing

  • Very user-friendly for beginners

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include advanced editing tools

  • No way to automatically remove backgrounds

  • Paying for premium features can add up

Go to Canva

Microsoft Paint

Best for: Playing with old-school graphics editing tools

OS: Windows 1.0-10 (prior to 2017 Fall Creators Update)

Price: Free

AlternativeTo rating: 4.6 out of 5

Microsoft Paint was included with Windows for more than 30 years. However, starting with an update in 2017, Microsoft Paint is no longer included or supported. Users can, however, find and download MS Paint for free from a few different websites. We recommend exercising caution if you go this route, as some downloads may not be legitimate and some may include malware. Users can also find a Microsoft Paint emulator online through CanvasPaint.org. Unlike most of the other programs we’ve reviewed here, MS Paint is really not a photo editor. You can upload photos into the program and manually edit them with rudimentary tools, but this program is more of a novelty than a useful tool at this point.

Key features:

  • Import photos into the program

  • Flip/rotate and stretch/skew tools

  • Basic color editing capabilities

Pros:

  • Simple user interface has a retro feel

  • Create fun, old school graphics with the spray paint tool

Cons:

  • No longer supported by Microsoft

  • Manual background editing is extremely time-consuming

LunaPic

Best for: Making a photo background transparent online for free

OS: Any (with internet access)

Price: Free

Unlike most of the other programs here, LunaPic is an online program specifically designed to remove backgrounds from images. It’s a free tool, which is great for photo editors on a budget, but, despite its simplicity, it’s not the most intuitive software. The link to remove the entire background (instead of a selected color) is available but isn’t very obvious to a user who doesn’t know to look for it. Also, while the program can automatically turn your photo’s background invisible, its trim function isn’t very precise and leaves some of the background or may cut out some of the edges of the main subject of the image.

Key features:

  • One-click feature to make a selected color transparent

  • One-click feature to create a transparent background

Pros:

  • Provides a way to remove image backgrounds for free

  • Convert to a transparent background online with no download

Cons:

  • Lacks many photo editing tools

  • Automated trim to remove background isn’t very precise

Go to LunaPic

remove.bg

Best for: Quickly removing an image’s background online

OS: Any (with internet access)

Price: Free

G2 rating: 4.5 out of 5, 15 reviews

remove.bg is an online program that allows users to remove backgrounds or convert a white background to transparent. This free web app allows users to make a picture background transparent in a single step. You can download a preview PNG file of your image without paying for anything or creating an account. If you want to download an HD image, though, you’ll need to create a free remove.bg account.

Key features:

  • One-click background removal

Pros:

  • Simple user interface

  • Fast background removal

  • Free preview image download without account

Cons:

  • Requires users to sign up to download HD images

  • Lacks photo editing tools

  • No customizability on background removal

Go to remove.bg

Adobe® Express

Best for: Creating images from templates on a mobile device

OS: Any desktop (with internet access), iOS 14.0 or higher, Android OS 8.0 or higher

Price: $9.99/month

TechRadar rating: 4 out of 5

Adobe® Express is Adobe’s online and mobile photo editing platform. It’s essentially designed to be a lighter, more user-friendly alternative to Photoshop® for users who want to create images for social media, websites, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and print media. Along with the ability to get a transparent background for an uploaded image, it also includes multiple templates for different platforms and media.

Key features:

  • Pre-made image templates for social media

  • Image resizing and cropping

  • Convert from JPG to PNG or PNG to JPG

Pros:

  • User-friendly for beginners

  • Works on any desktop with a compatible browser

  • Easily remove backgrounds from images

Cons:

  • Requires a monthly subscription

  • Lacks advanced photo editing tools and features

Go to Adobe® Express

How to create a transparent background with Movavi Photo Editor

Here’s how to make an image background transparent with Movavi Photo Editor:

  1. Install Movavi Photo Editor on your computer and open the program.

  2. Click the Open photo button or drag and drop your image into the program.

  3. Open the Change Background tab on the right.

  4. Choose Automatically to have the background automatically removed.

  5. Or click Manually for the manual background selection and click an object to select it. Click Continue.

  6. When you’re done, click Finish.

  7. Save your edited image.

How to make the background of a picture transparent with Adobe® Photoshop®

If you’re comfortable with Photoshop®, you can create a transparent background in just a few steps:

  1. Open your image file in Photoshop®.

  2. Click on the Layers panel in the Window menu.

  3. In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer and click OK.

  4. Choose the Magic Wand tool from the Toolbar.

  5. From the Options bar, click on Select Subject.

  6. Using the Magic Wand, make any refinements you want to the subject.

  7. Go to the Select menu and choose Inverse. This will select your background.

  8. Delete the selected area (your background) and save the image.

How to make a white background transparent with Microsoft Paint

Here’s how to give an image a transparent background in MS Paint:

  1. Open MS Paint on your desktop or navigate to CanvasPaint.org in your preferred browser.

    Go to CanvasPaint.org

  2. Click the Select button and choose Transparent selection.

  3. Choose Free-form selection.

  4. Hold the left button down on your mouse while you trace the area you want to keep in your image.

  5. When you’re done, a rectangle will appear on your image. Right-click on it and select Cut.

  6. Open a new page in Paint and paste the image you just copied. Save your new project.

How to make a picture’s background transparent with Canva

Transparency is easy with Canva, especially if you already have a white background:

  1. Go to Canva and start a new design.

    Go to Canva.com

  2. Upload your image and double-click it to import it into your design.

  3. If you have an existing background, select it and click the trash icon to delete it. If you don’t have a background, make sure that your background color is set to white.

  4. Click the Download button at the top right of the screen. Choose the option to save your file as a PNG, and it will download with a transparent background.

Summary: How to choose the right program for you

With the reviews and info in this article, you should now have everything you need to know how to make the background of a picture transparent. But how will you decide which program is the best for you? Here are a few considerations that may help narrow down your choices:

  • Features: Do you just need to make a white background transparent on an existing image? Or do you need a program that can automatically select your image’s subject and cut the background out for you? What about other editing tools? After you cut out your background, what other tools will you need to finish your project?

  • User interface: If you’re not a pro photo editor, you’ll want to choose a program that’s user-friendly and won’t leave you feeling frustrated. If you’re a veteran creator, you may want to make sure that your chosen program has all the tools that you need for your image editing projects.

  • Price: Do you have the budget to pay for a monthly or annual license? Do you need a free program, or can you afford a one-time lifetime license? Find the program that does what you need within your budget.

Frequently asked questions

How do you make a PNG background transparent?

Use Movavi Photo Editor:

  1. Import your PNG using the Open photo button.

  2. Open the Change Background tab.

  3. Remove the background automatically or manually.

  4. Save your edited PNG.

Does a PNG file have a transparent background?

PNG (short for portable network graphics) is a type of image file used by web designers and graphic designers because it offers the option to create images with fully or partially transparent backgrounds. In fact, PNG is the only image file format that supports transparent backgrounds.

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