Remove Image Backgrounds Using Gimp

How To Remove Image Backgrounds Using Gimp

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The GNU Image Manipulation Program or “GIMP” is an amazing piece of free and open source software created and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteer developers. It’s an incredibly fully featured image editor with powerful tools to make the best of your graphics and photographs. Don’t be daunted by its complexity; sometimes it’s just a really useful tool for simpler tasks. We’ve published other tutorials on how to resize images in GIMP and how to make GIMP look more like Photoshop, but what if you just want to remove the background from an image in GIMP:

There are numerous reasons you might want to remove a background from an image but it can be a challenging process. There are however numerous excellent tools and approaches to completing this task and in this how-to we shall explore how to use them in GIMP.

Preparing the Image in GIMP

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

1. Launch GIMP and use “File – Open” to select the image you wish to remove the background from. We’ve used this picture of a wool craft project snowman as it has some trickier aspects, such as a very wooly and fuzzy outline which will allow us to show a variety of approaches.

2. Add an “alpha channel” to the active layer by left clicking on the active layer, then right click and select “Add Alpha Channel”.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We are now ready to start to use various tools to remove the background. It’s worth noting though that the tools we are about to explore are all types of selection tools, although for this task we are always deleting what we select, these selection methods can be used with other tools; moving, scaling, the bucket fill tool and many more.

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