How to Make a Background Transparent in Photoshop Cs3

Updated February 21, 2017

The Adobe company's Creative Suite package (CS) offers digital designers a variety of ways to produce graphics, animation and websites. Within the Creative Suite is Photoshop, the Suite's graphic software. The Photoshop CS3 version allows you to tinker and transform your photos a variety of ways. You can even quickly change your subject's background, by rendering it transparent. Once the background is transparent, you can transport your subjects to a new background, paint one in or leave it blank.

Open Photoshop CS3, click the "File" menu and select "Open." Navigate to a photo with a background to turn transparent and double-click the file name to open it in the Photoshop workspace.

Click the "Lasso" tool on the "Tools" palette on the left side of the screen. Draw an outline around the foreground of the picture, the subjects or items you want to keep in the image. A blinking line of "marching ants" surrounds your selection.

Right-click the outline and click "Select Inverse." Now a dotted line surrounds the entire background and frame of the photo.

Right-click again and select "Layer via Copy." The picture doesn't seem to change but the lines go away.

Click the "Image" menu, click "Adjustments" and select "Brightness/Contrast." Move the "Brightness" slider bar to the right and the "Contrast" slider bar to the left. The background begins to fade back with just the foreground vivid in the picture. Click "OK" when the background is as faded as preferred.

Remove the background entirely and render that part of the picture transparent by clicking the background layer in the "Layers" palette. If you don't see the "Layers" palette, click the "Window" menu and select "Layers." Click the background layer, click the "Lasso" tool and draw an outline around the foreground subjects again. Repeat the "Layer via Copy" process, but do not choose "Select Inverse." Layer 2 is added to the "Layers" palette.

Right-click "Layer 1" and select "Delete" inside the Layers pallet. Click "Yes" at the warning window. Right-click the "Background" layer and select "Delete," then click "Yes." You're left with a transparent background with just your selected area in the foreground.

Click the "File" menu and select "Save As." Type a new name for the picture; do not save it as the original. Select "GIF" from the "Format" menu, the only option that allows transparency. Save the file to your computer.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.