Don’t you just hate it when you are trying to create professional looking graphics by combining a number of images together but end up with white boxes around the edges of each of them.
In this article I will introduce you to a Free online graphics tool which combines some of the great features you will find in professional packages such as Photoshop to enable you to create your own great looking images.
The tool is called Pixlr and comes in a number of variations including a downloadable desktop version, a web-based version and a mobile app. Today I will be using the web-based version.
When you first open Pixlr you will be presented with the following options:
- For this post I am using Open image from computer as I will be choosing an existing image I have to cut-out a section of it and create a separate transparent image
- Select the image you want to open from your computer. In this instance it is a picture taken of me at NMX2014 in Las Vegas
It’s not the clearest of images as it was a section from a fairly small image but it helps illustrate one of the main uses for cutting out in business graphics i.e personal profile images etc.
The feature we want to use in Pixlr is the Lasso tool.
You will also notice once selected there are a number of settings for the tool that appear in the bar above. These include the tool type; freehand or polygonal, Feather and Anti-alias.
I recommend when first starting out with this tool that you use the Polygonal version
This is easier to control and keep to the edges than it is with the freehand version.
Feathering is the level of “hardness” of the edges you cut around. For pure clear-cut edges keep the feathering to 0. The higher the number you choose the softer the edges become. Indeed you can get to a halo type effect around the edges by using a very high number.
Anti-alias again is a smoothing feature that works at the pixel level. I have heard it likened to applying very fine sand-paper to the edges so that you don’t end up with jagged pixellated edges around your cut-out image.
- Select a starting point in your image and click at that point. Carefully move your mouse along the edge that you want to cut-out. As you progress keep clicking as you go. You will see this lays down a line at the edge of the section you want to cut out.
- I personally recommend doing small sections at a time as there is nothing more frustrating than getting close to selecting all the way around only to mis-click and have to start all over again.
- Join the end of your line back to the start position and click back on that start position. This will automatically create a polygonal shape that can be cut-out.
Repeat this process until all the background has been cut-out.
From here you could zoom into the image and tidy up some of the edges by repeating the process but getting in closer to the edge that when you did your original cut. It depends on how big your image will be at the end of the day as to whether you need to go to this level.
Making Your Image Transparent
Next click on the Magic Wand icon:
- Then click into the white space you have created around the image you want as your final cut-out.
- Right click and select “Invert Selection”. This will put a dashed line around the section you want as you cut-out.
- From the Edit menu select Copy
- Click on the File menu and then New Image
- In the dialogue box that appears ensure you check the two boxes at the bottom
This will create a new image with a checkerboard (transparent) background. All you have to do now is save the image by clicking File, then Save and selecting the PNG option in the Format drop-down. Give your image a name and click OK.
You now have a cut-out image with a transparent background which you can now overlay on other images or backgrounds without having any square borders around it.
Over To You
I hope you have found this article useful and more so get a great deal of value from using Pixlr in your business. I would love to hear your feedback not only on whether or not you found this post useful but also how you have used it to add value to your business. Please let me know in the comments box below.
If you would like to discover more valuable free tools that can help grow your business simply request a copy of my free guide.