Types of Extraction in Photoshop

Method 1 – Pen Tool:

Select the Pen Tool from the Tools on the left. It’s easier if you zoom in to your image and start to create a new work path by plotting Anchor points along the outline of your subject.

Once you have closed the workpath, go to Paths tab and you will see your newly created workpath there. Ctrl-click on the workpath layer to load selection. Select > Inverse to select the area outside the subject. Press Delete.

Method 2 – Extract Tool:

Open up your image and go to Filter > Extract. A new interface will appear. Select the Edge Highlighter tool with an appropriate size, draw along the outline of your subject. It does not have to be very accurate.

Get the Fill tool to fill within the highlighted outline you drew earlier. Click on Preview button. Hit OK if you are satisfied else redo highlighting th edges.

Method 3 – Layer Mask:

Select the layer of the subject and click on Add Layer Mask. You will see a white box appear on the layer tab. Select Brush tool of an appropriate size and color #000000, start painting the areas outside of the subject. Things to note are, #000000 is to hide and #FFFFFF is to reveal details.

This method is very forgiving by toggling between these two colors.

Method 4 – Magic Wand Tool:

This is a very fast form of extraction provided the background is of similar colors. Select the Magic Wand tool on the left and click on any part of the background that you wish to remove.

You may try different values on the Tolerance. Once you selected the whole background, press Delete.

Method 5 – Lasso Tool:

This is similar to Pen tool except that no work path is created during the process.

Select Polygonal Lasso tool and start to point along the edges of the subject. Double-click on the left mouse button once you are ready to close the selection.

Select > Inverse. Press Delete.

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84 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Infotto says:

    Someone ask about extract filter on CS4, you can install it from your goodies dvd or download the goodies form the adobe page.

    In CS5 extract filter was replaced from a better version of Refine Edge.

    Select a portion with lasso tool and go to Selec>Refine Edge

  2. Hadleigh says:

    How do you do you go to photoshop???

  3. Abot says:

    I use cs4 but i dont have this filter, plz where i can downlad it or active it or buy …

  4. Arsh says:

    Hi. I m using CS3 . but i m not understanding the second method (extract tool) ..Can anyone help me..??

  5. teena says:

    hey…….thanks………its so easy….:)

  6. Que trabajo bien escho,los felicito gracia…

  7. Johnson Koh says:

    Yeap Jessica. Extract tool has been removed in CS4 with unknown reasons. But you can add it back by using the method you just found. Have fun! 🙂

  8. Jessica says:

    Hi, I am using CS4 and I am new to photoshop…student. And i cannot find Extract anywhere in the drop down menu under filter??? Can someone please help?


  9. Katarina says:

    Hi, I have Photoshop CS4 and I tried to use the method for extracting but I cannot find the Extract option in the Filter selection. Is it and additional option that has to be downloaded extra?

    Thank you

  10. Viva says:

    woooooow……..TY alooooooot :)………….I never thought It could be that easy

  11. vitinin says:

    Soy nuevo en Photoshop y estuve buscando tutoriales para aprender y hacer modificaciones en las fotos de mi hijito y tu tutorial es muy bueno y se que me va a servir mucho. Gracias

  12. kgsomaraj says:

    Very clear and easy to follow

  13. naxo says:

    esta buenaoo gracias 😛

  14. I mostly only use the magic wand tool for the majour parts and pen tool for the detail works. nice tutorial will try out the others to 😉

  15. damoon says:

    hey hi
    i’m iranian and thx for your tutorials on this site sorry i cant speak english very well but thank u very much.
    miss sandra the best way is layer mask this way is very easy way for erase backgrond of pic

  16. Tadd says:

    To be honest, the best way to extract is the pen tool. You can get the most accurate cut with it possible and the edges are usually pretty smooth. TIP: Don’t do brazier curves right away – just point to point. Once you have a generic form, click the white arrow under the pen tool and right click to add a point, drag that and it will curve your line at that point. You can go through and add some nice points – and even remove the old points.

    Very good and quick look.

    • evilkitty75 says:

      I agree with tad i use the pen tool gives u more control and the best thing is u can then use the selection tools to move the anchors ^.^

  17. Johnson says:

    No problem 🙂 I’m glad to help. Have fun there!

  18. sandra johnson says:

    Thank you very much for your help. I can’t believe I have searched the Internet all day looking for this answer. I found lots of other neat stuff but this should have been all over the place!!

    I’m very grateful to you.

  19. Johnson says:

    Hi Sandra,
    1) Open up the 2 images, your dog and the house, in Photoshop.
    2) Extract the dog from its background using one of the methods mentioned above.
    3) Use Move tool to drag the extracted dog into house image document as a new layer on top.
    4) Close your original dog image document once you have both extracted dog and house in the same document.
    5) In case the resolution of these 2 images are different (for e.g. your dog seem to be much bigger than the house), you may go to Edit > Free Transform. Position your cursor to any corners of the selection till you see a 2-sided arrow. Hold down Shift key. Hold down left mouse button as well then start to move your cursor diagonally. This way your dog wil be resize proportionally.
    6) Hit Enter once you get the size you want.

    Hope these steps are of some help!

  20. sandra johnson says:

    I am new to Photoshop but understand how to cut out an image and/or background. What I don’t understand is: Where is this image saved so that I can resize it to fit proportionally into another image (or photo)? I am trying to fit one of my dogs into a photo of my house and front yard. I know I could simply take a photo of him there but he wouldn’t stay.
    I would appreciate any advise.

    Thank you

  21. monsterTruck says:

    nice compilation! 🙂

  22. anelka9 says:

    awesome tutorial, i really didn’t know it could be that easy..lol

  23. admin says:


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