How Do I White Out an Area With Photoshop?

By Eirik Ott

Finding the perfect photograph to use as an online icon is something everyone with a MySpace or Facebook account has done, but what if the best snapshot you have needs some editing? And what if the thing you want to edit happens to be a whole person? Scissors are no longer the best way to cut someone out of your photos. With image-editing software like Adobe Photoshop, learning how to "white out" an area of a photo is simple.


The simplest and easiest way to white out an area in Photoshop is with the Eraser tool. First, make sure the background color is set to white. The foreground/background color selection is at the bottom of the Toolbox (it looks like two overlapping squares). Click on the background color box, which will take you to a window that will allow you to choose the background color. Set the values next to C,M,Y and K to 0%, then click "OK." Next, click on the Eraser tool in the Toolbox—it looks just like an elementary school eraser—to activate the Eraser cursor. Click on the area of the image you would like to white out, press and hold the mouse button and drag to erase the area. After you are finished whiting out the area you want to erase, release the mouse button. If you make a mistake, simply select the "Edit" menu and choose "Undo Eraser" and start over.


Another way to white out an area with Photoshop is by using the Lasso tool. This looks just like a little lasso in the Toolbox, and it allows you to trace an outline around the area you would like to delete. Before you start, make sure your background color is set to white. Click on the Lasso tool, then click and drag the Lasso cursor around the area you'd like to white out. Trace all the way around the area to be erased until you reach the starting point, then release the mouse button. You will see that the area is now highlighted. Choose the "Edit" menu and select "Cut" to delete the selected area, which will now be white.

Magic Wand

If the area you would like to white out in Photoshop is a solid block of color, you can use the Magic Wand tool to highlight it, then delete it. Choose white as your background color, then click on the Magic Wand tool in the Toolbox (it looks like a stick with sparkles coming out of the tip). Next, click on the solid area you'd like to white out. The Magic Wand tool will highlight all the areas that are the same color as the area on which you clicked. If you would like to add other areas, hold down the "Shift" key—this will add a "+" to the Magic Wand tool cursor—and click on the area you would like to add. After you have highlighted all the areas you'd like to white out, click "Edit," "Cut." This will delete the areas you have designated to reveal the white background.