How to Cut Out an Object in Photoshop
If you want to cut out an object from a photograph, you can find the tools to do it in Photoshop. The tool you choose depends on the complexity of the object. For example, if you are cutting out an image of a person with curly hair, the Pen tool is the best thing to use. It's very precise and will be able to cut out a detailed image. If the object has a lot of simple lines and curves, the Polygonal Lasso tool will work. Cutting out an object in Photoshop is a great skill to have if you are a graphic designer working on any type of publication or web graphic. Try these steps to cut out an object using the Pen tool.
Open the photograph in Photoshop. Unlock the background layer by going to the "Layers" palette. Double-click the layer. It will prompt you to name the layer "Layer 1." It is fine to leave it as is. Under the "Layer" menu, select "Duplicate Layer." Making a copy of the original will allow you to start fresh if you need to.
In the "Tools" palette, select the Pen tool.
Begin outlining your object with the Pen tool. Zoom in on an area where you want to start. Click to start creating the path.
Drag your cursor to make the first curve, following the outline of your object. Go all the away around the object, creating many small curves. Once your path is connected, you will have one continuous outline, forming a shape around your desired object.
Open the "Paths" palette. Your completed path will appear. Double-click it. A dialog box will appear, prompting you to save it. Click "Save Path."
At the bottom of the "Paths" palette, click the dotted circle button. This allows you to load the work path as a selection. You will see that your object's outline changes from a solid line (as a work path) to a dotted line (a selection). Under the "Select" menu, choose "Inverse." This selects everything but your object (the background). Press "Delete" to delete the background.
If there are other parts that need to be cut out, such as an enclosed background space, make a new path surrounding the area. Create a selection from the work path and press "Delete."
Open the "Layers" palette. Press the "Command" key (on a Mac) or "Control" key (Windows). This will combine the work paths so that it is all one shape, with all background areas deleted.
Click the small arrow on the side of the "Paths" palette. Select "Clipping Path." This will create a clipping mask of the object, which means a transparent background will always accompany the cut-out object.
Tips & Warnings
- While using the Pen tool, if you need to modify the path, click the same tool in the toolbar to access the Convert Point tool. You can adjust your curve so it better fits the outline of your object.
- See References to get additional help learning the Pen tool.