How to Delete a Background in GIMP

Creating visually engaging content in the digital landscape requires you to remove backgrounds that aren’t consistent with your images. GIMP is among the best beginner-friendly tools that can help you delete an image background and retain its natural look.

How to Delete a Background in GIMP

If you don’t know how to delete image backgrounds on GIMP, you’re in the right place. This article discusses all five methods that you can use.

Deleting a Background in GIMP

GIMP’s user interface is a bit cluttered compared to other software specializing in background removal. But this is to avail all the tools you need for all your image editing tools. Also, deleting the image background is labor intensive but will give impressive results.

Using the Fuzzy Select Tool to Delete Background in GIMP

The fuzzy select tool method is ideal if your image has contrasting foreground and background colors. It works by selecting similar pixels within an image’s local area. When using this method, you should choose a small portion at a time to avoid tampering with image details you’d like to keep.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Launch your GIMP app, and tap the “File” option in the top left corner.
  2. Select “Open” to pick the image you want to edit from your device.
  3. After selecting, tap “Open” in the bottom right corner. This will add your photo to the editing dashboard.
  4. Highlight the image and right-click on it. On the menu that appears to the right, tap “Add Alpha channel.” Alternatively, open the “Layer” option in the menu bar at the top, tap “Transparency,” and select “Add Alpha channel” from the drop-down menu.
  5. Navigate to the left and choose “Fuzzy select tool” from the tool palette.
  6. In the “Fuzzy select” section, ensure you’ve checked “Antialiasing,” “Feather edges,” and “Draw mask.”
  7. Tap the background section you want to delete and drag the mouse to increase or decrease the threshold.
  8. When satisfied, let go of the mouse and hit “Delete” to remove the background section. Repeat the process until you remain with a transparent background. You can add a pattern or color to your background.
  9. When you finish, tap the “File” option in the menu bar and hit “Save” to download the image on your computer.

Using the Color Tool to Delete Background in GIMP

The select by color method highlights all pixels with the same color to delete them together. It works well for vector images or images with a uniform background color distribution. If you use it on real-world photos, you might get undesirable results because of too many color gradients.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the image with the background you want to delete.
  2. Go to the tool palette and choose the “Select by color” tool. Alternatively, tap the “Tools” option in the menu bar at the top and select “Selection tools.” Pick “Select by color” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Go to the “Select by color section” in the left side pane and check “Antialiasing,” “Feather edges,” and “Draw mask.”
  4. Click the background section with the color you want to delete and drag the mouse to the right to increase the selection or to the left to decrease it. This will select other areas in the background with the same color.
  5. Hit the “Delete” button to remove the background, or go to the “Edit” option in the menu bar and select “Clear” from the drop-down menu.
  6. Repeat the process for other colors until your background is transparent, and save your image.

Using the Foreground Select Tool to Delete Background in GIMP

If your photo has intricate details such as hair, fur, and fluffy or serrated edges, using the foreground select tool will help you get better results. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your GIMP app and load your image into the editing dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the left and select “Foreground select tool” from the tool palette. This will allow you to draw within your image.
  3. Return to the image and outline it. The outline doesn’t have to be perfect but should enclose the image without leaving gaps.
  4. Hit “Enter,” and the editor will highlight the background in dark blue and the foreground in light blue.
  5. Manually brush your image to remove the light blue coloring. However, be careful not to go beyond the edges.
  6. When you finish brushing, tap the “Preview” button to see if you’ve cleared the blue mask perfectly. If you’re happy with how the image is, press “Enter.”
  7. Open the “Select” tab in the menu bar and select “Invert.”
  8. Hit the “Delete” button on your keyboard to remove the background. Save the image on your device.

Using the Layer Mask to Delete Background in GIMP

Like the foreground select tool method, this method is appropriate for images with intricate details and outstanding contrast between the foreground and background.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open your picture on the GIMP editing dashboard and right-click on it.
  2. Select “Create a duplicate layer” to have two images.
  3. Highlight the duplicate image and tap the “Color” tab in the menu bar. Select “Saturation” from the drop-down menu and reduce the scale to zero. Tap “OK” when you finish.
  4. Return to the “Color” menu and tap “Curves.” Adjust the bottom and top nodes to fill the background with white and the image with more black.
  5. In the color menu, select “Invert.” Go to the “Edit” tab and choose “Copy visible.”
  6. Click the “Eye” icon in the toolbox to the right to hide the duplicate image layer.
  7. Right-click the original image and tap “Add layer mask.” Hit the “Add” button to continue.
  8. Tap the “Edit” tab and choose “Paste.” Afterward, select the “Green anchor” icon in the bottom right corner. This will change the background from white to transparent.
  9. Go to the toolbar palette to the right and select the “White brush” tool to clear any imperfections in your image. Once you finish adjusting the image to your preferences, save it on your device.

Enhance Your Image Background

When you know how to use GIMP, you don’t have to worry about where you take your photos. It has all the tools necessary for editing any type of background. Fortunately, the process is relatively easy. Plus, GIMP is free, and you can use it on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Do you use GIMP to delete the image background? Which is your favorite method and why? Tell us in the comments section below.

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