Create a Transparent Image Background Using Pixlr
Create images with transparent backgrounds
A designer without Photoshop
When my previous computer went to silicone heaven, I was faced with the challenge of buying new software. I'm a designer and have used Photoshop forever but it's so expensive, particularly when I'd just bought a new laptop.
So here was my challenge - could I work without Photoshop? Could I discover something free that I could use instead?
Well, that was over a year ago and I don't miss Photoshop at all.
Create transparent backgrounds easily and quickly
Use a free online service to create your graphics
I love this photograph. It's a stock image I purchased a couple of years ago and I've used it in several designs. But the problem is that it has a solid white background. How can I change that?
Not only can I do so free, without the need of any special computer programs, but it takes only a minute and is so easy to do.
By using pixlr (I use the Google Chrome app but it's available as a website too) anyone can achieve professional results.
Online or as an app
When I discovered this online app, I thought it was likely to be an inferior version of the professional programs I've used for the last twenty years.
'Maybe' I thought 'I can use it until my finances have recovered and I can buy proper professional gear again.' That hasn't been necessary.
So here's a demonstration showing you how to easily create a transparent background for your images - in mere minutes.
If you're in a hurry, click here to jump to the quick guide.
Here you see my image uploaded to pixlr.com
The wand tool
You can see in the image above that the sunflower is now outlined. This is because I have tapped on the white area with the wand tool.
The wand tool (also known as the 'magic wand') is the third button down on the left hand side of the toolbar - you can see that it is selected because of its paler colour.
Click the 'edit' link on the top horizontal toolbar. You'll see the option to 'invert selection'.Choose this option.
Once you have done this, click 'edit' again. This time, select 'copy'.
Open new image
Click 'file' at the top left of the horizontal toolbar and then 'new image'. You'll see a popup (as shown in the screenshot above) where all the details are already filled out.
All you must make sure to do is check the box alongside the word 'transparent'.
The screenshot above shows you that a new canvas area has now opened. The grey and white background confirms that your new image will have a transparent background.
Remember that in the previous step we copied the selected area? (The selected area being the sunflower). Now, all we need to do is paste via the 'edit' link.
The pasted image
You can see on the screenshot above that the sunflower is now pasted into the new image with the grey and white background indicating its transparency.
Now all we have to do is save the image.
Save the image
Save and you're done
Either use the 'file' link, then 'save' or press control+s to save your image. When the dialogue box pops up (as pictured above) you can title your image.
Be sure to save the images as a png file.See the dropdown box above.
Now I can use my sunflower on any background I wish. Plain, textured, with or without copy - my image is suddenly far more adaptable and can be used in so many different ways.
See the image here on a grey background
Below is a quick guide to creating your images with transparent backgrounds
Here are the six quick and easy steps for quick reference.
- Upload your image to pixlr.com
- Click on the white background area with the wand tool
- Edit > invert selection.Edit > copy
- File > new image. Be sure to check the 'transparent' box
- Edit > paste
- File > save. Be sure to save your image as a png file
If only this had been available years ago... This is cloud version of InDesign and has many advantages over merely purchasing the software. One important one is that you can pay for it on a monthly basis at a low fee. Save even more by paying annually. Truly brilliant.
Recommended graphics program
I was delighted to learn that there was no need for me to buy Photoshop. Even though I've been using it for so many years, it's been easy to adapt to the free online app.
I searched long and hard though to find a free or less expensive substitute for InDesign. I used InDesign daily and I knew that it was a program I couldn't do without. It is the professional design tool.
The cost was prohibitive though but I found a wonderful solution - the cloud version.
See the column on the right to learn more.
At one time, these professional programs were only available at high cost - often it was the design studio owners who bore the cost to ensure that their designers had the latest up-to-date versions.
Now anyone can enjoy and benefit from these professional services.
© 2014 Jackie Jackson
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