Wednesday, March 21

CoffeeShop Tutorial: Making Transparent pngs for Designing

I just discovered The Graphics Fairy website where you can download beautiful vintage clip art for free!  I used this cute vintage rabbit for my Facebook Easter cover I posted yesterday and I was inspired to write a little tutorial on removing a white background from clip art.  This is just one way to do it in PSE or Photoshop Elements, but it is an easy technique and can work really well.
1.  I right-clicked on the rabbit on the Graphics Fairy Website (seen in the image above) and downloaded it on my desktop.  This image was a jpg so the background was white.  I wanted to remove all of the white so I could put the rabbit on  some vintage digital paper.

2.  I selected W for my magic wand and made sure that it was set for new selection (first box on menubar), set the tolerance to 10 (this can be adjusted) and made sure Contiguous was not checked (because there is white in the middle of the rabbit I want to remove).  Then I clicked on the white space around the rabbit to select all of the white in the image.

3.  I then double-clicked on the Background layer (rabbit) in the layer pane and when the New Layer menu popped up, I clicked on OK.  You can't remove the white from a layer called Background.  Then I clicked on Delete on my keyboard and all of the white was removed.  Then click on Command-D to remove the marking ants.

4.  The rabbit is now on a transparent background and you can save it as a png to keep it that way.  Don't save it as a jpg or the white background will come back!!!

5.  I dragged the rabbit (V for move tool) and dropped him on some vintage paper and free transformed him to fit (Ctrl-T).  Make sure you hold shift in PS/check Constrain Proportions in PSE or your rabbit will get distorted.

6.  Now you can play.  If you put the rabbit layer in soft light or blending mode it will fade into the paper.

7. If you want to add color, add a color fill adjustment layer above the rabbit (keep the rabbit in normal mode), group it, and then adjust the color to taste.

I hope you have fun downloading free clipart from The Graphics Fairy!!!  And thank you so much Karen for sharing your designs.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been wondering how to do this.

  2. omg! I love this post! I never knew you could do that, thank you so much <3

  3. I, too, have been wanting to learn how to do this, but didn't have the time to stop and figure it out. Thank you, Rita, for such a concise tutorial!

  4. I seriously spent 4 hours two nights ago trying to figure out the best way to do this in PSE. Thank you! Thank you!

  5. I tried with a graphic that I got from The Graphics Fairy and it worked great. Thanks for letting me know how to get rid of the white. Thanks so is appreciated.

  6. Thanks so much, Rita! This is great!

    I was having trouble with step #7. When I follow your instructions the back ground changes color but not the image. What am I doing wrong? HELP! ( "

  7. Oh whee, that simple and never knew to do it right LOL.
    Was wondering how to get rid of the white inside the grafic, never thought to uncheck the contigious box.
    Thanks a lot for making some work easier.!

  8. Thank you for the informative tutorial. There is another way that I use that you might like, too. Click on 'Select'>'Color Range'. When the window opens, click anywhere on the white space. When you hit 'okay', all of the white will be selected. Hit 'Delete' and it disappears! (You may have to check the box 'Invert' in the Color Range window.)

    'Tis just another way to achieve the same results as you did.
    Thank you! I sure enjoy your blog!


  9. Great Tutorial Rita!! I'll be tweeting it out to my Twitter followers later today. I love the Facebook Easter header that you made too, you do beautiful work!

  10. Thank you for an easy way of doing this!


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