One of the major tasks in some types of photo editing tasks for graphic designers and photographers is to remove a background in Affinity Photo. You might need it to remove the background completely for a product photo that needs to have a white background or a transparent background for a magazine cover. In this Affinity Photo tutorial for removing backgrounds, we will cover everything you need to know.
Step-by-Step: How to Remove a Background in Affinity Photo
You can get a quick view of the process in the table of content below, and jump to any section you want.
- Step-by-Step: How to Remove a Background in Affinity Photo
- Step 1: Open the Image
- Step 2: Unlock the Background Layer
- Step 3: Rasterize and Trim
- Step 4: Create a Selection using the Selection Brush Tool
- Step 5: Refine the Selection
- Step 6: Invert the Selection (if you selected the subject)
- Step 7: Press Delete
- Step 8: Export your Image with a Transparent Background
Step 1: Open the Image
You should first find and open the image you want to edit with Affinity Photo to remove the background. We will use this Scottish Highland Bull as our model.
AFFINITY PHOTO Workflow Video Course
Stop fumbling around in Affinity Photo Begin to use it like a PRO
Step 2: Unlock the Background Layer
Before you can make changes to the background layer you need to unlock it. Go to the Layers Panel, and click on the little padlock icon next to the background pixel layer.
Step 3: Rasterize and Trim
In order to be able to remove the background completely from your image, and make the background transparent, you need to right-click on the background layer and select Rasterize & Trim…
This allows you to edit the image on a pixel level.
Step 4: Create a Selection using the Selection Brush Tool
A magic tool for creating selections in Affinity Photo is the Selection Brush Tool. Select it from the left side toolbar or use the shortcut W to activate it. Any selection tool in Affinity Photo can work, but we’ll use the Selection Brush Tool in this tutorial.
Create a selection of the subject you want to keep by clicking and dragging. You can also select the background directly if your image has good contrast between the background and the subject. However, the sample I choose to work on is a bit more difficult.
Step 5: Refine the Selection
Once you have a fairly good selection, click on the Refine Selection button in the Context Toolbar.
When you click the Refine button, the dialog box opens with an overlay mode, the selection being visible, while the non-selection being red.
Now slowly start to brush around the hair area, letting Affinity do its smart selections. As you might see, the selection is being re-calculated, and the edges are refined.
Important Tip: Refine the edge selection in small steps
Start to brush from the areas you are sure to be selected, even if it gets repeated, and slowly hover around the edges.
Change brush size with the shortcut keys [ and ] as the need arises. For delicate areas, a small brush size is a great idea.
When you are ready simply click on Apply, you will have a precise selection of your subject (or background if you selected that directly.
Step 6: Invert the Selection (if you selected the subject)
To invert a selection, go to Select > Invert Pixel Selection. If you have selected the background directly using the Selection Brush Tool, you can simply skip this step.
Step 7: Press Delete
With the selection active, press the Delete key to get rid of the selection. This leaves you with a blank, transparent background. You can now insert it on a white or black background or whatever you want.
Step 8: Export your Image with a Transparent Background
If you want, you can leave the background transparent and save it as a .png file. This allows you to preserve the transparent background when you use it in Affinity Designer.
As you can see, you can use Affinity Photo to cut out backgrounds in even the most difficult scenarios.
What is your preferred Affinity Photo background removal method?
Hey I’m Peter. I’m the owner and editor of Photography-RAW. I make sure that you get the best articles about photography. Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape, nature and macro photography.
I hope you enjoy the site 🙂