How to Use Background Eraser Tool in Photoshop CC 2022

Unwanted or incompatible background always ruins a beautiful photograph. And sometimes, editing images to remove backgrounds or change them becomes essential for various reasons. But which tool do you use for that, and how do you use it?

While there are several tools in Photoshop CC, one of the handiest and quick-solution to remove background is using the Photoshop background eraser tool. This tool allows you to draw complex backgrounds from the image without disturbing the subject.

Now, the only way to know how to use this tool is to learn to remove background with it. So today, you will learn how to use the background eraser tool in Photoshop CC and why you need to use it.

How to Use The Background Eraser Tool In Photoshop CC

Photoshop application has many tools to remove background, one of which is the background eraser tool.

Rather than erasing an entire section of an image, the background eraser tool allows you to remove parts of the image background without bothering the subject. Let’s learn how you can find this tool in your Photoshop application and how it works.

Eraser Tool

To understand the background eraser Photoshop tool, you must know how to find it first. So let’s spot the Eraser Tool Photoshop has.

Look at the left side Toolbar and look for an icon that looks like an eraser. When you click on the tool, you will get three different tool options:

  • Background Eraser Tool

The Background Eraser tool works differently than the previous one. Instead of removing pixels only, this tool removes whatever is under the cursor. The tool erases the background creating a circular spot as it goes.

This tool also has several adjustment options, including Brush Size, Sampling, Limits, Tolerance, etc. You can use the Background Eraser Tool without ruining the image foreground. I will discuss these options shortly and explain how they work.

  • Magic Eraser Tool

The Magic Eraser works like the Magic Wand Tool in many ways. Both tools help select the subject and automatically separate the subject from the background. The only difference is that this tool does not remove subjects but the selected pixels.

The Magic Eraser tool allows you to adjust Tolerance to ensure you can remove color shades as needed. However, it is not always the ideal background removal tool for complex subjects.

Since you are here to learn about the Photoshop background eraser tool, let’s stick to the other options you will find when using this tool. After selecting the Background Eraser Tool, you will get the following options below the menu bar.

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One of the first options you will get is the Sampling Options,

where you will see three similar yet different eyedropper-like tools. And they are (from left to right):

  • Continuous

Photoshop always keeps the Continuous option on by default. When you select that Sampling option, the crosshair tool picks the color underneath it. It is suitable for removing backgrounds with multiple colors.

  • Once

Next comes the Once tool, and photo editors frequently use it for removing solid or single-colored backgrounds. As you can tell from its name, it only picks one color at a time. Unlike the Continuous tool, it does not pick a color based on what it gets. The perk of using this tool is that it will prevent erasing anything accidentally.

  • Background Swatch

If you get trouble erasing a particular color from the background, you will find the Background Swatch option useful. You must select the color swatch option after selecting Background Swatch to match the background color. And you must select a color as close as possible to the background to ensure it can be removed with more ease.


The Limits option is another essential part, with 3 different options. Here are more options you will find when selecting the Limits setting.

  • Contiguous

After selecting the Background Eraser Tool, you will find the Continguous setting is selected by default under the Limits option. When you keep this option selected, it only removes the portion of the background it directly touches. It means that if you are trying to remove background from fur, hair, tree branches, or leaves, this option will protect them.

  • Fine Edges

Removing the pixels under the branches and hair or fur is pretty challenging when you use the Contiguous option. That is when you will need to select the Fine Edges option. It helps smoothen the hard-to-reach areas and offers the best outcome.

  • Discontiguous

There will be parts of an image where you can neither apply the Contiguous or Fine Edges options. That is when you need to select the Discontiguous option. It helps find matched pixels of the Sampling and remove them from behind or through the subject.


The only option to differentiate between the pixel and the sampled color is the Tolerance setting. You can set the Tolerance level from 0% to 100%.

The more color difference you have between the background and subject, the higher tolerance level you will need.

Protecting Foreground Color

At the end of the options bar, you will see another setting called Protect Foreground Color with an empty box on the left.

If the box is unchecked, you need to click on it, and a tick mark will appear. Doing so will prevent the crosshair from erasing the subject, even if it matches the background color.

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Removing Background With The Background Eraser Tool

The Background Eraser Tool Photoshop offers is useful if you want more control over your editing tools. Even if the tool seems simple and a good alternative for other complex tools, the Background Eraser Tool can do as much heavy erasing work as the other.

So, what type of photos are suitable to edit with this Photoshop tool?

The Background Eraser Tool works best when there is a color difference between the subject and the background. Now, here is a step-by-step guide on how to remove the background using the Background Eraser Tool.

Step 1: Open The Image

Start by launching the Photoshop application on your device before opening the photo to remove the background. Double-click on the Photoshop application icon and wait a few seconds for the application to launch. Then upload the photo on the application from the menu.

First, go to the menu bar and click on File to open the drop-down menu. From there, select Open, and it will open your device storage. Choose your photo and select OK to upload the photo on the application.

You can open the image using the shortcut command from your keyboard. Press CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC), which will take you directly to your device storage.

Step 2: Duplicate The Layer

Once the image opens on the Photoshop application, go to the layer section and right-click on the image layer. Then select Duplicate Layer from the drop-down menu.

You can also duplicate the layer using shortcut commands CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC). Then look at the small box on the left of the layer to find the eye icon and click on it to make the icon invisible.

Step 3: Select The Background Eraser Tool

Now, your task is to select the Background Eraser Tool, which you might not find directly on the Toolbar. So you must find it from the Eraser Tool option.

Simply click on the Eraser Tool icon on the Toolbar, and the Background Eraser Tool will be there. You must click on the option to activate the tool.

Step 4: Select The Brush

Before applying the tool to the image, you must make adjustments to get the best result. So go up and find a new bar under the menu with various tool options.

One of the first ones is a bright white Brush option. Select your Brush size depending on how many areas you want to remove at a time.

Step 5: Choose Sampling Type

Next to the Brush option, you will find the Sampling option with three different eyedropper icons.

The Sampling options are Contiguous, Once, and Background Swatch. Select the first option, Contiguous, as your tool Sampling as it works best for removing complex backgrounds efficiently.

Step 6: Set Limits And Tolerance

You have two more adjustment options, like setting Limits and Tolerance levels. Set the Limits to Fine Edges, which ensures the tool removes the pixels from the edges flawlessly.

Then set the Tolerance level to a number based on your requirement. Setting a higher number will erase widely, while a lower number will work more sharply.

Step 7: Erase The Background

Your Background Eraser Tool and the settings are all done. Now all you have to do is click and move the pointer over the image background. Since you have set up the tool based on the image type, it can remove the background without damaging the main subject.

For example, if you have an image subject with hair, fur, trees, and branches, it is unlikely they will be removed during the process. And change the brush size now and then based on the area you are working on. You can also Zoom into the image to work more precisely.

The Photoshop Background Eraser Tool allows you to undo any mistakes to ensure perfect results. Simply press CTRL+Z (COMMAND+Z on MAC) to undo your last work. You can do it multiple times and then work on the background again.

Tips To Use Photoshop Background Eraser Tool

Now that you know how to use Background Eraser Tool in Photoshop CC to remove background, handling other tools and options will gradually seem easier. But you can still use some tips and tricks to ensure you can use this tool more effortlessly and get a flawless result.

  • Always Keep A Backup

Editing images, even if it is only erasing backgrounds, includes plenty of other work. While a pro editor will know how to specifically use all tools, beginners learn them over time. So if you are a beginner, you might have to make adjustments here and there even after you reach the end of the project.

But the complexity of using the Photoshop background eraser tool is that you remove all the pixels permanently. You can undo your work or make adjustments when the application is running and you haven’t closed the app yet. But once you have closed and reopened the application, you cannot make any more changes to your saved work.

So the best way to ensure this problem does not happen is to save the original layer before applying the Background Eraser Tool. Duplicating the layer allows you to return to it if you mess up erasing the background. You can also keep a copy of your edited file before applying the eraser tool as a backup.

  • Use Shortcut Commands

Going through the menu bar or Toolbars and other selecting options is time-consuming. Pro editors and designers always prefer using keyboard shortcuts for doing any work. This way, you save time and finish your work quickly and more efficiently.

  • Erase To History

Another way to not mess up your hard work is to use Erase To History option. If you have saved a snapshot or a state, you can use this option to erase any change you have made since the snapshot. Using this tool will not undo any of your previous work.

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When To Use The Background Eraser Tool

You don’t need to apply the background eraser tools every time you need to edit an image or remove backgrounds. Though convenient and efficient, this tool also has some limitations. However, the background eraser tool can be handy in certain cases.

To Maintain Transparency

You can hide the photo pixels to remove the background in most cases. But hiding and eliminating them is not the same because the pixels are still under the layer masking. This can become a problem when you try creating a multiple photo composite or placing a logo on another image.

But when you use the Background Eraser Tool, it eliminates all pixels you want it to without requiring any layer mask. So it helps you maintain transparency as the background canvas becomes empty. Just remember to save the image as PNG to ensure the pixels do not appear white later.

To Create A Fine-Tune Channel Mask

You will need the Background Eraser Tool to create a Fine-Tune channel mask. If you open a layer mask when editing, you will create a new channel. If you select this channel using the Block eraser mode, adjusting the black pixels and modifying the mask will become more efficient.

Advantages Of Erasing Backgrounds

Why do you think people choose the background eraser Photoshop tool for removing or changing the background? Because erasing the existing background or changing it using any removal tool helps change the image value.

While such work is often done for e-commerce and online business, many people also choose it for personal and photographic purposes. Here are many advantages of erasing or removing background in Photoshop.

Enhances Image

If the background does not suit the image or makes it look dull, it is better to let it go or change it. Erasing the original image background is one of the best ways to replace it with something different and appropriate. In this way, you enhance the image and make it more attractive.

Polished Finish

The background eraser photoshop tool helps remove backgrounds efficiently. You can change the tools and other settings to ensure no unwanted areas are left. Thus it leaves a better and professional finish and makes the image appear more polished.

Less Editing Complexity

When the unnecessary background is erased, you do not have to go through any extra editing hassle to change the background. And even if you change it, the process will be comparatively less hassle. Besides, erasing the background makes placing the subject easily on any other images easier.

Increases Authenticity

It is challenging to earn customers’ or viewers’ trust without appearing original. And the background removal edit helps ensure authenticity regarding the photo and builds trust between clients and sellers. This benefits e-commerce business owners as their customers depend entirely on product images.

Increases Image/Product Value

As mentioned a moment ago, having the right and authentic background is essential to attracting customers and increasing product value. The same goes for professional photographers who want to secure more clients by increasing image value.

Boosts Sales/Business

Whether an e-commerce or online business or professional photographic service, knowing how to erase background comes in handy to boost sales and help the business grow. That is the entire point of changing or removing backgrounds using the background eraser.

Read More:- How to Make Background Transparent in Photoshop?

Alternatives To Background Eraser Tool

It is quite challenging for newbies to sit down with enough patience to remove the background. Besides, if you do not save your photo layer, changing it later will become impossible. So if you are unsure about using the Background Eraser Tool to eliminate unnecessary backgrounds, here are two alternatives.

Layer Mask

The Layer Mask tool is one of the best ways to eliminate unwanted backgrounds. Unlike the eraser tool, Layer Mask does not remove the original pixels. Instead, it hides the selected pixels to make them look invisible.

It is the best way to remove backgrounds or unwanted parts of the image without causing any damage. Since you hide the pixels with this effect, you can always undo the Layer Mask and make the background visible again.

Auto Erase

The Auto Erase is not one of the main tools you can pick from the Toolbar. Instead, you need to open the Pencil Tool to activate it. However, using the tool is slightly complex if you cannot understand how it works.

This tool paints the image’s foreground pixel color with the background color. Doing this replaces areas that do not have a foreground color with that of the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Making the background eraser transparent is pretty simple. First, you select the tool and apply it to the background layer. Applying the tool to the image will make it transparent. After that, select the basic Eraser tool, and you will get transparency whenever you apply it to an image.

If you cannot find the Background Eraser Tool directly on the Toolbar, do not worry. The tool is a part of the Eraser Tool, and you have to select that first from the Toolbar and then select the Background Eraser Tool.

If you cannot find the Eraser Tool, click on the ellipsis icon at the bottom of the bar, and you can search it out from the customize option.

In most cases, the Background Eraser Tool or any other tool does not seem to work in Photoshop because the layer is locked. You must ensure the layer is unlocked to make the tool work.

The Magic Eraser Tool works like the Magic Wand Tool, where you click on the image, and the tool removes color based on the tolerance level. On the other hand, the Background Eraser Tool removes an image color from its layer.

Final Verdict

The Photoshop Background Eraser Tool works differently for different photos. When you choose the right image, erasing backgrounds no longer feels like a challenging task.

And now, you can see that removing backgrounds using the Background Eraser Tool is simpler than most other tools. But you must learn how to use Background Eraser Tool in Photoshop CC to do it correctly and practice until you no longer need to follow tutorials.

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