What you will need:
1. Your photo, I will be using this image
|Yo, that's me as a dude who should be at the beach or something|
3. Optional your intended background image, but for this tutorial we aren't putting the figure anywhere.
Technique one, Erasing the background:
1. Open up your image, you will notice in the layers box that your image is locked and labeled background.
We need it as a layer. So just double click it and a pop up will appear asking you to name the layer. I just hit okay.
|le pop up, btw I'm using Photoshop CS4 on Mac so do not fear if yours looks different|
Now it is layer zero. This is important because if you don't turn the background into a layer, when you erase, a white background will remain. Our goal is to have the figure on a transparent background so that we can stick it anywhere.
|its a layer now|
2. Select the 'Eraser tool'. Erase off the bulk of the background around the figure. Leave some space around the figure. I use 'Hard Round brush' any large size required for this step.
|Do not be alarmed by the checkered background that happens as you erase. It just means that that area is transparent and now has nothing there|
3. As you can see there is some still some background around the figure. We don't want to erase the background touching the figure with the hard brush because in actual fact the pixel of the figure actually blends with the pixels of the background.
|Notice the blend of pixels|
So now select the 'soft round brush' size 9. I'd advise not to use bigger then size 10 unless your image has insanely great resolution. This is because the soft brush actually has a border around it that will erase more then its actual size at varying opacity. That's why the icon representing the brush is like a fuzzy ball.
|soft round brush pt 9|
Now zoom in, and erase the background around the figure. Don't touch the brush direct on the line where back ground and skin connects because as I said before the brush is actually bigger then the circle that marks it out. This might take a while but it is worth it.
|don't get too close to the figure|
Around the hair, vary brush sizes with size 3 and 5 to get the gaps between the hair and not loose spikes. Change sizes to clear bended areas like knuckles or where clothes and skin meet.
|Vary brush sizes to get a more accurate clean|
|PNG if you intended to view this file and keep the transparent background anywhere|
Technique two, Quick selection tool:
1. Open your file and select the 'Quick Selection tool'. It is with the 'Magic Wand Tool'
|Quick Selection Tool|
|Click, drag and selection begins.|
|Add to selection wand. Select that and keep going|
|Over selected, select 'Subtract from selection' wand and decrease brush size|
|Just leave area over selected|
|You are able to deselect unwanted space in the middle of you selection with the 'subtract selection tool'|
|Select as close as possible|
|New layer with selection appears!!|
|Hides background layer visibility|
|As you can see besides the part that needs erasing, quick selection tool has cut the figure out nicely.|
5. Save the image as .psd or .png and you are done :D
|Nice and clear ready to be plopped in anywhere|