How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Image editing has become an easy task, thanks to the multitude of software that has found a space in our machines. Social media further acted as a catalyst as everyone wants to look good in the photos they are sharing with the world. Even though our phones have become an efficient tool, complex image editing is still a conundrum.  Adobe Photoshop was seen a the knight in shining armor for photographers and designers and has now become the default software through which millions of people go about their work, be it complex image editing or just remodeling someone’s face.

Not everyone can afford an annual fee to pay for Photoshop’s impressive features but who said it is the only option out there? There are a lot of options that come close to Photoshop that is free and relatively easier. GIMP is one of them. GNU Manipulation Program, or GIMP, is an open-source image editor that is free and you can change its source code and share your changes.

Maybe you don’t want to do complex image-editing, you want to remove the background from a particular image and Photoshop’s tutorials make it seem more difficult. So, this article will guide you on how to make image background transparent in GIMP. Jump right in!

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

I have selected a total of four methods that are easy and will get the job done. Make sure, you try all the methods and try the easiest one next time.

Method 1: Fuzzy Select Tool

Fuzzy Select Tool lets you choose sections of an image based on color similarity. It means that if your image has a different background, say a host of various colors, then cropping the foreground section of the image could be easier.

Step 1: Select the Fuzzy Select Tool or press U on your keyboard.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 2: Once you select the tool, simply click and drag on your drag in order to create a selection. To increase the size of the selection, drag the cursor to the right and to decrease it, drag the cursor to the left. To add more sections to your selection, hold Shift and click on the desired area. To remove unwanted selections, hold the Control button and click on them.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

You’ll notice a dotted line that acts as an outline which shows that a part of your image has been selected. If the selection is created on the background, press Delete on your keyboard. Mac users can do so by going to Edit > Clear. This will delete your picture’s background portion to make it transparent.

Step 3: Now that you have created the selection by tapping on your subject, only the subject is selected. If you just want to delete the background and not the foreground or the subject, go to Select > Invert. The change won’t be visible on your screen but you inverted the selection and you now have the background selected and not the foreground. If you are past this stage, press Delete.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Method 2: Color Tool

Color Tool is a simpler option even compared to the Fuzzy Select Tool. This tool is perfect for images with a single color background and perhaps a few distinctive shades of the color.

Step 1: Select the Color Tool or press Shift + O on your keyboard.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 2: Click on the image or the color you want to delete. To increase the size of the selection, drag the cursor to the right and to decrease it, drag the cursor to the left. You can also select more shades of the same color and to do so, hold Shift and click on them. After you have created a selection from your background, press Delete on your keyboard. Mac users can go to Edit > Clear.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 3: There’s another option. To create a selection from your foreground or subject go ahead and do so, then just go to Select > Clear before deleting the selection.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Method 3: Paths Tool

You’ll need more skills and practice to use Paths Tool. But those who use GIMP to make the background Transparent, they suggest using this tool. You can crop complex images – from a bird in a complicated background to hair – with ease. It’s similar to Photoshop’s Pen Tool. You’ll have to manually select your object’s outline by using smooth lines and curves through node placement.

Step 1: Click on the Paths tool or press B on your keyboard.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 2: As this method is more complex than the others included in this article, I’ll link two YouTube videos so that you won’t have doubts regarding the usage of the Paths Tool.

Link 1 | Link 2 – Fast forward to 3:59.

Method 4: Alpha Channels

Step 1: To open the image in GIMP, go to File > Open as Layers.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 2: Tap on the background of the image or rather the area that you want to make transparent.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 3: Now go to Layer > Transparency > Add Alpha Channel.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 4: Press the Delete button on your keyboard.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 5: Now go to File > Export As.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 6: You’ll need to select the PNG file format. Now tap on Export:

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Step 7: Click on Export again.

How to make Image Background Transparent in GIMP

Your image now has a translucent background.

FAQs

Is GIMP totally free?

Yes, GIMP is a free, open-source image editor that will get the job done. It isn’t Photoshop, but hey, you won’t be paying for GIMP.

Is GIMP good for photo editing?

If editing images is just a hobby or you want to get certain changes done in your image which isn’t complicated, GIMP is a really good option for photo editing. But Photoshop can certainly do more.

How do I make an image see-through in GIMP?

To make an image see-through in GIMP, click on Windows > Layers. This layer contains the selected image by default. Now click and drag the Opacity slider which is located on top of the Layers toolbox. Drag the slider to the left to decrease the opacity and increase the transparency.

How do I cut out an image using GIMP?

It is easy to cut an image in GIMP. It places a box which is composed of moving dashes around the part of the image you want to choose.  Press Ctrl+I to invert the selection. Now press Ctrl+X to eliminate the part of the image that you don’t want. The selected object will now be transparent.

Conclusion

There it is. GIMP is easy software that needs just a little practice. If you don’t get the output in the first attempt, don’t give up, keep trying. Making images transparent has now become a tool more than an entertainment medium. Make sure you follow the above-outlined methods to get the transparency in your images. Out of the 4 methods, maybe you might find at least one easier than others. But try all of them first and then settle for an easier one.

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I am a tech-savvy who's an avid reader, a Hollywood movie buff, and a through and through Priyanka Chopra fan. I like to give my insights through words, which helps me to express myriads of emotions I go through.

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