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Sometimes it happens that I would like to extract a person from a photo and remove the background. How can I do it with GIMP? Every attempt that I made gave me very bad results.

Can you give me some steps to follow?

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google.com/… –  danio Jul 22 '10 at 21:52
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@danio: Most people come to the stackexchange sites via google. I am sure this question will soon also be ranked up high. I doubt people will then find your comment helpful. –  Lucas Mar 2 '11 at 21:20
    
This goes the other way — it removes objects from a background.... logarithmic.net/pfh/resynthesizer/removal –  mattdm Mar 23 '11 at 3:04

3 Answers 3

With most things in Gimp and Photoshop, it comes down to using the selection tools. The better you get at using selections, the easier time you have removing/extracting elements from the background.

This is a pretty good step by step article on how to use the selection, masks, and feather tools to get a good selection around your subject.

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Removing backgrounds in a photo that wasn't specifically shot for the isolation is usually a very complex process. There are many completely different techniques to isolate details, all depending on the subject itself. One thing is to isolate evey single hair of a lady against a forrest background, another is to isolate a sharp car on a blurry road.

See The Russel Brown Show, he's one of the Adobe Photoshop team members, he's got a lot of free video tutorials on different background isolation techniques.

Many of these techniques can be fully implemented using Gimp.

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I am not Gimp guru. There is a simple trick I learned which helped me a few times.

(warning: this only works with images with the more or less same background color distinct from colors of the subject)

  1. Open image. Select > By Color.
  2. Click on the background. This will select the whole of background.
  3. Now Colors > Color to Alpha....
  4. Your background should become transparent now. If not, pressing delete key should do it.
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