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Eliminate It!
Three free filters for removing backgrounds

... Continued from Page One

Here you can see the results of my experimentation with the Eliminate White, Eliminate Black, and Whitewash filters. If you reached this page from a search, you can go back to page one for a summary of the filters and links to download them.

As I mentioned on page one, these filters are particularly useful on black and white line art. Since the filters only work on RGB images, you must first convert bitmap or grayscale art to RGB mode.

Here's the results of the Eliminate White filter on the image above. The layer was then placed above another layer filled with a radial spectrum gradient.

Here's the same image after applying the Eliminate Black filter and placing it above another layer filled with a radial spectrum gradient.

In the next two examples I've used Photoshop's layer effects to add depth and dimension to the same simple line art image.

In this image I used the color layer effect to convert the black areas to red. The layer below was filled with a solid dark blue, then the pillow emboss layer effect was applied to the top layer.

In this image the layer below was filled with blue and the top layer had the emboss layer effect applied.

I used the Eliminate Black filter for the image below, then placed the layer onto a textured background. It couldn't get any easier than that!

After using these filters, you can almost always improve the results by using the matting commands in your software. After using Eliminate Black, choose Matting > Remove Black Matte; and after using Eliminate White or Whitewash, choose Matting > Remove White Matte. Notice the difference before and after using the Remove Matte command in the example below.

Original Image
Eliminate Black
Remove Black Matte

The next image demonstrates the Whitewash filter. Notice how how the light areas become increasingly transparent each time the filter is applied.

In the following example, the Whitewash filter was used. The partially transparent layer was placed above a water texture, and the pillow emboss layer effect was applied to create an easy stained glass effect in minutes.


The last example demonstrates how these filters can be used in conjunction with other tools and features of your software to create wonderful effects.

Here's the steps that were taken to produce the second flower image:

  1. First, the background was promoted to a layer and then duplicated.
  2. On the top layer, the Eliminate Black filter was applied and the blend mode was changed to Hard Light.
  3. On the bottom layer, the colors were inverted (In Photoshop: Image > Adjust > Invert) and the opacity was lowered to 80%.
  4. To produce the foggy edges another layer was inserted between the two. A feathered border selection was made and filled with white.
  5. To give the image a slightly embossed look, the top layer was nudged one pixel up and one pixel to the left.

The resulting image is much softer and better suited for a greeting card or wedding invitation than the original, dark image would have been.

I hope these examples gave you some new ideas for some cheap and easy effects and shortcuts. You certainly can't go wrong adding these freebies to your filter collection. Have fun with your own experimenting, and feel free to post your results in the Show and Tell folder of the forum.

Back to the Introduction

Tools and Techniques for Removing Backgrounds
More About Removing Backgrounds
More Free Filters and Plug-ins for PC
More Free Filters and Plug-ins for Macintosh

Questions? Comments? Post to the Forum!

Some images from Nova Development's Art Explosion 600,000.

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