Simple Tutorial to Turn a Picture into a Transparent gif on Photoshop

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Gif is one of image file formats which have abilities to create empty/transparent background with small size. You can make transparent background in any other file format such psd, but due the compatibility and image size, some people prefer to use gif as output format. For example if you want to put it on the web. Gif file with transparent background can be made by deleting the background first and then save it in gif format or you can save original image directly in to gif and make it transparent with the gif setting. I prefer to use the first method, because it is much simpler and we can control the part of the transparent one easily. Here is the tutorial to do it in Photoshop.

How to turn picture in to transparent gif on Photoshop

Open any image that you want to make it as gif file. I use a free royalty photo of Color Ribbon and Bow from Stock.Xchng.


original image that will be made as transparent gif

Before we continue, we have to make the photo layer unlocked, do this first if the photo we are working on right now is in jpg file format. Double click on the layer name and then click OK on the New Layer dialog box as shown in this Photoshop CS4 tutorial below.


make the layer unlocked as layer 0

This way we make the layer in to layer 0 which unlocked.

We need to remove the background first. There are lots of Photoshop techniques to remove the background. You can use any method that you have mastered it or you feel it the best method to remove the background. There is no the best Photoshop selection technique on how we remove any background from photos, because it will depend on the image condition. I use Magic wand and Quick selection tool to make it faster, because the image on this Photoshop tutorial above is consist of lots similar color.


make selection on the photo background

After we have make selection the image, press Delete key on your keyboard to remove the background.


delete the selection area

Now discard the selection marquee by select Photoshop menu: Select > Deselect, or Ctrl+D


deselect the selection

Save the image by selecting File > Save for Web & Devices.


save for web and devices dialog box

Select gif as the file format. And the most important is you have to tick on Transparency option. You can adjust the transparency method below it if you need to reduce the file size, but you may experience low image quality as result. The same way as the color, dither, until Web Snap and Lossy option. That options can be use to customize the quality of the image and the file size. Click on Save button to save the file with your gif setting.

That’s the tutorial on how we make transparent gif file on Photoshop CS4.

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2 Responses to “Simple Tutorial to Turn a Picture into a Transparent gif on Photoshop”

  • anchoer says:

    Hi I am looking for the way where you indicate the color pixel you dont want displayed rather than removing the background manually. Do you know how to do that?
    Thankx email me if you know how

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