Extracting avatars or objects from a background

In this Photoshop tutorial I want to show you a simple way to extract an avatar or an object from a background without having unpleasant borders around it afterwards.

I often come across fashion advertisement posters where someone tried to cut out an object from it’s original background in SL to put it on a selfmade background in Photoshop and you can still see white borders around this object or between the hair which looks unprofessional and messy. I had the same problems when I set up my very first fashion vendors at the beginning of my SL business and it took me a lot of time and work to get rid of those ugly borders ( I erased it by hand). Now I know better. There’s a really simple and quick way to avoid this borders and this way I want to show you in this tutorial.

Step 1:

Take a picture of yourself in SL standing in front of a blue or green coloured wall and also the floor you stand on should be blue or green. My private photostudio where I take all of my pictures for my fashion vendors consists only of a blue wall, a blue floor and 4 little boxes which I adjusted with light so I can save the facelight. Never take a white background! I explain you the reasons later on. Save your picture as bmp and open it with Photoshop.
extract step 1

Step 2:

To create a layer from your backgroud double-click the background layer as shown on the picture and click “OK”. Now we can work on it.

Step 3:

Now choose the “Magic Wand Tool” ( set the tolerance at a value between 20 and 30) of your tools palette and click the blue background.

Step 4:

Choose “Select —> Similar” ( menu above)  and press the “delete key” on your keyboard. Select Similar means that in this case every blue coloured part of this picture is getting selected ( blue parts between hair, fingers, legs…). By pressing delete there’s nothing of the blue background left.extract-3

Step 5:

To check if there’s really nothing of the blue colour left, create a new layer, drag it down underneath the avatar layer and fill it with black.

If you zoom in ( Alt + mouse wheel) there should be no ugly border left. If there are still some little blue parts left, just remove them with the “Eraser Tool” or the “Magic Wand Tool”.

The picture is well prepared for further steps. That’s it! 

At the end I want to show you the reason why you should never choose a white background in SL for your photos.

Here’s the same picture but with a white background:

and this is the outcome if you try to remove the background:

It takes a lot of time and work to get rid of  this white border, if you choose a green or blue background this won’t happen.

Yours, Jamie Holmer


5 responses to “Extracting avatars or objects from a background

  • RaiulBaztepo

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  • PiterKokoniz

    Hi !!! 😉
    I am Piter Kokoniz. Just want to tell, that I’v found your blog very interesting
    And want to ask you: will you continue to post in this blog in future?
    Sorry for my bad english:)
    Thank you:)

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    Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

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  • terri

    I have images that I have spent hours on adding nodes and removing all data outside those areas. They show with no background while in my photo editor (in corel or photoshop the little checkerboard show)and I save them. Then as soon as I attempt to insert or paste them into a new graphic, there is that white area/block around them.

    I am frustrated. Is there a solution to this?

    Thankyou for your time!


  • jamieholmer

    hi Terri 🙂 what format did you save your images? did you try to fill the background layer with black (or a dark colour) to check if anything that shouldn’t be there remained?

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