Have you ever taken the perfect photo until you looked at it later and found that the background wasn’t what you wanted? Would you like to add your own background scene, replacing an existing photo or video’s background? As we work with remote learners, knowing how to remove inconvenient backgrounds scenes is important. This blog entry provides a quick roundup of background removal tools that make this job easy for you.

Note: Do you need some free images/videos, like Smithsonian’s Open Access three million plus images, to work with? Checkout my Copyright-Free Media and Tools Wakelet collection.

Background Removal Tool #1: Remove.bg

My favorite tool in the pack, Remove.bg makes it easy to yank the background from an existing photo.  Remove.bg works great on smartphones and tablets. Even easier is replacing the background with a provided image or your own picture.

background remover

As you can see from the clip above, the original picture appears featuring a character. Flames surround the character. With Remove.bg, you can remove the flames and then replace it. You can edit the image and replace the background using this interface:

background remover

This can result in some fascinating combinations:

background remover

And another example:

background remover

Unfortunately, the images are not layered. This means that you cannot move the new background or original image independent of each other.

Once you have the image the way you want it, you can save it to your computer or device. Remove.bg doesn’t allow you to add text to photos. You can use Picfont to do that (provided you turn off Ad Block Plus):

Background Removal Tool #2: PhotoScissors

Need a way to pluck yourself out of a picture? PhotoScissors offers some ways to do this via their website. Like Remove.bg, it does a nice job of removing the background from a picture. It does have some limitations though. It limits high-quality results to for-pay options ($30 for Windows or Mac). You can see that it offers an almost bewildering set of tools.

background remover

It does allow you to reposition the character in the picture. You can then app smash these tools a bit to get different results. In the image below, I’ve taken the PhotoScissors image and dropped it back into Remove.bg.

The PhotoScissors website offers other tools you can take advantage of (at a slight cost):

  • Inpaint – Remove elements from photos
  • iResizer – Scale an image without changing other visual content
  • PhotoStitcher – Stitch photos together to panorama
  • FolderIco – Customize folder icons and color

Check these tools out.

Background Removal Tool #3: StickerMule’s Trace

Right from the get-go, you will need to create an account to use Trace. This may not be a problem since you can “Sign up with Google.” You can also create an account using a name and email combination. Once you have an account set up, you get access to Trace to remove photo backgrounds.

background remover

StickerMule’s Trace offers a nice interface that looks like the one below. Note that you can’t provide your own background; you must select one from the list. It does offer the option of replacing the background with standard colors.

background remover

One thing you can do is download (save) the transparent version of your image. Then you can load that picture into an online paint tool like Kleki. The advantage of that is that you can import your desired background. After you do that, import your transparent image from Trace as a layer.

background remover

A big advantage is that you can reposition your character anywhere in the new background, as you can see:

Isn’t that amazing? Even if you are a novice at paint programs, this will be easy to figure out. Kleki is NOT Adobe Photoshop (thank goodness).

Those are three powerful tools for removing backgrounds in images. One bonus tool that makes it possible for you to remove backgrounds in videos is UnScreen.com. It makes it easy to remove video backgrounds, which can be handy in a busy environment (like a classroom).