Jump to content
You must now use your email address to sign in [click for more info] ×

Background remover in Affinity Photo 2?

Recommended Posts

In Apple's Preview app and in Keynote app you can remove background with a click or click and drag like instantly. Recently a friend show me how he removes a background with Pixelmator Pro, literally one click and everything around the object is gone. Knowing that Afinity Photo 2 is a powerful image editor and is marketing for the Pros, I need to know if there's a similar way to extract an object or delete a background with it. In the latest iOS update, I can touch an image on any photo on the iPad and copy just the person without the background instantly. That's how I'm doing as part of the workflow with Affinity Photo 2 on iPad, but today I was trying to do a fast edit on a picture and didn't find a way to achieve this. I literally Airdrop the pic to the iPad and copy the image with one touch and paste it on Affinity Photo, but it has to be a faster way on the desktop version, right? Well I learned you can do the same thing using certain apps on macOS like Preview and Photos and so on... Why I can't find a way to do it inside Affinity Photo? Pixelmator is using the Apple's API, obviously! Am I doing something wrong? Is because Affinity runs in Windows too and can't take advantage of macOS capabilities? Any idea of how to remove a background with a click or click and drag will be appreciated.



See my comics: dearmascomics.com

Heard my Radio Show: mimegaradio.com

Ask for my services: albertkinng.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm interested in this too. Seems like a lot of effort has been put into background removal lately. Recent iPhone "pro" models even have a lidar scanner to collect depth information, primarily for background blurring and automatic dodge-and-burn shading or something. A bunch of "aWeSoMe AI" type services have popped up trying to do this too.

The most sophisticated services even charge quite a bit of money for just this https://www.remove.bg/pricing

Fotor seems to have problems with "complex" backgrounds (where the subject and background are too similar in color, or the subject has wispy thin hair etc) even though it's another sUpEr AI type service.

I'm also curious what the difference is in Affinity Photo between the background erase tool and the selection brush because while the background erase tool seems to work pretty well, sometimes you just want a mask not a destructive pixel layer edit.

By buying the three "flagship" Topaz applications I seem to have gotten a license for Topaz Mask AI (I can't figure out what's up with their licensing right now, they seem a little disorganized as to creating lots of apps and trying to sell them one-off without really explaining what they're thinking in licensing terms) but Mask AI seems a bit broken on my system at the moment.

slice2.png.cb7417e51279952dd5c1adc42860264d.pngpRiNt! mOnKeY! 🖨️🙊
💻Lenovo Legion 5 Pro*, Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-12700H, 2300 Mhz, 14 Core, 32GB DDR5-4800, nVidia RTX 3070 Ti 8GB, Windoze 11 💻
*Sometimes gets used for something other than games.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I recently got a project to turn 25 pictures into black and white with colorful light flares passing around the worker model person with shattered particles around their bodies. The client send me the photoshop add-ons and brushes and specifically told me it got to be done in photoshop. 

I did it all in Affinity Publisher. Using all the apps in one give me the versatility and productivity I need to achieve this task and I didn’t use either the brushes or the add-ons he provided. One of the workflows to get the person out of the picture was super fun using the Affinity Share option on the Menu bar, basically I shared it to Apple’s Photo app and with a right click I copied the selection and pasted to the Affinity project like, instantly! 

I will try to use Keyboard Maestro to see if I can create a macro that can be helpful to this kind of workflow in the future. 

See my comics: dearmascomics.com

Heard my Radio Show: mimegaradio.com

Ask for my services: albertkinng.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Having a background remover tool would be great.  I started doing banner pictures for my daughter's sports teams.  I can get the white background removed - just takes time - nothing like the one-click options on many online tools.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried some of these automated tools and while they work for a good number of images, they don't work all that well on edge cases, which is often when we need them the most. 

There are quite a few different techniques one can use to manually mask out backgrounds depending on what it is you're trying to mask out. 

For difficult daylight sky removals, where there are trees or lots of details on the skyline, I generally use a luminosity mask. This requires multiple steps, so it's not a click and drag, but it gives superior results in my experience. 

In V2 I still do this manually as the new luminosity mask is a live mask and can't be painted on (there are workarounds for using the new luminosity mask, but it ends up no faster than the method below).

Here's my workflow for this particular type of mask

  • Select --> Tonal Range --> Select shadows
  • Click on Channels panel. Right click on Pixel Selection and choose Create spare channel
  • Now do the same and select midtones instead of shadows
  • In the Channels panel, right click Spare channel and choose Add to pixel selection
  • Now use the use selection brush in subtract mode to deselect areas inside your foreground (and vice-versa if anything in the background is incorrectly selected)
  • Once you have your selection, choose Select --> Grow selection by 1 pixel and then feather selection 4 pixels or less. This will leave a slight halo around your edges if your sky you're masking out is much lighter than the replacement sky, but if you don't do this, then you're likely to get edges that are too sharp and lead to a blocky effect. I never grow by more than one pixel and sometimes feather by less than 4 pixels, never going above 4 (I feathered by 2 on the image below)
  • With the selection still active, click on the mask icon to create a new mask layer from the selection
  • Select the mask layer then alt-click on it to see the black and white mask
  • In sections where the mask should be opaque, paint over it in white if you missed. Ditto for black. Be careful not to go near the edge. We'll deal with that soon.
  • Now click off the layer then reselect the mask layer so you can see the image and not the B&W mask layer
  • Reduce brush opacity to 50% and set brush blend mode to overlay (you can start with even lower opacity and just go over it more times)
  • Zoom in on the border between sky and background and find any areas where there is haloing
  • Now apply the brush (in black) over the edges to reduce the haloing. Make sure you're painting on the mask layer. You may need to increase or reduce brush opacity on the fly. The overlay blend mode is key to getting this step right. You can also apply a curves adjustment to the replacement sky (a U shape, either inverted or not depending on whether you want to reduce or increase the luminosity of the replacement sky - this also helps to eliminate the haloing by reducing the exposure difference between the edges of the foreground and the replacement sky)
  • As a final step, and not always - it depends on the image, I might adjust the blend options for the layer, something like the following. It also helps in reducing the haloing and giving a more natural looking transition. This won't work if you have very strong highlights in the foreground part of the image (as it will then reveal a portion of the replacement image on those strong highlights. The exact shape of the curve would depend on the image. 

Needless to say, you should get your image looking right before swapping out the sky, as doing this post swap would likely just accentuate the transition border. 

  • image.png.b43087fa8f492acb54f8457a9253685f.png


Below is an example image where I used this technique to mask out the sky. First image is a crop from a 400% zoom to show the result, the second is the source image and the last is the final, processed version with the replacement sky added. 



Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rvst said:

Below is an example image

Your post is incredibly good. Very well explained and super helpful. I wish all the contributions on this forum were exactly as yours so we can have a community of professionals looking for unity and mastering the tools we choose to achieve our goals. I barely find useful comments like the one you shared with us. Most of the time is blinded fanatics that doesn’t want to accept the flaws or misbehavior of the apps and pretend that everything is find. Keep your posts coming, my friend!

See my comics: dearmascomics.com

Heard my Radio Show: mimegaradio.com

Ask for my services: albertkinng.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.