Remove the background from a photo or clipart: for print

You may find that you have with a logo or piece of clipart that has a white or solid-color background, and you need to remove the background. For example, you may need to drop the artwork into InDesign over a tinted text box, or to apply it to a colored object that isn’t paper.

In other words, you may need to go from this:

  Cat on bag with white backgroundTo this: Cat on bag with no white background

Adobe Illustrator has a particularly good way to tease the background out of a logo or clipart. You can also use this technique if there is plenty of contrast in a photo for which you want to remove the background.

Start with a logo with a white background such as:

Cat with white background

Or a photo that has a contrasting background, like this:

Daisy Picture

You want to save all the details and the nice edges, but take away the background. The cat, above, has a complicated background that would be difficult to trace and export as a path, and the daisy may be difficult to separate from its background. Relax. Adobe Illustrator’s Live Trace feature will handle this quite nicely. Want to learn how? See us create a vector daisy in our Live Trace tutorial video.

Special thanks to Ashley Endemann for this video.

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