Adobe Photoshop CC - Essentials Training

How to instantly remove the white background of a logo in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to dive into Blending Modes a little bit more. Basically it's how a layer interacts with the background. This particular use case is really great when you've got an image like this hand drawing I've done, or this logo, it's kind of stuck to the white background. Watch this, ready, steady. Just magically disappears in the background. It takes one click to do it, same thing, we've got that same logo, it was black, now it's white on a dark background. They're called Blending Modes, they can really save you some time. Let's get into them now. 
To get started, let's go to 'File', 'Open'. We're in a new folder now called '10 Blending Modes'. Open up 'Blending 01', '02', '03', and '04'. We're going to start with 01 and 02. So we've looked at Blending Modes before in this course. We just kind of ignored them really. I just told you to do them, and they did some magic. Now it's time to understand them a little bit more. And one of the kind of main uses for it, when you want to remove the white background of something. 
So in this case, I've got this logo here, it is not on its own layer. It is smushed into the white background here, and I want to remove the white. So what I do is, with my Move Tool selection, click, hold, drag. Under 'Blending Mode 01', let go. Now before we move on, this works amazingly for black on to a light background. If you need it to be white on a dark background, we'll do it in a sec, it's not as good, just so you know, but in this case it's pretty magic. 
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to get it down here, and resize it a little bit so it fits, but before I do that I'm going to convert it into a Smart Object because that's what we're doing, we're doing everything Pro now. Go to 'Smart Object'. Now I'm going to shrink it down, so that quality is still there. Hit 'Return'. So I've got the logo, but it's got this dreaded white border around it. What we're going to do is, with this top layer selected I'm going to change it from 'Normal', and this one here is going to be the magic one, 'Multiply'. 
Now we did it with a logo, let's say we've done it with this hand drawing, we're looking at Blending 04. So I'm going to click, hold, drag with my Move Tool. Drag, drag, drag, let go, same thing, it's a bit big. I drew this in my notebook, I've scanned it in, and I want to see if I can lay it out but it has the white background, so instead of doing a Mask, which can be tough, we're going to convert it to a Smart Object which is not particularly necessary other than we want to keep all that good quality in there. 
I'm going to drag it, and because it needs to go onto a white background it's going to work perfect. I've made a lightish background so you can see it a little nicer. So you can kind of see it through. I've got my little drawing here and I'm going to change it from Normal to 'Multiply'. So dark on light is perfect, you can move it around and you can see it. There's lots of things you can't do, it's kind of quite a really specific use. You need to just chop out the white background. If I'm trying Color Burst with say, Color Overlay it's just not going to work, watch. 
So if you want to get into kind of recoloring it you're going to have to look at masking out the black or maybe vectorizing it in something like Illustrator. There's something called Live Trace, which can really save the day, but if you've got a logo and you've copied it off somebody's website, and you need to use it, and you need to chop out the white background, good to go. Now there is a case where you want it on a dark background. So the black’s not going to work. So I'm going to do the same thing, 'Blending 02'. Grab him, drag him. We've got him here. We'll do Smart Object, I was giving that step because I'm going fast. You'll notice that Multiply works but just not the way I want, I want it to be white. 
So what you're going to do is you're going to work your way through these Blending Modes and you'll eventually get to, where is he? Divide. And it's going to kind of work. It's working good because it's kind of monochromatic in the background. There's no real color going on. Watch what happens when it goes over color. 
So really that's a kind of a small use case where it's monochromatic in the background, you need it to be white. I show you this because surprisingly enough I use it enough when I'm doing kind of design work, and you just can't find the logo of someone. Now if you are doing this type of layout in something like InDesign or Illustrator instead of Photoshop you will be able to find Blending Modes in all of those programs as well. You can check out my courses on both those bits of software. I covered it in those too. So getting into Blending Modes, we've covered it a little bit. This one particular cool little usage, great when you've got a logo or drawing and you need to remove the background. All right, next video.