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Removing backgrounds from photos

From: PowerPoint 2010 New Features

Video: Removing backgrounds from photos

This next new feature of PowerPoint 2010 will blow you away. We've all imported pictures of products, or people, or company logos that included backgrounds which were less than desirable. For example, on this slide that talks about the story of our business, I'm going to go ahead and insert this picture of an olive. This is Olive 3. Even if I resize this picture, it's not exactly the look that I want, especially for such a narrow space. It would be great if I can get rid of the entire background, leaving just the olive, and that's it. We could take the image into a professional photo editing application and remove the background, but PowerPoint 2010 can do it for us.

Removing backgrounds from photos

This next new feature of PowerPoint 2010 will blow you away. We've all imported pictures of products, or people, or company logos that included backgrounds which were less than desirable. For example, on this slide that talks about the story of our business, I'm going to go ahead and insert this picture of an olive. This is Olive 3. Even if I resize this picture, it's not exactly the look that I want, especially for such a narrow space. It would be great if I can get rid of the entire background, leaving just the olive, and that's it. We could take the image into a professional photo editing application and remove the background, but PowerPoint 2010 can do it for us.

After selecting the photo, you'll see on Picture tools > Format tab of the far left is Remove Background. When I click Remove Background, PowerPoint will take a minute to analyze the picture and try and give us its best guess as to the parts of the photo that we want to keep and the parts we want to discard. Those parts that we want to keep have the original color. Those parts that it thinks we want to discard are colored purple. Our first step is to tell PowerPoint, using these handles, where we want to keep and where we want to discard, just generally. We're going to refine this rectangle using the handles, dragging the handles up and down, left and right to get PowerPoint a better guess.

You'll notice that each time that I move my handle around, it recalculates, trying to guess what I want to do. And so far, it's done a pretty good job of it. As I move this final rectangle up, it's actually done the job for us. The only part that's still colored is the olive itself, the branch, and a couple of leaves. Now if I want to further refine this, let's say I want to get rid the leaves as well, we have tools in the Picture tools > Background Removal tab. We can mark areas to keep, mark areas to remove. For example, let's say I want to remove one of these leaves. I can click the Mark Areas to Remove.

My pointer now turns to a pen. And I can draw a line across that leaf. It does a good job getting rid of it. And the more lines that I draw, the more accurate it becomes. I can delete these marks, just as well, with the Delete Mark tool and click on the marks that I've made to get rid of them. Once I'm finished, I'll go ahead and click on the Keep Changes, and that will show my new picture with the background removed. At this point, I'll take my graphic and move it up to the top of the screen, resize it a little bit, and I'm done.

The higher quality your image, the better result you'll see using this feature, and if you want to add a little bit more pizzazz to your newly-altered photo, try adding a little shadow or glow. I'll go down to Picture Effects, choose Glow, and then choose from a variety of styles and colors. Now, you can see there's a glow around the picture, or I'll hit Undo, go to Picture Effects > Shadow and apply a shadow. Subtle, but it looks great. Another reason this tool becomes useful is we want add a company logo to our presentation, but for whatever reason, the company logo also has a background image.

For example, when I go to our Title slide, and I want to add our company logo, you'll see that as I do it, it has a white bit of background just around the curved bottom. When I place it in its position, over here in the upper left-hand corner, it just doesn't look too good. What I want to do is use the new Background Removal tool to remove the white from the graphic. I'll click on the graphic from the Picture tools > Format tab. I'll click Remove Background. And as we've done before, we're going to use the handles to resize the rectangle, basically telling PowerPoint we want to keep everything.

I'm going to use the Mark Areas to Remove tool to click on just the bit of white that we don't want and click Mark Areas to Keep to tell PowerPoint everything that we do want. The more precise I am, the more lines I draw, the better this gets. There we are. After completing these lines, I can keep changes, and I'm all done. At this point, I might decide to click on the graphic one more time. And like I showed earlier, add a little bit of glow, or perhaps a little bit of shadow, maybe even a reflection, to finish off that graphic.

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PowerPoint 2010 New Features

23 video lessons · 9865 viewers

David Diskin
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