1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Cut Out an Image in Photoshop

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Today I'm going to show you how to cut out an image in Photoshop using a few simple techniques and standard Photoshop tools. Then I'll teach you how to add a simple retro effect to the image that you cut. Let's get started!

Tutorial Assets

Before learning how to cut out part of an image in Photoshop, I want to show you which assets were used during the production of the tutorial:

What You'll Learn in This Photoshop Tutorial

  • How to cut out an image in Photoshop using the subject selection method
  • How to cut an image in Photoshop using the rectangular/elliptical marquee tool
  • How to cut out part of an image in Photoshop using the lasso tool
  • How to cut out a picture in Photoshop using the quick selection tool and magic wand tool
  • How to cut an image in Photoshop using a color selection
  • How to cut out a picture in Photoshop using a layer mask
  • How to add a simple retro effect to the image that you cut

If you want to learn how to cut something out in Photoshop via video, check out our lesson on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

1. How to Cut an Image in Photoshop With a Subject Selection

Step 1

Let's try one of the easiest and most effective methods to cut out a Photoshop image. Open your image in Photoshop and go to Select > Subject, and then wait a few moments.

How to make a selection using a subject selection

As you can see, our selection is almost ready now, and we can easily cut out the photo in Photoshop:

selection created with subject selection method

Step 2

To make your selection more precise, we can use the Lasso Tool or the Quick Selection Tool. Choose one of these tools, and then add or remove part of the selection as you need using the Shift and Alt keys.

precising the selection

Step 3

Once you've finished with the selection, we are ready to cut this image out. You can do it the following way: press Control-C (or Control-X), and then create a new document and paste your image (Control-V). 

pasting the image

2. How to Cut Around an Image in Photoshop Using the Rectangular/Elliptical Marquee Tool

Step 1

Another cut tool Photoshop provides is the Rectangular Marquee Tool—or you could also use the Elliptical Marquee Tool. This selection method is rough, but sometimes it can be useful for some design purposes. Select one of these tools in the Tools panel.

rectangular and elliptical marquee tools

Step 2

Select the part of the image which you want to cut out, and then go to Layer > New Layer > Layer via Cut/Copy, and voila!

layer via cut or layer via copy

As you can see, this cut tool Photoshop technique can be useful for creating avatars for social media.

layer via cut or via copy result

3. How to Cut Out an Image in Photoshop Using the Lasso Tool

Step 1

Another way to make a precise cut-out Photoshop effect is with the Lasso Tool. You can find it in the same Tools menu.

lasso tool in Photoshop

Step 2

It can be also a great tool to remove or add some parts of the selection. You can add a selection using the Shift key or remove it using Alt to make a more precise selection.

adding and removing parts of the selection

Step 3

Once you've finished with the selection, press Control-J to cut out and paste the selection.

cutting out an image using the control j keys combination

4. How to Cut Out a Photo in Photoshop With the Quick Selection Tool and Magic Wand Tool

Step 1

You can also use the Quick Selection Tool and the Magic Wand Tool for selecting and cutting the image out. The Quick Selection Tool works pretty similarly to the Lasso Tool, but it creates areas of selection as if you were painting with a brush. The Magic Wand Tool creates selections based on the color, contrast, and hue settings of the image. 

selecting the image using quick selection tool and magic wand tool

Step 2

Once you've made the selection, just use one of the previous methods to create a new image based on your selection.

Creating a copy of the selection

5. How to Cut an Image in Photoshop Using a Color Selection

Step 1

For the next method, I'll use another image with a solid white background. Let's go to Select > Color Range, select the color of the background with the Eyedropper Tool, and adjust the selection using the Fuzziness setting.

selecting the image with color range

Step 2

After that, go to Select > Inverse and then just cut the image out using Control-C and Control-V.

cutting the image

6. How to Cut an Image in Photoshop With a Layer Mask

Step 1

One more cut tool Photoshop method is creating a mask. Let's create a selection using any of the previous techniques, and then just hit the Add Layer Mask icon in the Layers panel.

adding a mask to cut out the image

Step 2

You can adjust your cutout using a standard brush with white and black colors. Just select the Mask in the Layers panel and paint with black where you want to remove a part of the cutout (or white if you want to reveal a part of the image).

precising the selection of the mask

7. How to Add a Simple Retro Effect to the Image That You Cut

Step 1

Now I would like to show you how you can add a simple retro-looking effect to your cutout image. Create a new document by pressing Control-N, and paste your image. After that, create three copies of the image by pressing Control-J.

creating duplicates of the layer

Step 2

Select the top layer and then press Shift-Control-U to desaturate the image. Then Move all the copies 60 pixels left from each other.

desaturating the image and moving the duplicates

Step 3

Double-Click on the duplicate and add a color overlay with 100% of the Opacity and any color you like. After that, add the same effect with a different color on each copy of the layer. You can also fill the background layer with any color you like using Shift-F5.

adding a color overlay to the layers

Step 4

After that, add a Drop Shadow layer style effect to each layer with the settings you can see below:

adding a layer style effect to the layer

Step 5

And finally, to add a bit of retro feel to our image, let's select all the layers while holding Shift and then Right-Click > Convert to Smart Object. After that, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise and set the Amount to 5% and Distribution to Gaussian.

converting image to a smart object and adding a noise filter

Awesome Work, You're Now Done!

Congratulations! Now you know how to cut something out in Photoshop in a few different ways and how simply you can apply retro-looking effects to images that you cut!

final result of the tutorial

Do you know to want how to cut around an image in Photoshop or learn something new in other software? Take a look at our tutorials:

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