Paint.net : Background masking technique

Today, I will show you another way to crop an object from its background with paint.net. I have already explained the contrast method which is quite fast to implement but unfortunately not applicable to every situation, especially when the contrast difference between the object to outline and the background isn’t clear. In that case, there is another method where the object has to be surrounded in order to delimit it from the rest of the picture.

To achieve this tutorial, you will need the feather plugin installed on your paint.net release. We will start from an elephant in the savannah. The goal is to crop the elephant.


And now the steps to perform this tutorial :

1/ Add a new layer (CTRL + SHIFT + N);

2/ Select the white color as primary color (left click on the white color);

3/ Select the zoom tool (« Z » key) and then zoom in to reach a level of detail where you can see the aliasing between the elephant skin and the background of the photo;

4/ Select the line/curve tool (« O » key);

5/ Draw lines and curves along the elephant skin, the goal is to surround it entirely. We will repeat this operation many times to completely surround the object. Use the 4 points on the line to give a curve effect that really encompass the elephant;

surrounded elephant

6/ When the elephant is completely surrounded by white lines, select the magic wand (« S » key) and then click on the white line to select it;

7/ Switch to the bottom layer (the elephant one);

8/ Press SUPPR key to delete the selection;

9/ Select the magic wand tool (« S » key) and then click on the area outside of the elephant. This area is now entirely slected. If that’s not the case, press the CTRL key and click on the deselected areas outside of the elephant in order to add these to the current selection;

10/ Press SUPPR key to delete the selection;

11/ Select the top layer and delete it (CTRL + SHIFT + DEL);

12/ Perform a feather effect (Effects menu > Object > Feather) with the following parameters : feather radius at 1, effect strength at 1 and true feather ticked. This will soften the elephant skin edges.

Here we are with a nice cropped elephant. In order to realize this complex cropping, it took me 40 minutes. Based on your mouse agility, it may take less or more time to do this.


You can now use your cropped object in order to insert it on another photo :


Paint.NetBack to paint.net tutorial summary

2 commentaires pour “Paint.net : Background masking technique”
  1. Anthony dit :

    Thanks for very helpful tutorial.

    I’m been stuck at the instruction No. 10 « Press SUPPR key to delete the selection » where is this SUPPR?

  2. Anthony dit :

    Never mind I found out it was the Del key.

    The tutorial is very easy to follow and the result is just too good.

    Thanks very much 🙂

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