How to Make Background Transparent in Paint / Paint 3D

Using a full-featured photo editing software can be quite intimidating. All the functions and options are confusing. The numerous editing options are unnecessary especially if you only need it for simple editing. Moreover, not all computers can handle editing applications as they can be demanding on computer memory.

While many people underestimate the ever-present Paint, it is still powerful for such a lightweight software. You can use it to make transparent backgrounds in images. There are two scenarios where you can use Paint.

First, if you want to remove a section of an image, then, replace it with a different foreground. Second, if you want to lift a part of an image from its background. Then, paste it to another background.

Paint automatically fills any blank parts on the image with a white background. So, here are a few workarounds to make the background transparent in Paint. Plus, a bonus on how to make transparent backgrounds of more complicated images using Paint 3D.

How to Remove Background in Paint

Launch Paint by clicking the Windows menu. Click Open, then select the image that you want a section removed. This is your foreground.

Paint automatically defaults to 100% view. To zoom out (or zoom in), click the [+] or [-] symbol on the bottom right corner of Paint. Alternatively, you can use the slider to zoom.

Then, click Select (below the rectangle shape on the menu). Choose Transparent selection. It should then have a check on the left side. Select Rectangular selection if you want to remove a square or rectangular-shaped portion of the image. Or choose Free-form selection for all other shapes. Click and hold the left mouse button to trace irregular shapes.

After selection, you should see a dotted rectangle around the area whether you used Rectangular selection or Free-form selection tool.

Hit Delete on your keyboard to delete the selected area. You should see a white background filler.

Then, click Select and choose Select all to select the entire image. Click Copy. Or you can also hit Ctrl+A, then Ctrl+C on your keyboard.

Open the new background image that you want to use by clicking Open, then choosing the image.

(Hint: Click Don’t Save on the pop-up if you do not want to change the original foreground image).

Click Paste on the menu or hit Ctrl+V on the keyboard.

Resize the image by dragging the corner or the edge of the foreground image to resize it.

To save the new image, click File then Save as. Choose your desired image format, then rename the file.


How to put one Picture element on Another

The next scenario is to put one picture element from a foreground image and insert it on another image. First, open the foreground image just like you did in the previous section. Then, click Select on the menu. Choose Transparent selection and Free-form selection (you can use the Rectangular selection for four-sided figures).

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Trace the element in the foreground image by clicking and holding the left button on your mouse. After tracing, a dotted rectangle will appear around the selection.

Click Copy on the menu or. Or, Ctrl+C on your keyboard.

Next, open the background image by clicking Open on the menu. Hit Paste on the menu or Ctrl+V on your keyboard.

Resize just as you did on the previous section. Save and rename.

How to Make Background Transparent in Paint 3D

What if you want to do more complex things? If you want to completely remove the background of an image and replace it with a transparent layer, you can still do so using Paint 3D.

The advanced iteration of the classic Paint is available in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Alternatively, you can download the Paint 3D app in the Windows Store.

Paint 3D employs an algorithm that recognises shapes and figures in the image. It is perfect if you are just looking to make the background transparent. The application recognises transparency, so it is easier to remove backgrounds.

Launch the Paint 3D app on your Windows menu. Click Open.

Select Browse files on the next page and choose the image that you want.

Choose Magic select under Brushes on the menu.

Resize the selection as close as possible to the element of the image that you want. Then, click Next.

Paint 3D is smart enough to determine the edges of various shapes and figures. Of course, it is not perfect all the time. Use the Add and Remove function on the right to extend or reduce the edges. You just have to draw a line over the part that you want to add to the selection (or the part that you want to remove), and Paint 3D will extend the edges to the next logical one.

On the next window, edit the selected figure using the four icons around the shape. You can rotate, flip, and even adjust the depth of the figure.

To remove the background, click Canvas on the menu. Then, turn off Show canvas on the right side menu.

Save the image with a transparent background by click Menu.

Select Save or Save as on the next window. Make sure that you select Image if you use the Save as function.

On the next window, you can achieve a transparent background by choosing PNG under Save as type. Then, tick the Transparency checkbox.

Click Save.

You now have an image with a transparent background.

Final Thoughts

Basic photo editing does not require any complicated photo editing software anymore. Paint and Paint 3D are powerful, yet lightweight options that can achieve a transparent background. For more complicated editing features, you can always explore the best photo editors. Options range from web-based editors which are perfect for Instagram photos or full-featured editing suites.

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