Photoshop Tip: Better Eraser Tool
If you ask just about any graphic designer who uses Photoshop, they will tell you to use the pen tool or the lasso tool to cut out images, and to NOT use the eraser tool. Personally, I’ve never been a pen tool kind of guy. It was always a tool that I used only if I had no other choice. I tend to switch between the eraser and the lasso tools, depending on the job at hand.
But some situations occur where you either don’t have the time to use the pen/lasso tools, your just lazy, or you lack the confidence with either tool to think you will do a good enough job. This tip I use on just about a daily basis, which will allow you to fine-tune your eraser tool and make sure you erased all that you wanted to, and did not miss any little stray pixel.
- 5 Great Background Masking Techniques
- How to Cut an Object in Photoshop Using Polygon Lasso Tool
- Photoshop Pen Tool Guide – Basics
Step 1 – Open up the image
Either drag the image into an already opened PS document, or open the image up in Photoshop, double click on the ‘Background’ layer, and hit OK in the window that pops up (so there’s transparency when you delete things).
Awesome puppy image Copyright of Shutterstock.com
Step 2 – Erase what needs to be erased
Here’s where you do what you normally do, click on the eraser tool (or press E), and erase the evil pixels that don’t belong in your document…erase them now!
Step 3 – Add a stroke
Now that those bad pixels are erased from your beautiful image, you are left with what you think is just the necessary pixels of the image. Most likely you are dead wrong! Double click on the image layer and add a stroke to the layer. The pixel size of the stroke will vary depending on how big or small your image is, but normally a 3-4 pixel width is decent. Hit OK to exit the Layer Style box.
Step 4 – Ahh ghost pixels!
As you will see, there will most likely be a few stray pixels that you missed when you were erasing (unless you are a super-dooper eraser magician). You normally would never be able to see these unless you zoom in really far (and have eagle-eyes) or if you added a stroke (which we just did). The stroke basically outlines your image, but if there are stray pixels that you missed, the stroke those for you as well.
Step 5 – Erase those ghosts
Now that you can see what pixels you missed of your image, select your handy-dandy eraser tool (E) and go to town on those little buggers.
Step 6 – Get rid of the stroke
Since that’s done with, we need to get rid of the stroke. Unless you have fallen in love with the stroke, then by all means leave it there! To get rid of it, right click on the layer and choose “Clear Layer Styles.” Or you can double click the layer to go into the Layer Styles box, and uncheck the stroke box.
I know some of you are most likely thinking “why not just use the Magic Eraser tool?”
- Only the newer versions of Photoshop have that tool
- I’ve found that sometimes that doesn’t do a perfect job either!
I hope some of you can use this tip in your daily Photoshop experiences. I use it whenever I use the eraser tool around an image.