2 Minute Tutorial: Cut a Scanned Motif Like a Pro

photoshop how-tos Feb 07, 2024

Ever wondered how some designers remove their scanned elements from the background SO perfectly? Do you feel you sometimes spend too long cutting, shaping, and finessing the outline?

As any designer will tell you, there’s no wrong way to cut your elements in Photoshop BUT there are a few particularly quick and effective ways to do it. Senior designer Lyndsay demonstrates her technique here.


1. Select the background

Select the background by using the white Magic Wand tool. Make sure the tolerance is fairly high (I like to use either 32 or 50) and contiguous is checked in the toolbar at the top so that you get a good selection of the white ground.

2. Quick mask

Once selected I like to use Quick Mask mode so that I can clearly see my selection. Find the Quick Mask button second from bottom on the toolbar on the left in this image. It’s the one with the black circle inside the white square. Now everything you’ve selected will be highlighted in red.


3. Add missed pixels to your selection

Add any parts that were missed in your initial selection or remove anything that you don’t want. Zoom right into the element so you can see the smallest areas missed. Use the Lasso tool to add missed sections by loosely circling the sections away from the edge and carefully tracing the sections on the edge.  Hold down the shift key as you make your selections.

4. Fill the selected area

Once you’re happy with the selection press Command+Delete to fill your selected area.


5. To finish

Click Quick Mask mode again to turn this off and select the Move tool. Press Delete on your keyboard, and you’re done! Now you have your finished painting separated from the background and ready to use in your design.

 For more time-saving Photoshop tricks, be sure to read this post. Or, if you’d like a quick tutorial on how to put your separated element into a design, go here.


You might also like

2 Minute Tutorial: Create a Monochrome Floral Design 
Introduction to Surface Pattern Design + Photoshop
Pros Talk Productivity + What it Means in the Design World






We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.