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Remember when the Mac OS app Preview was used just to, ah, preview? Then, it's probably been a long time since you've actually taken a look at Preview. 

Preview has evolved from the basic of just giving you a no frills look into your file; to opening, viewing and annotating PDF files; to now, image editing capabilities.

  Take for example, if I want to quickly extract the background of an image, I can open the image in Preview and remove the background there. Granted, the last app I would ever have thought of using for this task is Preview, I'm a Photoshop geek, but I found doing this technique in Preview worked fairly well and couldn't be easier.

Starting from the Toolbar in Preview, the steps to remove the background are pretty straight-forward.

• The Select pop-up menu sports an "Instant Alpha" Tool

• Drag the Instant Alpha Tool over the pixels of the image you want to maintain

• As you are dragging a red masking area appears over those areas

• When you release the mouse, that red area outline turns into a "Selection"

• Edit menu > Inverse the selection (this selects the portions you want to delete)

• Press Delete key

There is also an Adjust Color panel that features Exposure, Contrast, Saturation, Temperature, Tint, Sepia and Sharpness settings to further edit and enhance your image.

Here, I used the Sepia slider to add a Sepia tone to my image and sharpened it up a bit. I then saved the original .jpg as a .png to maintain the transparency of removing the background. I can then place the saved image (just the selected area) as desired. 

Mac OS Preview is basic when it comes to image editing features, but sometimes, basic is all you need. If you haven't launched Preview in a while, you might be surprised by what it can now do.

 

 

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  • Wow, Chita, this is great! I’ve noticed that preview has been gaining features in every major Mac OS X update, but I hadn’t realized it could do this!

    Brava!

  • George

    Thanks Chita, very good information. I also found out through your teaching that some of the older scanners (Epson 3200 for instance) work very well with Preview.