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How to make off-white background white

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Bobby Hall
How to make off-white background white
on Dec 6, 2018 at 8:56:23 am

I have some pictures of artwork that were drawn with colored pencils on off-white paper. I'd like to either make the background completely white or remove it so that I can place the drawings on a white background.

I tried using the magic wand but it removes some of the white in the drawings. For instance, one of the drawings has a white door and the magic wand removes part of the lines that outline the door since there's a small amount of white in the lines. This might not be an issue with ink but since these are colored pencils, there's hints of white in them.

I was also wondering if there was a way to make the background white without affecting any of the white in the drawings themselves. Anyone have any suggestions?


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Jacob Younessi
Re: How to make off-white background white
on Dec 6, 2018 at 1:16:58 pm

You can try again with the magic wand tool, but enable the 'contiguous' box at the top of the window when the magic wand is selected.

You could also apply a curves adjustment, push the whites until your off white appears white, and mask this adjustment to only affect the background.


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Bobby Hall
Re: How to make off-white background white
on Dec 7, 2018 at 11:30:32 am

Can you give step by step instructions for your second suggestion? I’m pretty new to Photoshop.


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Dominic Deacon
Re: How to make off-white background white
on Dec 8, 2018 at 8:11:10 pm

Getting a 100% perfect selection can't often be done. What you need to do is make your selection (i'd probably be using the "colour range" tool from the "select" menu for this) and then apply that selection as a mask. After that any areas that have been mistakenly masked out you just paint over that part of the mask with a white brush. This will brush them back into your image.


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: How to make off-white background white
on Dec 9, 2018 at 10:14:55 am

The quick selection tool is quite handy for this purpose, you can select similar adjacent areas of the image by dragging over them and then remove from selection with the same tool by pressing the alt key. The refine edge (called something else in the recent versions) can be used to modify the edge of the selection so it isn't just a sharp edge. Then I would use levels or curves adjustment layer (rather than cutting or filling on the layer itself) to make the selected area white. That way you can keep adjusting the selection non-destructively by painting on the layer mask.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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