Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

How to create image cut-outs without any special tool

July, 2001

As a bonus of my endless wanderings in search of the most effective "cut out", I am here sharing with you a personal technique to create "silhouettes" and "cut-outs" that beats the hell out of any commercial software.

It is dirty, but it does the job. I have developed it just by thinking about alternative solutions (others may have invented it before, but I am not aware of anybody and my intuition has been genuine) and I am happy to be able to give it out to you first.

Enjoy and make it your first DIET-conscious solution!


A unusually warm iced tea, with a torrid Roman afternoon made a few weeks ago the perfect setting for a simple but quite useful idea.

Instead of looking so much for a free image editor that can make cut-outs at no cost for my students, why don't I come up with an idea that reaches the same results, without resorting to a special technology?

And so it came. Here is how to do it. (You can use MS Paint to try this out yourself).

Open a photograph or an illustration in which you want to create a cut-out or silhouette.

Select the paintbrush and choose a color for painting that is NOT represented in the part of the image that you want to keep. A strong pink, purple, green, or blue will often do.

Paint around your cut-out as precisely as possible, as if you had to paint "over" anything that you do not want to keep in the final image.

Once completed, select File->Save As... and save selecting as file type .gif.

Now, when you open your image in Microsoft PowerPoint, FrontPage, PhotoEditor or in any utility that creates transparent .gifs (see the reviews above), you can select the "crazy" color you have painted over your image as the color to be transparent.

Once you have made that tint transparent, and after you have resaved your GIF, you will have a nice, though rudimental, cut-out that you can place or compose on top of another image.

You can use this technique in Windows with the Paint application (Start->Programs->Accessories->Paint) or you can use any free image editor like the ones reviewed in this issue.



Readers' Comments    
2005-01-10 21:34:11


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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, July 31 2001, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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