You can use GIMP, a free graphic editing program, to isolate an object located within a picture and to actually cut the foreground out, deleting the background. You can continue to use GIMP for additional editing, or you can save the new cut-out picture and preserve the transparency behind it. To isolate what you want to keep, you can use GIMP's Free Select Tool to freehand a border around the object or you can use the Scissors Select Tool, which implements "intelligent edge-fitting" technology.
Launch GIMP and open the file you want to edit by clicking on "File" and then "Open." Locate the image within your documents. Select it and press "Open."
Select the "Scissors Select Tool" located in the main toolbar. Click your cursor on any point along the edge of what you want your cut-out to be. Continue to click your cursor down along the edge to help the intelligent technology wrap around each corner and turn of your foreground. Once you reach close to your starting point, click exactly on that original point to complete the border.
Click on any point inside your selection to change the solid border into a dotted line, which will finalize the selection process. Make sure your image has a transparency channel by clicking on "Layer," "Transparency" and "Add Alpha Channel."
Invert the selection so you can delete the background. Click on "Select" and "Invert." Press "Delete" on your keyboard. Your cut-out will remain visible; the background will have been eliminated.
Save your cut-out using a file extension that supports transparency such as ".PNG." Click on "File" and "Save As" to enter your file name and extension, pressing "Save" when finished.
Tips & Warnings
- You can use the Eraser Tool to eliminate any additional elements that you want to get rid of in your foreground. Click on the icon located in the main toolbar and double-click and drag your cursor over what you want to delete.
- The ".PNG" extension does not support multiple layers. If you have a multi-layered document, during the saving process you will be notified by an "Export File" box to flatten your image. Press "Export" and your file will prepare itself for being saved.
- Photo Credit Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images