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Removing a background color?

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Ok, I must be doing something wrong.

I have a simple image, white background with some blue text on it.

I want to remove the white; i.e., make it fully transparent.

I tried using the Recolor tool. I changed by Primary color to have a Transparency - Alpha of 0. I right-clicked on the background to set my Secondary to white. I left-clicked (and ctrl-left-clicked) to try and change it. I was expecting the background to change from white to transparent (checkered), but I could only get it to work if I used a non-transparent color.

I also tried the Paint Bucket (fill) tool, but had similar results.

Using the Eraser tool worked, but that's a slow process, and prone to error.

So, what am I doing wrong?

Thank you for any help,


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Try the Magic Wand.


When using it, just click on the color you want to remove.

It uses something called 'tolerance' to measure how much of a color to remove; if you have a gradient applied, try using the Wand at different tolerance levels and watch what happens.


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