How to Remove Backgrounds

With the help of a little Affinity Photo magic, you can remove the background from any photo, and set your subject in a new scene.



Step 0: Downloading the Images

For this tutorial, we’ll be using this moon. You’ll also need an image to replace the moon’s background. For this tutorial, we’ll use this field.

In addition to this written tutorial, you can also watch our video tutorial on removing backgrounds.



Step 1: Select the Moon

First, open both images in Affinity Photo.

Then we’ll work on selecting the moon.

In Affinity, there are many ways to select objects. For this picture, the easiest tool to use is the Flood Select Tool. The Flood Select Tool selects pixels that have a similar color to whatever you click on.

The Flood Select Tool selects pixels that have a similar color to whatever you click on.

In the Context Toolbar (the menu at the top of Affinity Photo), make sure your Tolerance is set to around 10%, and you have Contiguous turned on.

Now if we click anywhere in the sky, then the entire sky will be selected, since it’s all the same color. 

But we want to select the moon, not the sky, so we’ll need to invert our selection.

To invert a selection, press Command Shift I (Mac) or Control Shift I (PC).

Invert Selection


Now that we have the moon selected, we’re going to duplicate the moon onto its own layer.

To do this, press Command J (Mac) or Control J (PC).

Solo Moon Layer


If we turn off the original layer, we can see that we’ve separated the moon from its background.

To get rid of the selection that’s going around the moon, press Command D (Mac) or Control D (PC).

Turn off background, deselect



Step 2: Colored Background

Next, let’s learn how to add a colored background to our image.

First, add a new Pixel Layer from the Layers Panel.

New Pixel Layer


We’ll use this Pixel Layer to make a new background for the moon.

To do this, we’ll need to place the Pixel Layer beneath the moon’s layer. Click and drag the Pixel Layer to the bottom of the layers stack.

Bottom of Layer Stack


To fill this Pixel Layer with a color, go to the top of the screen to Edit, then Fill.

Edit, Fill


This has added a default white background to the picture, but we can change the color from the Dialog Box.

Change Color in Dialog Box


Change the color, then press Apply.

Press Apply



Step 3: Field Background

Finally, let’s try adding the moon to our photo of the field.

First, click on the moon’s layer to select it.

Then press Command C (Mac) or Control C (PC) to copy the moon.

Select and copy moon


Now go to the field photo’s tab.

Press Command V (Mac) or Control V (PC) to paste the moon.

Field tab, paste moon


The moon is now on a new background. We can move, resize, and adjust the moon by using the Move Tool.

Move, resize moon


Click anywhere off of the canvas to deselect the moon.

Deselect Moon


Nice work, friends! You did it!



If you want to make the moon match the background more realistically, you will need to use a few adjustment layers. I recommend you watch our tutorial on adding stars to a night sky to see an example of how to do this. 🙂