How to Eliminate a Photo Background, Use Filters and Extensions, and Create a Vellum Overlay

Insert Photo

To start, import the original picture into Inkscape.  Go to File>Import to browse for the picture you want to edit and click Open.            

Photo of ittle girl dressed like fairy

Draw Around your Subject

Use either the Freehand Tool or the Straight Line/Bezier Tool to draw around the subject you want to save. In the illustration here, I used the Straight Line Tool and then adjusted the curves using the Node Editing Tool.  Don’t forget the interior parts if there are any that you’ll want to subtract.

Outlining the imported photo

Eliminate the Background

At this point I like to add a fill color to make it easier for me to visualize. This is especially helpful if I need to subtract parts of the background from the portion of the photo I want to save. The interior parts that are going to be eliminated can be filled with a contrasting color as shown. Change each part to a path by selecting, then Path > Object to Path.

Now select the traced drawing of the main subject, hold down Shift while you select a part to subtract, then Path >Difference. Repeat if necessary.

Next, select the original photo (background), then Object > Pattern > Objects to Pattern. With photo still selected, Path > Object to Path. Now select your entire project by dragging the select tool around the photo. Path > Intersection.  The result should be something like this.

Photo with background eliminated

Filters and Extensions

Now that the background  is eliminated, you can play around with different Filters and Extensions. I’ve shown some examples in the illustration below. However, you will want to try some different ideas to get the look you desire.

Screen capture of edited photo

Print and Finish Your Project

sketch of little girl dressed like fairy

Now you can print out your illustration on Vellum. Embellish before and/or after printing to add color and interest. Before printing, I pasted in a little bird that I had previously drawn in Inkscape. When putting the scrapbook page together, I used some little flowers that I had designed and cut out with my Craft Robo and placed them behind the Vellum.

Photo of scrapbook page with finished vellum overlay

If you have found this, or any other of my tutorials helpful, please leave me a comment. Comments help me as I attempt to post tutorials that are useful to you.

8 Replies to “How to Eliminate a Photo Background, Use Filters and Extensions, and Create a Vellum Overlay”

  1. I’ve seen this post before and just never got around to trying it. The image is so captivating I’m trying to find one of my Gkids to try it with.

    Thanks for the detailed instructions.

  2. Thanks for the great tutorial! Unfortunately, I am having some difficulty with the part after “Next, select the original photo (background), then Object > Pattern > Objects to Pattern.” I think I got the selection right, but one I go through all the next steps, the background is still there and I’m not sure what else to try. Any thoughts?

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