How to Remove White Background from Stock Images in After Effects

Motion Graphics and Visual Effects artists frequently needs Stock Images or Images as well as videos for their projects but most of them comes with a White background. Some are in PNG format, that means they already have transparency and can be composited directly without worrying about keying or removing the background and some often comes with a White Background which needs to be eliminated or removed before using.

So, how do you actually remove the White Background of a Stock Image using Adobe After Effects.

Below I have a Stock Image of a Burn Mark with a White Background. The Image is in JPEG format and has no transparency but a White background.

Burn DamageSo, lets take a look at a very easy method by which you can remove the White Background.

Removing the White Background

  1. Once you are in After Effects, create a new composition and import your Stock Image into the comp.
    White Background from Stock Images
  2. Now, select the Image Layer and duplicate it, you can do so by going into Edit > Duplicate or use the Keyboard shortcut key CTRL + D.
    White Background from Stock Images
  3. After you duplicate the layer, Click on the Toggle Switches / Modes button to bring up the Track Matte options. You can also use the keyboard shortcut F4 to toggle between the Switches and Modes.
    White Background from Stock Images
  4. Now, change the Track Matte of the bottom layer, to do that, click the drop down at the TrkMat options and select “Luma Inverted Matte” i.e. the last option from the four available Track Matte options.
    White Background from Stock Images
  5. As you select the Luma Inverted Matte, you will notice that the White background from your Image will disappear.
    White Background from Stock Images
  6. If you wish to combine both the layers, pre-compose it, to do that select both the layer by holding down the CTRL button on your keyboard. After that, go into Layer > Pre-compose and Pre-Compose the layer into a new one. You can also use the Keyboard Shortcut CTRL + SHIFT + C to pre-compose both the layers. Make sure you select the layers before pre-composing.

This method is very effective and gives excellent results and can also be used in Sky Replacement technique’s or eliminating any white material from your Image or Videos.

There are other methods too such as Color Key, Difference Matte, Keylight but this method is the easiest and much effective of all.

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