The Eraser tool changes pixels to either the background color or to transparent. If you’re working on a background or in a layer with transparency locked, the pixels change to the background color; otherwise, the pixels are erased to transparency.
You can also use the eraser to return the affected area to a state selected in the History panel.
An opacity of 100% erases pixels completely. A lower opacity erases pixels partially. See Paint tool options.
To erase to a saved state or snapshot of the image, click the left column of the state or snapshot in the History panel, and then select Erase To History in the options bar.
To temporarily use the Eraser tool in Erase To History mode, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) as you drag in the image.
Photoshop performs intelligent smoothing on your brush strokes. Simply enter a value (0-100) for Smoothing in the Options bar when you're working with one of the following tools: Brush, Pencil, Mixer Brush, or Eraser. A value of 0 is the same as legacy smoothing in earlier versions of Photoshop. Higher values apply increasing amounts of intelligent smoothing to your strokes.
Stroke smoothing works in several modes. Clicking the gear icon () to enable one or more of the following modes:
When you click in a layer with the Magic Eraser tool, the tool changes all similar pixels to transparent. If you’re working in a layer with locked transparency, the pixels change to the background color. If you click in the background, it is converted to a layer and all similar pixels change to transparent.
You can choose to erase contiguous pixels only or all similar pixels on the current layer.
- Enter a tolerance value to define the range of colors that can be erased. A low tolerance erases pixels within a range of color values very similar to the pixel you click. A high tolerance extends the range of colors that will be erased.
- Select Contiguous to erase only pixels contiguous to the one you click, or deselect to erase all similar pixels in the image.
The Background Eraser tool erases pixels on a layer to transparency as you drag. You can erase the background while maintaining the edges of an object in the foreground. By specifying different sampling and tolerance options, you can control the range of the transparency and the sharpness of the boundaries.
If you want to erase the background of an object with intricate or wispy edges, use QuickSelect.
The background eraser samples the color in the center of the brush, also called the hotspot, and deletes that color wherever it appears inside the brush. It also performs color extraction at the edges of any foreground objects, so that color halos are not visible if the foreground object is later pasted into another image.
The background eraser overrides the lock transparency setting of a layer.
- Choose settings for the Diameter, Hardness, Spacing, Angle, and Roundness options (see Brush tip shape options).
- If you’re using a pressure-sensitive digitizing tablet, choose options from the Size and Tolerance menus to vary the size and tolerance of the background eraser over the course of a stroke. Choose Pen Pressure to base the variation on the pen pressure. Choose Stylus Wheel to base the variation on the position of the pen thumbwheel. Choose Off if you don’t want to vary the size or tolerance.
- Choose a Limits mode for erasing: Discontiguous to erase the sampled color wherever it occurs under the brush; Contiguous to erase areas that contain the sampled color and are connected to one another; and Find Edges to erase connected areas containing the sampled color while better preserving the sharpness of shape edges.
- For Tolerance, enter a value or drag the slider. A low tolerance limits erasure to areas that are very similar to the sampled color. A high tolerance erases a broader range of colors.
- Select Protect Foreground Color to prevent the erasure of areas that match the foreground color in the toolbox.
The Auto Erase option for the Pencil tool lets you paint the background color over areas containing the foreground color.