Removing the Backgrounds
Photoshop Elements offers tools specifically for the purpose of isolating an image in a photograph. Tools available for this purpose include the magic eraser tool, background eraser, magnetic lasso and selection brush. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these tools and become comfortable with them because each of them work in different ways to accomplish this goal.
I’m going to discuss the magic eraser tool because I feel it works better when meticulously removing the background of an image.
Before working with the image, duplicate the background layer so you can still have the original image to work with until you get it just right. This protects the original work in case something goes horribly wrong while erasing the background. To do this, make sure your layers palette is visible - click on the background in the palette and then drag and drop it onto the new layer button at the top of the palette. This creates a duplicate layer in your composition.
Click the Eye icon on the new layer to hide it. Now, select the Magic Eraser tool from the toolbox, set the tolerance to a level that is easy to work with (35 is a good number) and click on the areas you want to make disappear. Click around as you find more colors you want gone but avoid colors similar to the subject that you want to remain visible.
When you are satisfied with the amount of background erased, open a new black background in the image by using the Create Adjustment Layer button in the layer palette panel. When you get it created, drag and drop it into your composition and the area that is erased will now be black. Now, open the regular Eraser tool from the toolbox, choose a smaller, more precise brush, and use it to eliminate other areas of the background that still exists.
Next, double-click on the background copy in the palette and rename it Mask. Now, make another duplicate of the original background and move it to the top of the palette. While selecting the new duplicate layer in the palette, click Ctrl+G to create a clipping mask and the layer below is now a Mask layer. With the mask selected, use the paint brush (any color is fine) and go over any area that disappeared from your main subject. Zoom in on the image to get more control over your work. Click the eye on the black layer and switch between the paint brush and erase tool until you are happy the background is completely erased and your subject is still visible.
Next, use the Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) and set the radium to about 0.5 to smooth out the jagged edges. Finally, save the file under a new name as a Photoshop file once you have the image’s background removed.