Photoshop Elements 3 Tutorial
There are several ways to cutout (extract) objects from the background of photos so you can use them in other projects depending on the complexity of the object and the contrast of the background. Two of the most popular methods for extraction are shown here.
Method 1 - If the object is simple and the background is high contrast you can use the background eraser tool and select a round brush at 100% opacity to paint it out. Just paint along the edge of the object and completely erase the unwanted areas. This takes some practice and patience.
Once the background has been erased, all you have left is the object that you can then clean up the background pixels with the standard eraser tool, crop to fit and save in a transparent format.
Method 2 - Use the polygonal lasso tool to trace along the edges of the object you want to cut out. This tool will automatically close the area when you return to the start of the area. Zoom in on the picture to enlarge the area you want to cut out so you can see the edges clearly then just trace and click around the edges until you have the object completely selected. You'll know it has been completely selected when you see 'marching ants' around the object.
The quick way to do this is to hit 'ctrl + shift + I' which will invert the selection to the background. Then just hit your 'delete' key to delete the background. All you should have showing now is your cutout selection.
Alternately, you can select 'Layer | New Layer | Layer via copy' to put your selection on a new layer. To see it, turn off visibility on the background layer. You can clean up stray pixels around the edges with the eraser tool if needed. And remember, you can always undo your changes by hitting 'ctrl + z' if you need to back track. Crop the area to fit the cutout and save with transparent background. Then you can use the extracted object multiple times to create a new graphic.