How to Easily Remove a White Background in Adobe After Effects

Using this one effect in Adobe After Effects can really shave time off your editing process.

I have a client that sends me tons of images to create motion graphics. The issue is that the PNGs files are not transparent. When I first started I would just use the pen tool or lasso and cut the products out of the background. This quickly got annoying and ate up more time than I liked. I produce 65 videos per year for them. I need to save as much time as possible. So, how do we speed up this process?

Import Your Image to Adobe After Effects

Our first step is as easy as it is obvious. Lets open up Adobe After Effects > Start a New Composition > Then drag and drop your image into the comp.

Find "Color Range" in "Effects & Presets"

In the "Effects & Presets" tab type in, "Color Range". You will also find it under the "Keying" drop down menu. Once you find the effect, drag and drop it onto your image.

Sometimes you'll see a change in your image. This is normal. It won't change our outcome.

Select the Color You want to remove

Go to your "Effect Controls" box and find the "Color Range" effect. It's usually open by default. In this box you'll see three different eye droppers. We want to the top eye dropper. With the eye dropper, select the color you need removed from the image.

This tool works best if you have flat colors. Shadows can make this process just as difficult.

Clean Up with the Pen Tool

Like I said, shadows can be a killer with this tool. In my experiance there is usually still some background left over. If this is the case for you as well, use the Pen tool to mask out the rest.


Hopefully this little tool can help you in some way or another.