To appreciate the eraser tool and associated hidden tools, you have to understand a little bit about layers. So I have my layers palette up, and notice what I have here is my cow floating on its own layer. If I turn off the eyeball here on the background layer you can see that my cow is floating in the sea of checkerboards. Well the checkerboard background indicates transparency in this case. So wherever you are seeing checkerboards, it means that on this particular layer, it's transparent except for in this case where my cow pixels are. And if I turn on the eyeball for my background layer, you can see now the composite effect. My cow floating over the background flower. Well the eraser tools works with transparent layers. And what it is, essentially it's a type of brush that erases pixels. And notice that I have my cow layer selected. So if I choose my eraser tool, I have a few options on my options tab here. I can choose from basic modes for my eraser tool that I want - the brush mode and of course that will look at brush options. And you can set those options by clicking on the brushes palette right here, but I'll just stick with this default brush. Or we could choose a pencil type of brush or the block. And I'm going to stick with brush mode. And we have the other basic options of how opaque we want our effect to be. And I'll leave it to be 100% opaque. And the flow control as well, and we could also erase to a particular selected history state, and I'll talk about that in the section on the history brush. Well as the name implies, the eraser brush simply deletes pixels and erases them. I'm going to target my background layer here and turn off this floating cow layer, and notice that the background layer indeed says background. So that means it is the bottom most floor layer. And it is attached to the floor, and I cannot get underneath it to see transparency if the name of this layer is background in italics with a little lock icon. If I'm using an eraser brush on this type of layer, the eraser brush won't erase, it will paint with my background color in this case this color green. If I want to erase to transparency, I need to rip up my background layer and make it support transparency. And there is an easy way to do that, all I need to do is double click on it and rename it. And I can just go with this default name - layer zero. So I'll say ok, and now notice that this layer supports transparency. So if I turn off the eyeball, behind this layer is my transparent checkerboard grid. So now with my new layer which supports transparency, even though it doesn't look any different, I can actually punch a hole through this layer to the background. And if I wish, I might add a layer here and drag it underneath and of course I'll talk all about these different techniques in the tutorials on layers. I might add something so that you can see this a little bit better such as a pattern. So now you can see that I have my pattern fill on this layer, and when I am erasing on this other layer it's erasing the pixel data to show through to my underneath layers, in this case the one filled with a pattern. I'm going to undo that so that I can talk about some other options that we have with these eraser tools. Well we've been working with the eraser tool, another tool we can use is the magic eraser tool. And the magic eraser-tool essentially works like the magic wand tool, but it adds the ability to delete pixels. So it's sort of like one-stop shopping, using the magic wand tool and hitting delete. And notice that when you choose the magic eraser tool, that we have the same options that are available to us on the magic wand tool. So I'm going to stick with a tolerance of 32. And of course that means that wherever I click, it will delete pixels of a similar range of colors, and I also have the option to enable contiguous or disable contiguous. So I'm going to leave contiguous disabled so that whenever I click, it will look for similar colored pixels in my document and erase them. And there we go, done a pretty good job of getting rid of most of the background of this flower image. I'm going to go ahead and revert my picture back to its original background state to talk about the third eraser tool - the background eraser. And notice again that since I reverted my image of course as background, which means that this particular image does not support layers or transparency. But if I choose the background eraser tool and click once, it immediately renames my layer so that it can support transparency. And I know that if I turn off the eyeball, I can see my checkerboard background. Well similar to the magic eraser tool, I have options for contiguous or discontiguous or find edges. If I like the find edges feature, and when I do that notice that when I'm using this particular tool that I have the cross-hair inside this circle. And that means it's going to look for edge detection inside my circle. So this is a great way of going around a particular image and deleting pixels of the background color. I might choose protect foreground color, and in this way what I can do is click the, press the option key on a Mac or the Alt key on the PC, and sample a color. I am going to swap it for my foreground color and now it's going to always try to protect my foreground color, in this case the yellow. So this way you might go around a particular high contrast image, like my contrasting flower here and delete pixels that don't have a similar color as my foreground color. Again, there are several different ways to get rid of backgrounds in Photoshop. And this is just one of the many options that you have. And generally you need to appreciate the nature of the image to pick the right tool or technique.
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