So you want to remove the background from an image on the iPad?
Creating graphics on the iPad can be fun, and in the
classroom it can be a very practical skill. Creating animations or
games with custom characters allows an iPad user to present
information in meaningful ways. So, how do I make a charicature or
avatar from a photo without buying a special app for this purpose?
The latest updates to Apple’s Keynote and Pages apps have brought
to iPad one of the coolest features of the Mac versions of these
two apps: INSTANT ALPHA. Instant alpha is a tool that makes ranges
of colours in images become transparent, thus allowing you to
remove backgrounds or other components from images. That is cool if
you want to work in Pages or Keynote, but what if you want to
import the backgroundless i age i to another app? What then? I
discovered a workflow that allows you to do this without having to
download any specialty apps. If you have Pages or Keynote, you can
do this. Apps required: Camera/Safari (to collect images); Photos;
Pages/Keynote; Mail So, here’s the game: You have a great photo
(for which you have permission to modify!) that you want to use to
make a caricature or avatar. It looks like this:
Photo from: Eva Rinaldi
Photography The rectangular-ness of the image, and the
brownish background make this far from useful as a caricature or
character for any kind of animation, so we need to do some
cropping. Here’s where Pages/Keynote comes into play. Open Keynote
(or Pages) and insert the image. Select the image and then tap on
the PAINTBRUSH tool (for formatting objects), as follows:
Select the INSTANT ALPHA option, and follow the
instructions that appear, to remove areas of colour (make them
invisible!) from the image. This will require a bit of playing
around, to work out how to do this as effectively as possible.
Essentially, it involves tapping and dragging across the sections
of the image you wish removed. The areas that will be made
transparent will be highlighted, as follows:
Once you have removed the entire background and any
other areas (I removed Kevin’s jacket, shirt and tie, too) tap
done. You might then need to change the MASK on the image (masking
an images hides certain parts of it from view). Double tap the
image to bring up the MASK interface.
Another useful thing you can do – which is slightly
convoluted – allows you to use your backgroundless image in other
apps. Currently, the image is embedded in my Keynote. To use it in
other apps, I need to get it to my camera roll. There is no option
to do this, but the trick is to copy the image (tap on it and
choose the COPY option) and then paste into an email.
When Keynote copies an image, it converts it to a
PNG file (portable network graphic) which is a format that allows
for non-rectangular image files, or files with transparent areas.
Send the email to yourself. Once you have received the email, you
can then save the image to Photos by tapping and holding on the
image (which will bring up the dialogue, below) and exporting it by
choosing the SAVE IMAGE option.
Once the image is in your Camera Roll, it can be
imported by other apps! Perfect! In my next blog post, I will explain
another workflow, that involves using Keynote to create an object
composed of multiple shapes/images (see below), that can be
animated in Keynote, or, through the “email to yourself” technique
from above, used in other apps. Note: the Edublogs iPad app DOES
NOT support upload of backgroundless images – the image below
actually has a transparent background that shows up as white when
uploaded via this app. But my! What a handsome guy!