Using Keynote to edit photos for Boardmaker

For some time, I used Keynote to edit graphics for slideshows and personal projects. I just started using Keynote to remove background colors for importing photos to Boardmaker. In my opinion, removing the background facilitates understanding of the object pictured. I would like to share how to do it:

  1. Using a camera (e.g., iPhone), take a picture of an object such as a toy.
  2. Sync the image to your Mac.
  3. Drag and drop the image into a Keynote slide with white background. If necessary, resize with Inspector.
  4. Use alpha to select and remove background colors.
  5. Use command shift 4 to capture an image.
  6. Drag the image into Boardmaker to add the image to your library.
  7. Add the image to a template such as a GoTalk. Since the template has a white background, the image’s white background will be unnoticeable.
  8. Utilize the template in interactive or printable form.
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3 thoughts on “Using Keynote to edit photos for Boardmaker

  1. wow, great tip. Though I consider myself moderately skilled technically, photoshop gives me major agita. I would not have known how to remove a background from a photo…very neat tool.

  2. Another way is using the Phoenix image editor from Aviary. It’s a free, web-based tool which includes a magic wand feature for removing background. I’ve used Phoenix for image editing, but I actually prefer Keynote. I think Keynote is easier to use and more effective.

  3. A third way to do the same thing is to open the image in Preview and use the instant-alpha there!

    I prefer this because I don’t use Keynote much so I’m not familiar with it, and Preview is quicker to start up too 🙂 Also works for people who don’t have iWork because Preview is part of OS X default programs.

    So the steps would be:

    1. Open picture in preview
    2. Click on the “select” icon in the toolbar (dashed square shape by default) and then on “Instant Alpha” in the drop down menu.
    3. Click on an area you want to delete, keep holding down the mouse button and move the mouse pointer a little way and you’ll see the instant alpha magic happening. When the right amount of the picture is hidden by the orange overlap, release the mouse button.
    (4. If you messed it up, press escape and start from step 3 again.)
    5. Press delete and the area that was orange will go grey – grey is what preview puts instead of transparent so this is what you want. Once it’s on a white background it’ll be white (or on a green background it’ll be green, etc.)
    6. If there’s more bits that you want to remove, go back to step 3 and repeat as many times as you want.
    7. Press command-s or choose File->Save from the menu to save the picture. If your original format doesn’t support transparent areas (JPG has this problem) it will suggest you save as a PNG – just press enter if you want to save the PNG with the same filename and a different extension.

    Now you can use the picture for anything you want!

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