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How to Remove the Background in Adobe Express for Thumbnails

A lot of people attest to how putting yourself in a YouTube thumbnail can drive clicks and views. But what if you don’t have a brilliant background? Today, I’ll show you how easy it is to remove the background using Adobe Express.

And yes, you can do this for free.

Using Adobe Express to Remove the Background

If you already have an Adobe account, you’ll have access to the premium additions for creating your thumbnail. In this tutorial, though, I’m working from the free version and tools of the app.

I’m also going to assume that you have a picture ready to go.

For transparency, I do have a premium Adobe account as I pay for Photoshop and Premiere as they pertain to what I do for a living. But all of the steps below are relevant to the free account from Adobe.

Step 1: Access Adobe Express to Remove the Background

Go to the Adobe Express website. For this purpose, the easiest route is to go to the “remove background” page.

Step 2: Upload Your Photo

Once on Adobe’s page, click the button to “Upload your photo.”

Upload Photo

This will open a new tab where you can drag and drop your photo into the web browser or click to browse your device.

Photo Page for Adobe Express

Once you select a photo, Adobe Express will begin removing the background automatically.

Removing Background

After the photo has been rendered, you can choose to “Customize” or “Download” the image.

Remove Background from Image

As you can see in the image above, Adobe Express did an incredible job eliminating the mess behind me, and it only takes a handful of seconds to render.

Since I am going to make a YouTube thumbnail with Adobe Express, I’m going to download the image. This will give me a PNG that I can use in virtually any graphic editor on the Internet.

That means you don’t have to stick with Adobe Express should you find a better program you want to use.

Step 3: Choose a YouTube Thumbnail Template

Now that you have the PNG saved, you can technically just go to Adobe Express and create a new project directly. YouTube’s ideal thumbnail size is 1280 x 720 pixels. You can start a new project with those dimensions and begin editing.

Perhaps the easiest way to start a YouTube thumbnail from scratch is to close the “Edit image” screen on the right to see a few other options available. One of these is the “Resize” option.

Clicking this will let you choose from a custom format. Or, you can scroll through the list and click, “YouTube thumbnail.”

Resizing YouTube Thumbnails

If you want to create your thumbnail this way without checking out the templates, feel free to skip to Step 6.

Today, however, we’re going to explore a few of the free YouTube thumbnail templates on Adobe Express. You don’t have to use these, but they can give you an idea of what the platform can do.

After downloading the image, Adobe Express will show you the pic after you remove the background on a basic color. You’ll also have the option to “Keep editing” or “Try Photoshop.”

You can either click the “Keep editing” button or just click the “X” icon to get rid of the bottom message.

Click the Templates option on the left toolbar and search for “YouTube Thumbnail.”

Search YouTube Thumbnail

Adobe Express has a lot of thumbnail templates to choose from, and you can filter the choices by using the “Show only” options provided.

Since I’m creating a free thumbnail, I am going to check the corresponding box. On a side note, I wish other apps had the ability to filter by free and premium graphics.

Click a thumbnail template you want to use. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly as you want. You can edit every aspect of the thumbnail to create something and unique.

Choose Adobe Express Template

Step 4: Start a New Project

Once you decide on a template and click on it, Adobe will ask if you want to add it as a page or start a new project. Personally, I feel that starting a new project is easier to manage overall.

Start a New Project

For this tutorial, I’m going to start a new project. This will open a new tab on the web browser for the editor.

Step 5: Add Your PNG Image

After deciding which template to use, we need to upload the PNG file we saved after removing the background. On the left side of the screen, click the “Photos” option.

Adobe Express Photos Option

You’ll see a list of free and premium photos that you can use within the thumbnail. However, we want the PNG from earlier.

Click the “Upload photo” button above the list.

Upload Photo Button

This will open your computer’s window browser. Find the PNG file you saved with the background removed and upload it to Adobe Express.

This will overlay your picture onto the thumbnail template.

Step 6: Adjust Your PNG Image

After your image is uploaded to the editor, click the “X” to close the Photos panel.

Click on your pic and use the controls to resize the image to your liking.

Resize Image in Adobe Express

NOTE: You also have options on the right side of the editor that will adjust your image. This includes Effects that will alter the photo’s appearance.

Step 7: Adjust Other Thumbnail Components

Adobe Express can do more than just remove a background. You have a lot of different ways you can alter the thumbnail template to fit your needs.

When you click on any element, you’ll be able to make changes. You can delete certain graphics, change the text, change the colors, move things around, and much more.

How you design the thumbnail is completely up to you. On the left side of Adobe Express, you’ll find:

  • Text: These are text options you can add to the thumbnail including various styles and fonts.
  • Photos: You can add more photos to the editor whether they’re in Adobe or on your computer.
  • Shapes: Adobe Express has a slew of vector image shapes you can add to your thumbnail.
  • Design Assets: The assets available can do wonderful things to your image such as adding frames and textures.
  • Backgrounds: You can add different backgrounds that include things like space, seasons, doodles, or solid colors.
  • Logos: If you have a logo for your YouTube channel, you can upload it in this section.
  • Libraries: Libraries are your saved projects on the Adobe platform. This is useful if you plan on using Adobe Express for your YouTube journey.

Just remember that for any element you wish to change, options will show on the right when you click them.

In this thumbnail example, I only changed the background and the font used with the text on the right.

YouTube Thumbnail Example

Step 8: Download Your YouTube Thumbnail

After you’ve made all the adjustments you want to the image, you can either share or download it directly to your computer.

Share or Download the Thumbnail

When you click “Start download,” Adobe Express will save the image to your computer. From there, you can add it when you upload a video to YouTube.

If you want to share the image, Adobe Express can connect to various social sites including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. This is a great feature if you wish to share images on social media to help market your YouTube channel.

Especially since you can create schedules to keep the social posts seemingly active.

However, you can only schedule two posts per month with a free Adobe Express account. This could be helpful to get you started while building your audience. But to really get the most out of the social Content Scheduler, you’d want to upgrade.

Using the PNG File from Adobe Express in Other Ways

Although Adobe Express has a lot of free templates, graphics, and options for making YouTube thumbnails, they’re not the only game in town. In fact, a lot of platforms have a comparative list of similar functions and features.

Unfortunately, not all of those other graphic design apps have the same ability to remove a background like Adobe Express.

In this case, you can simply use Adobe Express to remove the background and then use that PNG in another app.

For example, Adobe offers a background remover for free while Canva does not.

BG Remover in Canva

Removing the background is a “Pro” feature in Canva. So, you can remove the background in Adobe and then upload that PNG to Canva for your YouTube Thumbnails.

Adobe Express PNG Files in Canva
Using Adobe Express PNG File in Canva

The bottom line is that you can do anything you want with the PNG file from Adobe Express. It all comes down to what graphic design app you like most and whether you want to just use Adobe Express to remove the background from your photos.

What’s Your Favorite Thumbnail App?

My favorite app for creating thumbnails is a toss-up between Canva and Adobe Express. Both are exceptionally easy platforms to use and can help create a YouTube thumbnail in mere minutes.

Yet, I do have templates designed in Photoshop that I use most of the time.

With how well Adobe Express can remove a background from photos, though, I know I’m going to use it quite a bit for that specific feature for future thumbnails. Especially when you consider that I don’t have a lot of space to take pics that are attractive.

It’s bad enough the chaos is quite apparent in my videos.

What apps do you like to use to create YouTube thumbnails? How much have you toyed around with Adobe Express and why?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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