Find an image that you want to render and open Photoshop CS5 (CS4 has the uses the same method of rendering so don't fret if you don't have CS5)
In the layers pane: double click on background and hit OK (this unlocks the layer and will allow you to set a transparent background). If you do not see "Layers", simply click "Design" at the top of Photoshop instead of "Essentials" and you'll see it.
Select the pen tool (You can also use the magic wand if you want, but the pen tool is much more precise and will end up looking more crisp)
With the pen tool selected, pick a start point on the image and begin rendering by creating multiple anchor points. If you want to make the render look good then zoom in as far as you deem necessary. Continue this process until end up where you started.
Once you go all the way around the image with the pen tool, your image should look like this:
I did that selection very quickly so you'll see a lot of white spots, but its just an example. Put more effort into yours if you are using it for SOTW or a signature
Once you have the selection finished, right click on the image and select "Make Selection". This will bring up a dialogue box with a few different options. The only one you need to worry about is feathering. I find that a feather of 5 makes images look smooth. Play around with this number to see what works for your particular image.
Once you've made your selection you'll have a broken marquee surrounding your selection.
This is where it gets easy. When you have the scrolling marquee surrounding your image, you want push Ctrl + shift + I (I'd tell you how to do it through the menu but fuck it, hot keys are more efficient). Ctrl + Shift + I will invert your selection. Now when you push delete it will get rid of the entire image EXCEPT your render.
After you push delete and are left with your render, push Ctrl + D (Select > Deselect) to deselect the render.
Once deselected, you are going to want to trim the empty space. To do this go to Image > and Trim. Once you select this a dialogue box will appear. Just hit enter.
Save the motherfucker
To properly save your render to go File > Save for Web and devices. (As seen below)
This will open this:
Select PNG 24 (To maintain quality while having the background remain transparent) and save!
After all that you're left with this:
Handy Hot Keys:
CTRL + SPACE = Zoom in
CTRL + ALT + SPACE = Zoom out
CTRL + SHIFT + I = Inverse Selection
CTRL + Z = Undo
CTRL + ALT + Z = Step Backward (More effective then undo)
Edited by The Mike, 16 May 2010 - 06:27 AM.