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Create a Transparent Image with Adobe Photoshop®
Software products support images with Alpha Channel
transparency. PNG, BMP and PSD file format actually support alpha channel. If
you want to create a nice icon (using
Axialis IconWorkshop™) or a screensaver
with smooth sprites (using Axialis Professional Screen Saver
recommend you to use images with Alpha channel.
Alpha channels are masks through which you can display
images. The alpha channel is an 8-bit channel, which means it has 256 levels of
gray from 0 (black) to 255 (white). White acts as the visible area; black acts
as the transparent area (you see the background behind the image when
displayed). The level of gray in between determines the level of visibility. For
example, 50 percent gray allows for 50 percent visibility. Alpha channels are
usually used with 16.8M color RGB images. The resulting image is called RGBA (RGB+A, A means alpha channel).
In the illustration below you see how the alpha channel is
applied to the original image to remove (visually) the orange gradient
background. The result produces a 32 BPP (Bit Per Pixel) transparent image. The
grey checkboard-like pattern shows the transparency of the image.
We'll learn how to create a transparent image with Alpha
Channel from a standard image.
contains powerful Alpha Channel manipulation features. We'll see here one of the
simplest way to proceed: Extrude a part of the image and remove the existing
background. Advanced techniques also exist to work with alpha channel. See
Photoshop help to read more.
Create a Transparent Image using Adobe Photoshop®
your image in
Photoshop® (we use version 7.0 in this tutorial). Select
File/Open... Choose your file and click Open. The file open in a
separate document window. You can download the original image we use in this
tutorial here: logo.bmp (right-click and
choose Save Target As).
the file is not in RGB format (16.8 M colors), convert it: Choose
select the background area of the image (the area you wish to remove). If the
image background has a solid color (white in our example), select the Magic
Wand Tool (W) or click
the toolbox. Be sure to specify Tolerance=10, Anti-aliased and
Contiguous in the selection options (dialog box on top, under the menu). You
may need to adjust the tolerance value (it depends on your image).
When done, click in the background area of the image ():
selection dashed-line appears around the logo and around the square border of
the image. It means that the background is selected (not the logo). If the
background is not made of a solid color, you can select it by using the
Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) or click
It's a bit more difficult but that's the only way to proceed.
we'll select the logo only. To do so, choose Select/Inverse (Shft+Ctrl+I).
It's almost unchanged but the dashed-line around the square border of the image
Choose Edit/Copy (Ctrl+C), then Edit/Paste (Ctrl+V) to create a
new layer with the "extruded" logo in it. The "layers" list has been updated
(see below). The new layer, which is selected, appears at the top of the list ().
The original image is present in the background ().
Now, we'll hide the original image by clicking on the "eye" button of the
background layer ().
If you want, you can also delete it by drag-and-drop it on the trash (at the
right-bottom corner of the list).
image document now looks like shown below. The background area (which was white)
has disappeared. Now you see a gray-checkboard-like texture around the logo ()
indicating that this area is in fact transparent.
recommend to save the image to another file to keep the original one intact.
Select "File/Save As...". In Format box, select "PNG" (our
favorite format). Please note that BMP and PSD formats also support 32 BPP /
Alpha Channel. Click Save. Select Interlace: "None", click OK.
7. You're done, the transparent version of your
image is created. You can download the image we've created in this tutorial here:
logo-ps.png (right-click and choose
Save Target As).
• Make your own icons
• Create a Transparent Image using Paint Shop Pro