Differences in alpha channel and transparency handling between AE and PS

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I was just in a discussion with several vfx artists (all who frequently work out of After Effects) and we were talking about how in AE, when you import a file with an alpha, it automatically extracts the transparency information and you can just drop the file over a background, but in photoshop, unless you're using something like a PNG, you have to go into the channels, convert the alpha into a selection and then use it as a vector mask on the layer. That seems oddly tedious in comparison to the AE format.

So, the idea is to have some sort of option in the preferences that would allow photoshop to automatically interpolate the alpha in images so you don't have to go through the mask process.
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Joshua Gluck

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Posted 5 years ago

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Chris Cox

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You're confusing alpha channels (which can contain anything) with transparency (which is a very specific channel relationship). Also, you can have multiple alpha channels per document, and only one transparency channel.

Photoshop handles transparency correctly, and handles alpha channels correctly but separately.

AE offers flexibility in alpha/transparency handling because many of their users seem to get the concepts and file formats confused.