Photoshop: Import Option for RGBA files, to interpret Alpha as Layer Mask or Transparency

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Feature request for Adobe Photoshop:
an Import Options dialog for linked/placed RGBA-files,
that let us choose to import alpha as transparency or as a layer mask

This comes in handy when stacking 3d-renders with alpha channels as Smart Objects.
Currently, we have to open all rendered files and 'manually' transfer the alpha-information to transparency.

See my blog:
http://jaydude-featurerequests.blogsp...
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Jaydude

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Posted 4 years ago

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Jaydude

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Maybe even better would be to have an 'interpretation' setting, just like in After Effects, so we can decide afterwards what to do with the alpha channel of a placed file.
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Chris Cox

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Most file formats have a definition of what the extra channel data means (transparency/opacity or arbitrary alpha channel) -- we really can't change the definition of the file formats.

We also should not prompt on every file opened and saved to ask users how they intended to use the extra channel data - unless we have to on some file formats that are ambiguous or commonly misused (TGA, EXR).

It sounds like you need to use a file format that specifies the extra channel to be transparency, and you are currently using a file format that does not define it that way, or are writing it incorrect (sometimes in TIFF the channels are mislabeled).

Also, your request would be much clearer if you told us what file format you were having problems with.
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Jaydude

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I refer to After Effects where we can interpret every file after import if you like, no matter what format. I guess you are not an AE user. Alpha is a channel that is commonly used to define opacity/transparancy, in several file formats, for decades. But Photoshop does not understand that correctly. Even InDesign is aware of the Alphachannel of a placed file, but Photoshop simply ignores it.
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Jaydude

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I'm experiencing this with Cinema 4d renders that include an Alpha channel. The file format can be .psd, .tga, .tiff - every format that can have an alpha channel. Ae and Id both have a function to let it use the alpha. Ps hasn't as far as I can see. In Ps, such file shows the RGB channels and an Alpha channel, which is not applied as transparency.

In Ae, it is called 'Interpret Footage', in Id, it's called Clipping Path (/Options/Type).



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Tomas Westerholm

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here is an example of a file with sky in background if imported to video editing software like Sony Vegas but not visible in Photoshop CC, only transparency shows empty sky.
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Tomas Westerholm

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file is in .PNG format / 8 bits per channel.
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Chris Cox

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That's because the file specifies the area to be transparent, and Photoshop shows you what is in the file.
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Tomas Westerholm

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and this is how the image should look like without the transparency activated. My problem is that I don't find a way to disable the transparency and get the sky data visible in Photoshop CC.

Any knowledge appreciated,
tomas.westerholm@3drender.fi
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Chris Cox

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That means that your Sony software is showing you something that is not in the file - the file has transparency, but you are being shown the file without transparency.
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Markus Johan Schille

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Hi Chris, I have a question reqarding Photoshop and PNG. Does photoshop always interpret transparent PNG's as straight alpha (not matted/premultiplied)?

My rendering software does not allow me to output PNG with straight alpha, so the image is always matted with whatever background color I use. If I use a black background, I get a black fringe. If I use a white background I get a white fringe. Unmatting the layer solves this but only after converting to 32 bit inside Photoshop first. I think a lot of artists does not know this.

Adobe After Effects gives you a options for handling the alpha (ignore,  straight or matted), even for PNG. Why isn't Photoshop and AE more unified in this regard?
(Edited)
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iMatt

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Hi There-
I think this is a PNG issue.  Photoshop always reads the PNG alpha as transparency, while other applications allow you to read it as transparency, or as alpha.  Check out this plugin it may help, or save your files as an EXR sequence to allow you to specify how you would like Photoshop to deal with the alpha.  http://www.fnordware.com/superpng/
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Ralph Hill

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I think this is more than a PNG issue. I have tiff files with the extra samples tag set to 2 (unassociated) and NOT 1 (transparency) and Photoshop is both interpreting the alpha as transparency and hiding the alpha channel. By my reading of the TIFF spec this is just plain wrong. And it seems a lot of other applications agree with me. I think the Photoshop team has to start quoting specs and showing tag values to convince me that Photoshop is right and the other apps are wrong.