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help, change white 100% transparent, 50%gray 50% transparent, black 0% transparent? picture examples

Feb 6, 2013 9:33 PM

How would I take a black and white picture like this:

and convert it so that the varying levels of gray are varying levels of transparency like this:

I need it converted as shown above because I want the background colors of a web page to come through the image.


I cannot simply just use magic wand to delete the white, because I am actually wanting to pass some color though the gray levels. The darker the gray level, the less color that gets through.


So if you took the original and convert it, you would get this type of affect when its sitting over a red color web page:





The above pictures, I have done it as you can see. but those are simple rectangle objects, and what I did was slice the picture up into different layers, one layer for each different amount of gray bar, and then I changed the opacity respectively for each layer.


I cant exactly slice up a picture when there is a greater variety of gray levels in more complex pictures such as this:


So far my searches have not answered the question, most describe how to blend two pictures to get a similar result, but the background has to be blended in photoshop.(I need the blending effect to happen regardless of what color background the webpage uses, so I just need to convert it to transparency levels only.) After hours of wading through material trying to find an answer I am hoping to get some help from the good folks on the forums here, or maybe a link to a tutorial showing how to do it.


What I am needing to do seems as though it should be a fairly simple task if you know your way around photoshop, I have been using photoshop for years, but I have never needed to do something like this before.

  • Noel Carboni
    23,514 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 6, 2013 11:07 PM   in reply to Xanaro

    What you're saying is that you want an image that mixes varying amounts of black into whatever it's displayed over?


    Copy your image, create a new document the same size with a black fill layer, then create a layer mask for that fill layer.  Now target the layer mask, then go to the Channels panel and choose the Mask channel and make it visible.  Now paste your image and Image - Adjust - Invert (because black is transparent).





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