It's because the browser isn't copying the alpha channel onto the clipboard (or the OS doesn't support it), so when you paste in FW, all it sees is opaque black where there was transparency in the original image. When you import the image, FW gets access to the actual file on disk and can see the alpha channel in the png.
Note that on Windows, you can drag an image from IE directly into FW (instead of copy/paste) and maintain the transparency, even from IE6, which doesn't even correctly render transparent PNGs. I think in this case FW gets access to the image file in the browser cache, so it can see the transparency. Copying and pasting the image from IE6, on the other hand, results in turning the transparent pixels grey.
So the bottom line is: don't copy images from browsers if you want to maintain transparency.
Thanks for the reply.
I tried to drop and drag from a few different browsers after reading your reply.
This is what I found.
FireFox 3.6.10 lets me drag and drop, but does not keep the transparent background.
IE 8 does not let me drop and drag into Fireworks CS5
Safari lets me drag and drop into Fireworks and it keeps the transparent background.
Google Chrome lets me drag and drop into Fireworks CS5, but the resaults are just odd. No image, but there seems to be something that got dragged over. I just can't make out what it is.
If it makes any difference I'm running win 7 64 bit system.
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For me, Chrome pastes the image's URL when you drag and drop, which isn't terribly useful. Sounds like IE8 is less helpful than IE6 (though possibly it has something to do with UAC on Vista vs. XP).
I have found that I can drag and drop a image from FireFox to my desktop and from my desktop into Fireworks.
Doing it this way it keeps the transperant background.
Maybe a pain if you have a smaller screen, but with duel monitors it's kind of a nice way to do it.
Thanks for the help,
Was watching a video on lyda.com and they mentioned your name and web site.
lynda.com>Fireworks CS5: Rapid Prototyping>2. Wireframing>Adding greeked text
Yup, John does great stuff, and I give credit where credit is due.
Love your Lynda.com video's, very helpful!
Thanks very much!
Thanks for the shout out, Jim!
Well earned, John.