I finally had this issue come up again today, and I'd like to track down what's causing it...

Occasionally when saving/exporting a large PNG image (8000+px x 8000+px) with transparency (via photoshop CC) I'll discover some strange layering going on with the exported file...
(Left and right are both the same file) Example 1 Example 2
Initially these files look fine. I only see the issue when Windows Photo Viewer "fails" to load the transparency and decides to just use a white background. (As shown above. Driver/Windows 7 issue? Usually only happens when opening multiple files.) However when uploading them to sites like imgur/facebook, I am presented with the grossly layered version.

So my first question is: What is causing this?
My second question is: How can I fix and avoid this?

  • Does it also happen when you save smaller versions? Might have to do with memory limits (RAM) of your machine.
    – AAGD
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:40
  • @AAGD Did some quick testing, doesn't happen with smaller files (1000-2000 px) but sometimes still occurs in the 3000-5000 range. (300+ ppi) I'm running 16gb of ram and had this issue on another PC as well. Am I just stuck using smaller files?
    – Zedekblue
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:51
  • Do you use "Save for Web..." for saving? Then try via the normal save dialogue. Or save as psd or tif and convert it with another software.
    – AAGD
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:58
  • What are you using these images for, and why do they need to be so large, and why do you need transparency? PNG is an image format designed for the web. Are you trying to use these for print? And if so, why? What's wrong with industry standard file formats like TIFF?
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 30, 2017 at 14:46
  • @BillyKerr Mostly for personal use, nothing specific. I downsize the images when used online. I've always kept high res PNG exports for situations I can't use .psd files. That being said, I didn't realize until now that TIFF was lossless, I'll look into using it instead. AAGD, I've tried both save dialogues, and both produce slightly different artifacts, oddly enough. As suggested by both of you, TIFF seems to be the solution for now, I've done some testing and it works for what I need.
    – Zedekblue
    Oct 30, 2017 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


Adding my own answer to close the question...
As suggested in the comments, if it needs to be .png, reduce the image size. Otherwise just use .tiff.

  • That would be a severe limitation of Ps with rather small image sizes. Is there any official opinion by Adobe? Oct 31, 2017 at 5:40

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