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PNG8 is a great compressed format when we don't really need semi-transparency. Often an asset will have semi-transparency data that we're happy to lose in the export process, however Photoshop defaults a white background behind the semi-transparent pixels. This causes problems if the png is not going to be displayed on a white page:

Transparent zombie Shows up as: Crappy zombie

Where it would be convenient to export something like:

Slightly better

Is there a way to base the computed color of the semi-transparent pixels off a value other than white?

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    Found the answer to this about 20 seconds after posting: just change the matte color – RSG Jan 8 '13 at 4:17
  • You should add that as an answer and then mark it as correct. – Lèse majesté Jan 8 '13 at 4:50
  • I guess there's a 2 day waiting limit to prevent pumping up my own score :) – RSG Jan 8 '13 at 7:08
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Found the answer to this about 20 seconds after posting: just change the matte color: Change the Matte Color

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You can't.

When output from Photoshop's "Save for Web" feature, PNG-8 uses indexed transparency, like a GIF. You can get close by setting the Matte color to a similar color to the background your graphic will be on, but it won't be an actual Alpha-Transparency output. (You will still see the halo of anti-aliased pixels if you put the graphic on a background of a different color.)

Fireworks, however, does allow you to do alpha-transparency in an 8-Bit PNG, although the partially transparent pixels will render as COMPLETELY transparent in older browsers that don't support alpha transparency (IE 6).

24 and 32-Bit PNGs support true alpha transparency...and every browser more modern that IE6 supports them, so unless you need to support IE6, you can use them safely. They also have better/smoother anti-aliasing, because they don't use indexing, so the transition is typically smoother.

  • Thanks for the extra info. My question was specifically about getting a good color match for indexed transparency, I guess I just didn't know the proper terminology :) – RSG Jan 9 '13 at 23:42
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    It's also possible to save a PNG24 from Photoshop (24bit RGB with 8bit alpha) and use ImageAlpha to convert that to PNG8 with 8bit alpha. pngmini.com – Marc Edwards Jan 10 '13 at 3:32
  • Thanks for the great resource. PNGMini looks like a great tool. – Jon Sandruck Jan 15 '13 at 14:55

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