I'm trying to save my black and white drawings as PNG 24 files with all the white parts transparent. I did it successfully with few of my drawings with the option "save for web"

However today I failed to reproduce it. I always end up with no transparency as you can see on my screenshot. Anyone can explain me the reasons why ?

enter image description here

  • There doesn't appear to be any transparency in the actual file other than that small strip across the top (which is transparent in the Save For Web window). Using Save for Wed to save as a PNG doesn't create transparency, it merely saves existing transparency in the file.
    – Scott
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 14:59
  • Yep I wanted to put that small transparent strip in evidence to show you that the drawing part was not transparent. Howerver, I do not understand how I managed to did it sucessfully for other drawings ? I basically scanned my drawings, transformed to tif files, then the magic worked quite well on Photoshop. How did I manage to make my white parts transparent ?
    – Caligraphy
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 15:09

2 Answers 2


The example you posted shows the image has no transparency. This can be seen in the layers panel. Adding a transparent layer underneath your image layer will not create any transparency. Save for Web won't fix it either. Instead, you need to add a mask to your drawing to mask out the white background to make it transparent.

There are several ways this could be done. You can try this very basic method which will work for most black and white drawings:

  1. Open the Channels panel, Ctrl+click on the RGB channel to load it as a selection. If the image is in Grayscale mode, do it on the Gray channel - there will only be one channel anyway. If in CMYK mode do it on the CMYK channel.

  2. Do Shift+Ctrl+I to Invert the selection (or Select > Invert)

  3. Go back into the Layers panel, make sure the layer is selected by clicking on it, and hit the Layer Mask icon at the bottom

  4. Do Ctrl+D to deselect everything (or Select > Deselect)


enter image description here

  1. Sometimes this will leave little white pixels around the edge. You can fix that easily by selecting the image thumbnail in the layers panel. Then do Edit > Fill and choose Black as the fill colour.

enter image description here

Now you should be able to export as PNG with transparency

  • In the case of the image in the question (high contrast, black and white drawing), the op could simply use the image itself as the mask (paste the image into the mask). The layer itself can then be a solid black flood-fill. I do this with logos to get a specific swatch match sometimes. As you know, mask can be thought of as a grayscale (aka black & white) image
    – Yorik
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 14:29
  • @Yorik Yes I know, but there are endless variations on this. Not going to write about them all here. Feel free to answer this yourself with other techniques.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 17:03
  • it is basically this (your) technique with the minor change that the image is simply pasted into the mask instead of selected.
    – Yorik
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 17:28
  • Thank you for the solution but in my case certain part of my drawing were blured and it was not the result I expected
    – Caligraphy
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 13:46

PS always gives you different ways to do something. You can also use blending options by double clicking on your artwork layer and, using the Blend if sliders, eliminate the white background:

enter image description here

You can add a color fill layer below to check your work but before you save, make sure you turn it off or delete it. Then save as png with transparency.

  • This is the best solution suitable for my needs, thanks.
    – Caligraphy
    Commented Aug 4, 2021 at 13:47

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