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I have a color image detailing a humanoid skin texture. On this texture I have transparent sections where clothing would be. The edges of these transparent cutouts are smoothed/feathered into the colored area around it (the alpha feathers into the colored area gradually moving from 0% to 100% opaque).

I am trying to eliminate the color, turning it white while keeping all the transparency detail in the image intact. This way I can export and use the result as a mask in a separate application.

What would be the best way to go about this? My thoughts were to somehow copy all the alpha channel information from my layer and paste it into a completely opaque white layer? Can't seem to figure out how to do that without obliterating the smoothed/feathered alpha detail.

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It is hard to say without seeing the actual image- but try this:

First off make a duplicate layer (to preserve the original) and turn off visibility of original layer.

Go to Image> Mode> Grayscale (to convert to grayscale)- select Do Not Flatten to preserve Layers

Open the Channels Panel and Command + Click on image thumbnail- this will make a selection of your image

Back in Layers Panel click on Create New Layer in bottom right of Layer panel to create a new blank layer

Turn off the visibility of the Grayscale Layer so you are only seeing the new Layer

Click on the Make Mask Icon at bottom of layers Panel

Make sure you have default foreground/ background colors set (Command + D)

Then hit Command + Backspace to Fill new layer with white (the background color)

Save this Layer in the format you prefer. Making the image Grayscale will preserve your transparency with shades of gray ranging between the pure black and pure white

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