I have received a PSD that has a semi transparent image in it. I know the image is semitransparent because I see the Photoshop checkered background behind it. When I look at the layers I see one layer and the fill and opacity of that layer is 100%.

When I use the color picker / eye dropper tool the color it finds does not show alpha information. It also shows the "incorrect" color. For example, if I click on a pixel that is nearly completely transparent, it looks like light gray, it shows full red #FF0000 in the color picker window.

If PS is showing me the correct color value but with no transparency how do I get the transparency value?

Backstory: I'm trying to match a color and not able to do it.

  • 1
    Duplicate the layer enough times to make it opaque, and then pick the color.
    – Joonas
    Commented Nov 13, 2014 at 23:50
  • How does that help me find the opacity? I'm hoping that Photoshop would have a way to do it. Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 1:42
  • @1.21gigawatts Joonas' method: duplicate layer until you reach 100% opacity, pick that color. Create new layer with the picked color and reduce opacity until it matches with the one you were looking for(this method only estimates the opacity it cannot match it 100%)
    – borislemke
    Commented Nov 14, 2014 at 11:00
  • its possible to separate the channels and measure the values separately, you can also do this with a script.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 14:41
  • @joojaa I went into the channels panel and I didn't see any values. Do you have a link to a script? Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


Posting my 'findings' if someone else googles their way here.


In Photoshop's Info panel, you can choose 'Opacity' as a readout mode, though it will show up as a percentage and not as a real alpha value.

To enable it, simply open the Info window, choose Panel Options and then set the Second Color Readout mode to Opacity.


If there is a layer without transparency set in the Layers panel (it happens when some transparent layer was merged with any other) there's really no way you can find it's alpha property.

But Joonas makes a good point, you can duplicate the layer X times till it gets 100% opaque and calculate the approximate alpha on your own.

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