enter image description here

Original Image in Photoshop With Black layer underneath With white layer underneath

This image was put up by the NHL on Twitter. In the feed this is the image, when you click on it, a different one pops up. When you open it in Photoshop, the whites are very bold and the greys/blacks are pretty transparent. I was wondering how this is done.

  • Can you link the Twitter post?
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:53
  • I've read this a few times now and I'm still not really sure what you're describing. A PNG is not an adaptive object and it can't show two different colors, depending on its background, so I have no idea what kind of behavior you are referring to.
    – Manly
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:55
  • twitter.com/NHL/status/565570032630239232/photo/1
    – kobe
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 14:59
  • This question has been asked here before, also because an image posted in Twitter used this trick. I can't find the old question, though.
    – Vincent
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:09
  • 1
    This trick because twitter is displaying the popped image in an image viewer that have black background. In Photoshop just paint a black layer underneath the png you garbed from twitter and the trick will reveal.
    – hsawires
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:15

3 Answers 3


Why it occurs is answered here:

Why does this PNG image on twitter look different when clicked?

Just looking at the images without trying myself it appears the How is by having inside the circle blacks present and whites are transparent. Outside of the circle whites are present and blacks are transparent.

  • thanks for the link, but that does not really help me on the photoshop end of my question. I am curious as to what they did in photoshop.
    – kobe
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:29
  • Third paragraph answers that for you @liam
    – Ryan
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 15:31

In the original image, the player image is actually a layer mask on a solid white layer over top of the team logo; the darker the image tone, the more transparent it will be - but there's nothing there that isn't white with differing degrees of transparency. The logo itself is black, so against a white background you only see the logo and whatever part of the player image is over top of it. Flatten the image to make a PNG out of it and whatever was overlaying the logo becomes mixed in with it, and whatever was outside of the logo remains transparent white.

White is not visible against white, no matter how solid or transparent it is. Put a black background behind the image, and the logo disappears (black over black is no more successful than white over white), and all you're left with is the white that was originally laid over the logo plus the white that exists outside of the logo.

  • thanks stan. this helps, but I was wondering if you could dumb this done for me a little bit. I am somewhat new to photoshop
    – kobe
    Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 16:00
  • All you need to do is grab an image, preferably a good black-and-white conversion, although colour will work too if you bump up the contrast since masks are automatically greyscale, and paste it into a layer mask you create on a solid white layer that lives above your black logo (or other shape). It really doesn't get any easier. Then save as a PNG with full transparency. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 18:07

They've used the normal image data as a mask for the part of the image outside of the Sabres' logo and full opacity inside the logo. Here's the alpha data:

Alpha channel

Here's the greyscale image to which that mask is applied:

enter image description here

If you use the first image as a layer mask for the second, you can recreate the effect. As other users have mentioned, this works because Twitter's lightbox uses a black background.

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