I have a grayscale image, and I want to make all the black pixels transparent, keep all the white pixels the same, and make all the grey pixels partially transparent based on how dark they are. In other words, I want to get rid of all the black in this image, but I want it so it looks exactly the same as it did before when it’s on top of a black background. I’ve looked online I found info about how to do this with a layer mask, and it seemed pretty straightforward, but every time I try to do it the result is darker than the original and I’m not sure why. I want it to look exactly the same over a black background as it does now. Can anyone advise me here?

Edit: My question was marked as duplicate, but no matter how much I try the exact instructions in other answers, the result is slightly darker than the original.

Edit 2: I’m going to explain exactly what I’m trying. I have the layer I’m trying to remove black from. It has a transparent background, so I have it in front of a black background layer. I select the entire image and copy merged while only that layer and the black background are visible. Then I create a completely white layer that I put under the layer I want to remover Black from and in front of the white background. I add a layer mask to the new white layer. I go to channels, deselect all and select the mask channel. I paste the image I copied. Then I make the original layer I wanted to remove black from invisible. At this point, I can see the masked white layer in front of the black background, and it looks almost exactly how it should, but slightly darker. When I toggle the visibility of the original layer, it’s clearly slightly brighter. What gives?

The image was not in grayscale mode, but it was truly grayscale. As in, going to image -> adjustments -> black and white, and moving the sliders changes nothing.

Edit3: a play-by-play of what I am trying and the result:

See screen shots here

  • Fill the layar black after yove made it into a a mask. – joojaa Oct 11 '17 at 13:05
  • I see 3 things that you could be doing wrong: 1. Your document is not grayscale but RGB (the mask is grayscale, so there can be a conversion issue). 2. You forget to hide the original image. 3. You have chosen the wrong color for the solid color. – Wolff Oct 11 '17 at 17:07
  • I’m trying but it’s the same. Just added another edit. – Conor Henry Oct 12 '17 at 0:33
  • I think this is still a duplicate unless you can show some sample images as to why it's not a duplicate. Each image is different and introducing transparency where there previously was none is going to make darks appear to be a bit lighter. Its a difference in perception due to opacity, not a color change. And certainly not a color change in a greyscale image. – Scott Oct 12 '17 at 2:05
  • I've added screenshots of the process. – Conor Henry Oct 12 '17 at 3:15

You can set the layer to lighten or screen and put the color on a layer behind it. Unless you need the parts to actually be transparent in order to save it for instance to web use.

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  • What I need is to eventually overlap different versions of the same transparent layer, one for each color channel. – Conor Henry Oct 10 '17 at 22:41
  • My question was marked as duplicate, but no matter how much I try the exact instructions in other answers, the result is slightly darker than the original. – Conor Henry Oct 10 '17 at 22:46

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