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I've noticed that sometimes when we save an image and open it with Adobe Photoshop, the "white" background turns "black".

For example, when I view this image using Chrome, this is what I see:

enter image description here

However, when I saved the file to my computer ("right-click" → "Save image as..") then open the file with Photoshop CS5, this is what I see:

enter image description here

Why does the "white" part of an image turn "black" after saving?

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Has it actually turned "black", or is that just the background colour shown for transparent areas? – Iakovosian Jun 8 '12 at 13:19
@lakovosian It turned black. If it was transparent, photoshop would display the "white-gray" checker boxes: – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:26
I'm not sure why that happened for you in Photoshop, but the original image you linked to definitely has a transparent background. Perhaps there is another underlying problem still to identify? – Iakovosian Jun 8 '12 at 13:27
@lakovosian Yes, the point of this post is to identify the underlying problem. – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:43
@lakovosian When I "erased" the "black" area, it turns "white-gray": So I guess it means that the "black" area was really "black" and not "transparent". – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:48

4 Answers 4

It's because it has transparency. And different applications may have different default background colors. In Firefox your picture is shown with a dark gray background.

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But why is it that instead of showing it as "transparent" (, photoshop shows it as "black"? – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:28
Perhaps it's a problem with your layer, I don't have Photoshop to make some tests. – Radoo Jun 8 '12 at 13:31
Hmm, I didn't edit the layers at all. I directly opened the saved file with Photoshop and it is showing "black" instead of "transparent" (which it should have). – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:45
stop upvoting this answer, it isn't answering the question... – Pacerier Jan 20 '13 at 6:52
Yes, it is... (>'-')> mhm... Even Kirby agrees. – Radoo Jan 15 at 21:43

It happens mostly with .png files, when there's transparency. As most photo designers and editors know, white background and transparent background are not the same.

When you copy .png photo, you save it in your clipboard. which is only capable of storing .bmp photos.

So it converts the .png to .bmp but the problem is that .bmp does not support alpha channels (transparency). and that's the answer for the question - why it becomes black.

So to load up the .png in Photoshop, you'll need to save the file in your computer and open it at Photoshop as a file.

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But I did saved the file to my computer and opened it directly with Photoshop as a file. It is still showing "black" instead of "transparent". – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:37
@Pacerier Sounds like the issue is with Photoshop. which version are you running? – MasterMastic Jun 8 '12 at 13:40
The version I'm using is CS5 – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:42
@Pacerier Sounds very odd. I've opened it at Photoshop CS6 (which isn't very different) and it opens up perfectly. try to look at the settings etc. maybe the answer is there. I'll try to look up what could be the issue and if I find anything, I'll get back to you. Good luck. – MasterMastic Jun 8 '12 at 13:50
did you manage to find the issue? – Pacerier Jan 20 '13 at 6:51

Yep - the linked picture definitely has a transparent background. Confirmed with GIMP as shown below.

Transparency with GIMP

As for why your transparent background looks black in PhotoShop may be linked to this:
Chose background colour in PhotoShop <-- Hopefully will lead you in the right direction.
I think you just need to change the Application Background colour back to transparent instead of black.

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That link is only applicable for "creating new images". As I described in the post, I directly saved the file to desktop as a .png file, so I didn't create any new file. In other words, I didn't modify the background in anyway, it should have been still "transparent". Yet photoshop is showing it as "black". – Pacerier Jun 8 '12 at 13:40

From what I understand, it's a matter of the PNG using indexed color for transparency... something Photoshop doesn't like to handle.

More on it at the Graphic Design StackExchange.

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