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How to Create Semi-transparent Images in Paint.net

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This member asked how to create semi-transparent images using Paint.net. I demonstrate how to create an image, paint a layer and adjust it’s transparency. Then we save the image as a transparent .png.

Video Transcript

But I’m going to start off with a question that was asked this morning about how to create transparent or semi-transparent images in Paint.net and then we’ll do some more tutorials on using the NextGen gallery. And then finally, we’ll wrap it up by talking about featured posts and teasers and that sort of stuff.

So let’s just go ahead and dive right in and we’re going to start off with Paint.net. I’m using the latest version which is v3.5.8 and just you know, turn it on, start it up. Here’s our working window. Now semi-transparent image… we want to start the semi-transparent image off by creating a layer. Because right now, we have one layer and that’s this background layer and it’s a solid color of white so that’s not going to be semi-transparent for us. And the background color is not something where we can change the properties. I don’t think… oh actually, I suppose it is. I suppose we could just change the property.

Oh let’s try it that way actually. Instead of creating a new layer, let’s say we want to use this purple color. And so, we’ll grab the paint bucket, we’ve already picked our color here and we just paint the whole thing with that paint bucket. And now we come over to our property icon for this layer and we turn down the opacity. Now, interestingly enough, this opacity is done in numbers of well… 255 so if you wanted to have 25% opacity, you would do 255 times .25 which is 64.75 or 64. So if you wanted this to be in percentages like I’ve talked about in the past, you’d pick 64 for 25%.

And now, you can tell that this is opaque because you can see all these little grey and white checks behind it. That’s sort of the universal symbol of an opaque background and really, all we need to do is cut this down to the size we want and save it as a transparent PNG. So what we’ll do here is we will go to image and canvass size and then we want to stick to 72 dpi instead of 96 and then just do it 20 pixels by 20 pixels. I’ve found that sometimes, if I do it 10 by 10, I get this little checkerboard pattern. I’m not quite sure what the deal is there but I’ve also seen that if I do it 20 by 20, it goes away entirely.

So anyway, we pick our image size of 20 by 20 pixels and we clip this image down to that. Say okay to that and so there’s our little image now. Then all we have to do is save it. So if we select save as or save for that matter and we want to make sure that we pick in this case, the PNG image. A gif image can have transparent elements but it can’t be semi-transparent and that’s what we’re talking about here. So the only option is a PNG so go ahead and pick that PNG and we’ll call this… I usually say things like you can see one up here, red75. So I would probably say purple25 just so that if I can’t see the image itself, I can tell what the level of opacity was and roughly what its color is. So we can say save to that.

And then in this case, I would have it set on auto detect. So if it’s set on auto detect, just go ahead and say save and now we have created that little transparent PNG. If we look in our… let’s see, where did I save that though? Let’s try that again. Save as… where is it saving it as? Users – Rick, My Business Website graphics, okay. So then if we… Rick, My Documents, My Business Website, Graphics and then let’s just look at… in terms of large icons. So there’s our purple25 and it’s pretty small, 186 bytes. So that’s how you create a transparent PNG using Paint.net.

I’m going to take some opportunity in the future to continue to do little things like this like how to use Paint.net because it’s a pretty useful free tool.

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