Need to adjust a .psd image with transparency in LR. No alpha in LR.

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New Member
Feb 24, 2011

Im new to lightroom and have a situation that id like help on.

I have this .psd file. Nothing but a simple portrait pic which i worked very intensively in photoshop to seperate from the studio backdrop (It was a muddy muticoloured background so couldn't do a color selection removal). This is going to be used in a website so i need the headshot with the backdrop as transparent.

No i wanted to improve the image in Lightroom. Some skin smoothening and basic corrections.

When i import the psd into lightroom. It shows with the backdrop. I guess it flattened or will not support transparency ? I tried as a png but it doesnt import.

With me being LR naive, i can only think of bringing in the original jpg into LR, then doing the color adjustments. Then opening the corrected version in PShop and then repeating the marquee cutting all over.

So how would you suggest bringing in this pic where i can clean up the image a bit but without having to do all the image cutting out work all over again ?

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Lightroom doesn't support transparancy. At least, not in it's library and develop module (you can use partially transparent pictures saved as PNG 24 from Photoshop as Identity Plates to create all kinds of layout effects).

The idea of using Lightroom is to do tasks like basic image correction first, and then send off the image to Photoshop for further treatment with tools that don't exist in Lightroom (e.g. tools to make layer masks and extract things from backgrounds).

So, I'd adopt that logic in the future. As for the current situation, what I'd do is the following: make a virtual copy of the current image, process it and do the corrections you want to apply (don't pay attention to the background), drag it over as a layer to the other Photoshop document and use the layer mask you already made there to separate it from the background without re-making the intricate layer mask...

Thanks a lot for that idea. While i grasp the concept i dont know how to convert the existing cutout image (without background) into a mask and how to bring it onto the new LR edited image as a mask. Can you give me a few hints ? Does it involve playing with levels or something on the orginal cutout to make it black like an alpha layer ?

Thanks in advance.
Hi, that should be done in Photoshop: there's no way to do so in LR...
So, you'd take your LR Edited image and send it to PS with CMD-E / Ctrl-E
Then in PS, do Ctrl/Cmd-A to select all pixels, select the photoshop document where you already made the mask and paste the contents as a new layer. Then, load the selection of the cutout you made in that document (you can do so by Ctrl/Cmd-Clicking on the layer that has the transparency). Select the edited layer you just pasted in and hit the add new layer mask button at the bottom of the layer palette. If it's necessary, invert the mask...
Hope this makes sense...

Im now upto the stage where i have a color corrected image in a new psd project. I dragged from the older psd the mask which is just the alpha black and the rest transparent. I dropped it on top of the new project image. But i dont know what to do further. It just becomes a black outer fill which surrounds the image but nothing more. Also its not a perfect mask. Even though i added a feather then used shrink to shrink the selection when making the mask. It doesnt seem too perfect.

I clicked add a layer mask where the alpha image got a mask icon attached next to it on the layers list but still i dont see any difference. And i dont know how to invert the mask. I do know the invert command in the adjust image properties. But i dont know if thats the way to rightly invert the mask.

Ok, from what I gather you have the corrected image and on top of that, in a layer, you have the original mask, but not as a mask but as an actual layer. So partly black, partly transparent. That's not a 100% what I meant in my previous post, but this can work, too...
Ctrl-Click on that layer with the black & transparency to load the transparent pixels as a selection.
Then, hide the visibility of that layer and select the layer underneath (the corrected image). If it's a Background layer, double click on it to make it editable.
Option click on the new layer mask icon at the bottom of the layer palette (the option-part will automatically invert the mask).
You should now see the person's face on a transparent background.
You can then drag the new background you want to use from the other picture and drag it as a layer underneath this, so the face will wind up on it's new background.
What I actually meant in my previous post, was something similar to this, but dragging the corrected picture over to the one where you already have the new background and the layer mask... That would have been somewhat easier. Hope this makes sense...

Thanks for explaining. I didnt underestand the part about Option Clicking. Im using windows xp pro. Dont know if that is some other OS based.

However i tried along the lines you mentioned and searched youtube for some "using masks in ps" videos helped to follow your instructions better and do it. But the end result wasnt perfect. It had a slight white edge to the whole pic after applying the mask.

The original i had brought in from LR had a white background flattened with the image. I guess i should have used a black background. Because on the website the image was going to be overlaid on black. But still i cant figure out how to get an exact precise cut. I think the original image had a softcut in certain areas such as hair. Ofcourse to look a little natural. Then since it was on white. The slight feather area was inclusively cut with the mask. But the feather shows the white thru slightly.

As i mentioned i should have used a black backed image to work on in LR. Then brought that into PS and used the mask on it to cut. The feathered edges would have only showed the black back and hence been unnoticeable.

I think in the future id first get my pics thru LR. Then export out in highest quality and then import into PS and start cutting work etc.

Thanks for helping so far.:)
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