FAQ:Why am I losing alpha channels in targas?


PS 7 no longer opens the fourth channel in a Targa file as an alpha channel. It loads the fourth channel as transparency, which is the correct method according to the targa file specification. The data in the fourth channel is unchanged, and still available, but appears in a different place and is used slightly differently.

Also in PS 7, alpha channels are not saved with Targa - transparency is saved instead.

If your workflow requires you to use an arbitrary alpha channel instead of transparency, you can download an alpha channel version of the targa plug-in from here:


It is located in the Photoshop folder>Plug Ins>File Format>Targa.


To maintain your alpha channel I think you have to save as 32bit then it will save the alpha information any other format and PS loses it


The above link to the targa plugin is for Macintosh. I found the Windows version here:

Thanks for posting that! Hopefully save me some headaches.

Question: Is there a PNG version, too? Tried to find it, but my sleep deprived mind…


Is there a PNG version, too? USE FIRWORKS,IT CAN OUTPUT PING.


If you are using the PC version make sure you have the lastest update this will fix the problem. Make sure to save as 32 bit and click the check box for alpha channel in the save window which should be activated affter your update to 7.1



This prob is fixed on both CS and CS2 versions…


Annoyingly, the Targa spec doesn’t say how alpha should be handled, and about half the apps in the world use opacity and the other transparency, premultiplied or postmultiplied… I’ve heard programmers sigh bitterly over it with my own ears, and I don’t blame them for one second! Targa is an evil format and I wish it would go away.

Currently PS has trickery inside itself to keep these various sorts of channel usage straight, and distinguishes between different alpha channel types. CS2 is a Good Thing.


I am not satisfied in that area of CS2. Every other work with alphas is somehow fu… up. Doesn’t matter how I save it. Most often Tiff and still crap. I often have to go to Gimp to apply a proper alpha that works.
I have been fighting this since release 7. It’s not there and then it’s back. I wish Adobe would make it damn mind.


Hey For those of you running a version of photoshop and wished it could handle Targa files alpha transparency some other way heres an easy fix

navigate to : C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 7.0\Plug-Ins\File Formats

inside is a “Targa.8BI” file


if you want Targas to open with the transparancy then replace this with the same “Targa.8BI” from PS 7.0

Sorry but I have no way to upload my plug-in but mabey some one else would be kind enough

this worked for me so good luck and keep drawing


Hey guys,

Sorry to be dense here, but i recently moved to CS2 from Photoshop7. my usual workflow for saving alphas in targas is to take advantage of photoshop saving the transparency as the alpha channel. this has worked well, as i can just hit ‘save as’ and 32 bit. unfortunately, since moving to CS2, this has stopped working. photoshop no longer saves the transparency as an alpha. i’m not sure what setting has to be on in order to carry on the transparency -> alpha workflow… or if this is even still possible.

unfortunately, when i ctl+click on my layers to create a selection to create an alpha channel from manually (channels -> create from selection) it does not select my layer effects (drop shadows, stroke, etc…) and since i regularly go back to make edits/changes to text layers, flattening my layers is not an option.

the help file was not.


Ummm… it’s been a while since I’ve used 7, but didn’t they have a 7.01 update that fixed targa alpha channels?


sorry, i’m using CS2 now, and i’m trying to figure out how to save targas out using the transparancy as an alpha channel like i did in PS7…

manually creating alpha channels from selection sets looses layer styles, and is an extra step in a quick turn around workflow.


hey there DCliff

first of do you still have access to a computer that DOES save the TGA. files the way you want (using Transparancy to create an alpha)


yes, i do have access to a computer with photoshop 7 still installed.

can i transfer the targa plugin?



But first save your TGA plug in on the CS Computer Make a folder outside of your PHOTOSHOP CS folder and callit “Alpha TARGA plugin” then move the CS targa plugin thats not working for you in to this folder

that plugin is found here C://program files/adobe/Photoshop CS/(after this my memory gets a bit foggy, look for a folder called file format or something like that)

inside is a file called “Targa.8BI”


Oh man. I sped-read through your post. Sorry about that!


xott, that worked perfectly, a huge thanks!

Nanogator, no problems, thanks for helping.

Thanks again, all.


After that Creat another folder in the same area that you created the “Alpha Targa Plugin”
but name it “TransparancyTarga Plugin” then copy the “Targa.8BI” [color=white]from the Computer that is using Photoshop 7 ( it is in roughly the same area that the alpha targa plugin was from theother computer)

lastly copy the [/color]“Targa.8BI” [color=white]file in your [/color]“TransparancyTarga Plugin” folder in to Photoshop CS’s plugin folder and restart Photoshop

any question please ask


The PNGOUT Plug-in for Photoshop has very broad support for PNG transparency, including indexed PNG with 256 levels of transparency. It supports Photoshop 7 and later.


hi there!

vimas web image guru 5.5 is a nice plugin for photoshop, too.
it supports all png-functions and other formats as well!

a free trial is available.