[gs-devel] Yet another problem converting transparent PDF to transparent PNG
ansgar.simon at brandad-systems.de
Thu Aug 11 10:57:32 UTC 2011
Thank you for your fast response!
First of all I would be very happy if you''ll be able to invest more time
in enhancing the pngalpha-device, ‘cause of a few more problems with
transparency I encountered in the past. Just say “transparence gradients”.
But let's get back to how we generate the PDF.
At the beginning our process is as follows:
We convert a TIF automatically with the help of PhotoShop in a PDF.
Here’s a brief description of our workflow:
• data input -> .TIF (grayscale or bitmap, see
• open the file with Photoshop
• convert into grayscale (coherent starting point)
• convert to bitmap (only monochrome pixels)
• remove white background
• crop unnecessary content
• finished (see http://www.webknack.de/ghostscript/sample.pdf)
Do you recognize any errors or problems?
Your idea you mentioned above does not work unfortunately,
because I didn’t find a way to get an ImageMask on a 1 bit graphic,
with PhotoShop. If you thought of a LayerMask, the outgoing was the same
-> pngaplha drops back to white, not to transparency (see
(We usually use the PDFs wrapping it 1:1 into other PDFs by using the
In this process there are now problems with transparency at all.
But for screen view we need to get a transparent PNG out of the PDF.)
Chris Liddell wrote:
> You can't - it's that simple.
> Note that there is really no such thing as a "transparent PDF", rather
> there are PDF files which contain transparency operations. The PDF
> imaging model is defined as rendering to an opaque back drop.
> Having said that, the pngalpha device bends that slightly, but there is
> an incompatibility between Ghostscript's implementation of PDF
> transparency and pngalpha's implementation which means that "bending" of
> the imaging model doesn't work.
> Basically, each transparency group (including its backdrop) becomes a
> single marking operation, so ultimately, the page group is the final
> marking operation which, by implication, covers the entire page.
> The marking operation representing the entire page group is what the
> pngalpha device receives and writes to the output file.
> Having said that, recent internal changes in Ghostscript should mean
> that the "infrastructure" is in place to to have pngalpha work as you
> want, but no time has been available (or looks like being available for
> a while) to have the device take advantage of it.
> BTW, I could find no way to get Acrobat to emit a png with a transparent
> backdrop - the png Acrobat 9.x produces for me looks like the one
> Ghostscript currently produces, so from that point of view, we currently
> do match the de-facto PDF benchmark.
> For what it's worth, a much better way to represent what you are trying
> to create with that file would be to make your image a monochrome (1
> bit) image, and draw it as an imagemask (not using PDF transparency at
> all) - the rendering will be quicker, and you should get the png with
> transparency backdrop that you want.
> On 02/08/11 08:46, ansgar wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I'm struggling with a imo correct transparent PDF (works pretty in
>> PhotoShop...) converting in a hopefully equally transparent PNG, but the
>> PNG-background still remains white.
>> With "Dr. Googles" help i tripped over some interesting workarounds in
>> to convert the white background after GhostScript into real transparency
>> with ImageMagik. But sadly those workarounds don't work for me, 'cause of
>> ImageMagik dully converts all white pixels into transparency, whether
>> formerly transparent in PDF or not.
>> So, I'm asking for help to convert my PDF effectively only with
>> into a transparent PNG.
>> The GhostScript command I'm using is:
>> gs -dBATCH -dNOPAUSE -sDEVICE=pngalpha -dFirstPage=1 -dLastPage=1 -r72x72
>> -dTextAlphaBits=4 -dGraphicsAlphaBits=4 -dUseCIEColor
>> -sOutputFile=output.png input.pdf
>> My input.PDF is located at:
>> The output.PNG can be seen here:
>> See also, proof of white background:
>> How can i tell GhostScript to handle the transparency correct??
>> Thanks in advance for all your help!
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> gs-devel at ghostscript.com
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