How to add transparent backgrounds to images in Paint.NET [Tip]

Adding layers is a great way to combine images in Paint.NET, which this post covered. It’s all the more effective when you have pictures with transparent backgrounds. You can add transparent backgrounds to images with the AlphaSpace plug-in for Paint.NET.

This is the page that you can save the AlphaSpace ZIP from. Click to save a compressed ZIP. Extract the ZIP to Paint.NET’s Effects folder by right-clicking it and selecting Extract All. Then launch Paint.NET, click Effects and AlphaSpace to open the plug-in’s window below.

transparent image2

Of course, you’ll also need to open an image to add the transparent background to. AlphaSpace generally works best on pictures that have clear black or white backgrounds. When you’ve opened a suitable picture, select the Black or White radio buttons. Then drag the Tolerance bar on AlphaSpace window. Drag it so that all the background becomes transparent but the primary objects in the picture remain intact as shown below.


Press OK to close the window. Next, you’ll need to save the image as a pdn to combine it with layers. Click File > Save As and then select the Save as type drop-down list. Select Paint.NET (*.pdn) from there. Then press the Save button.

Now when you open that image it will have a transparent background. You can combine it with other pictures that have transparent backgrounds with layers. The shot below includes three images, converted to transparent backgrounds, combined into one with layers.

transparent image

So with the AlphaSpace plug-in you can now add transparent backgrounds to your pictures. The plug-in adds great functionality to Paint.NET. However, you probably won’t be able to effectively add transparency to all your images with this extension unless they have clear black or white backgrounds.

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  1. MatthewA

    “When removing the background, sometimes, part of the picture also gets removed.”

    The extension doesn’t always work so well if the images don’t have clear white or black backgrounds.

  2. RAK_da_Pira

    You can also make the background transparent by using the ‘Magic Wand’ tool (found under the ‘Tool’ menu). Load your image, start the ‘Magic Wand’ tool, which has two controls – Contiguous or Global and Tolerance. Click an area of the image which you would like to make transparent, check that the selection is the area you want to make transparent (adjust using Contiguous/Global toggle and/or Tolerance), once you’re satisfied, hit , and the area(s) selected by the ‘Magic Wand’ tool become transparent. No need to download a plug-in. Does the AlphaSpace plug in do any more than is possible with ‘Magic Wand’? Not as far as I can glean from Matthew’s tip.

  3. Drvajra

    Mathew, thank you so much for these tuts. I find them very useful. I have one problem. When removing the background, sometimes, part of the picture also gets removed. I can adjust it to some extent by Tolerance, but it would be great if there would a a way to mark the areas to ‘keep’, like in the Microsoft Power Point. Is there a way to do it in PaintNet? Thank you.