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Today's Tech Byte: What the heck is an alpha channel?

Today's Tech Byte: What the heck is an alpha channel?

Posted on:October 20, 2023

I was playing around with the Openai API for images. I kept receiving this error:

Invalid input image - format must be in [‘RGB’, ‘RGBA’], got P.

I had no idea what that meant, so like any typical developer, I googled it.

A quick search on google led me to this StackOverflow page.

But what the heck is an alpha channel?

Apparently, The alpha channel is a special channel that handles transparency. When an image has an alpha channel on it, it means you can adjust the image’s opacity levels and make bits translucent or totally see-through.

PNG files can incorporate transparency due to their alpha channel, while JPG files lack this capability. When converting a PNG image to a JPG format, the alpha channel’s information is lost, resulting in any transparent areas being replaced with a solid white background.

And then I was like “oh, I get it now”. the A in RBGA stands for alpha, which means that the image has an alpha channel.

I hope this was helpful. See you in another day of proving the accuracy of the Dunning–Kruger effect.