The Alpha Channel strikes again…

On days like these I’m really more than tempted to slap someone and that someone being a rather obnoxious software engineer working for Adobe. Can’t help it, but discussions like this one always make me shake my head with endless doubt and not the slightest bit of understanding. Okay, true, technically, any unlabeled Alpha channel is just an arbitrary channel that can contain any kind of info and intrinsic transparency in some image formats is another, but why for the life of it can Adobe not just give us a clean and simple way of dealing with these matters? I have been doing 3D for 18 years now and I can’t remember any 3D program not using the Alpha channel metaphor to allow for clipping maps, multilayer texturing or object buffers. So why not? I mean, sure, there is an academically correct way to do it, following a specification, but then there is the practical reality of how people use a file. In the particular case the insistance on the first is even more ridiculous, as outside of 3D workflows I never have heard anyone using IFF files. So even if it was technically "bad", it would be the proper thing to do to make the lives of a specific target audience easier. This whole thing is such a painful reminder of the TGA affair in Photoshop 7….

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