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TUTORIAL::How to make Transparent BG in SAI

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By whitty-boo   |   Watch
Published: March 8, 2012
© 2012 - 2020 whitty-boo

EDIT 2: Some people have noted that their SAI does not do this. It is because it is not an updated version of SAI that supports transparency. There used to be a journal/ link that I had in the comments which led to a Transparency-supporting SAI, but this link is now down. I do not have a new link; please research and find a transparency-supportive SAI by your own means. 

My first tutorial lolol //fail

A lot of people have been asking me how to do transparent backgrounds in Paint TOOL SAI. There weren't any tutorials on dA that seemed to be as simple as how I did it (there were barely any in the first place so.)

If you have some trouble understanding the summarized pictures, here's some more info on it.

Basically, in SAI everything you draw is automatically "transparent". When you save as JPEG, which doesn't support transparency, everything "transparent" is turned to white, like how you see it when you are drawing in the program.

Adding a new layer underneath and making it a different color allows you to see things you missed, preferably the whites. Let's say that when I added the yellow, Casey's white hoodie turned yellow also. That means I need to go in and color it white or else it will become transparent as well.

Saving it as 32bpp makes all the areas you didn't draw on turn transparent.

Some tutorials say that you have to merge all your layers into 1. That is not true. I could have had 3 or 4 layers on that Casey picture, it doesn't affect transparency.

I hope you guys find this helpfull!
Image size
800x2900px 492.59 KB
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (Windows)
anonymous's avatar
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TheForestGirl321's avatar
TheForestGirl321Hobbyist Digital Artist
FalconeXx  ehpgh]dihfva
StarTrailYT's avatar
StarTrailYTHobbyist Traditional Artist
do you have the link for that updated version? I want it pls ;-;
claritycat17's avatar
claritycat17Student General Artist
I have SAI v2. Does that matter?
atrum-ovis's avatar
atrum-ovisHobbyist Digital Artist
I feel so stupid for never learning this earlier. Thank you!
sundialle's avatar
sundialleHobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
Moshiecake's avatar
MoshiecakeHobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you <3 
ANocturnalBeast's avatar
ANocturnalBeastHobbyist Traditional Artist
DerpyButt23's avatar
DerpyButt23Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fistdantilus's avatar
FistdantilusStudent Digital Artist
Super helpful! Thank you for making this :)
Shrewbiez's avatar
For those who don't get the popup, 
Go to Canvas (3rd button on top) > Background > Transparent(Whatever you want)
MiladyPearl's avatar
MiladyPearlStudent General Artist
omg i love you
dreameroftheblue's avatar
dreameroftheblueProfessional General Artist
thank you!
Rubellise's avatar
RubelliseHobbyist Digital Artist
I don't have a transparent option.
SakuraNights's avatar
SakuraNightsHobbyist Digital Artist
Just saved me a headache and a ton of trouble! Thank you!
MeArtSucksNads's avatar
Yo this helped me so much! I got a commission finished to the T thanks to this!
SlimyParty's avatar
SlimyPartyHobbyist Digital Artist
I recently purchased Doxy's final brush set and I had to get a different crack version of sai. But when I tried to make a transparent BG to my piece it didn't give me an option to choose the format. I don't know if it is a different version of sai that didn't allow the format but I honestly don't know what to do because for every Crack I've tried it doesn't really show my saved brushes. Anyways hope I can get a Reply
Majsalau22's avatar
Majsalau22Student Digital Artist
I tried to save in PNG, but i don't have this window... :(
What did i do wrong?
Ariannedione11's avatar
Ariannedione11Hobbyist General Artist
me too.
LiaraTomuki's avatar
LiaraTomukiHobbyist Filmographer
Sharketter's avatar
profile pic^^ by Sharketter  HALLELUJAH PRAIS JESUS CHRIS
Turtlemun's avatar
TurtlemunProfessional Digital Artist
Thanks for this! I'm swapping to Sai from Gimp, so I'm used to having the option of transparency by default. Used it to get the background off this!
Arin tired by Turtlemun  
Dra-The-Dragon's avatar
Dra-The-DragonHobbyist General Artist
Thank you!!
It helped me clean out the background in this.
No Lineart Boio by Dra-The-Dragon  
WhiteCrystal1st's avatar
WhiteCrystal1stStudent Digital Artist
wow this was the MOST HELPFUL tutorial EVER
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