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Here's an example of a picture with just RGB:

moonm.jpg

This is it's Alpha layer:

moonalpha.jpg

In a game like TF2 there are sprays which are imported pictures you can put onto the walls, and it reads alpha layers. A normal untouched alpha layer is all white, showing the whole thing ingame. But if there's black in it, it doesn't appear, giving it a transparent look.

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Ahh, you're asking about adjustment layers. That's actually in the popular feature requests, and something Rick wants to implement.

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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Yup. We're hoping the ponies will bring them in v4.0. :-)

 

The Doctor: There was a goblin, or a trickster, or a warrior... A nameless, terrible thing, soaked in the blood of a billion galaxies. The most feared being in all the cosmos. And nothing could stop it, or hold it, or reason with it. One day it would just drop out of the sky and tear down your world.
Amy: But how did it end up in there?
The Doctor: You know fairy tales. A good wizard tricked it.
River Song: I hate good wizards in fairy tales; they always turn out to be him.

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Paint.NET does have full Alpha-channel support, but it does not have a native way to edit the Alpha channel directly. It can, however, edit the layer's Alpha channel with the help of certain plugins, such as the Alpha Mask Importer (which it seems pyro beat me to :P).

Even if you'd rather have direct control, though, you still don't necessarily have to buy anything - check out a program called The GIMP. It's user interface is a bit messy, but it does have full support for individual channel editing.

I am not a mechanism, I am part of the resistance;

I am an organism, an animal, a creature, I am a beast.

~ Becoming the Archetype

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