Blender: How to import png image with alpha transparency in cycle.

This blog post is not creative at all. But for data visualization in Blender, if a png image with alpha can be imported as texture, it’s very helpful to take icon in Blender.

Whole procedure is explained on the tutorial video.

You can go into file select window after click file > import > images as planes.  Then select “Diffuse & Transparent” or “Emission & Transparent” on the lower left panel.


That’s all. But if you want to know how compositing nodes for material are constructed, you can do it manually. It’s like below.


The result I made is below. The image textures have transparent spaces, which allow camera to render the background.




I found the more necessary setting at least Blender 2.75. You should turn on “Use Alpha” in Import Options panel when you select file.
import-transparent_use-alphaIf you still have a problem, please left a comment on the post.


  1. my image is never transperent. I follow all your steps and I still have black blocks on a white plane around where my image should be transparent

    • Thank you for the feedback. I tried to import a png image with alpha in Blender 2.75, and I can’t make a plane with transparent material that is similar with your situation.

      I figured out that in the new version you should turn “Use Alpha” when you select file.

      I updated the post to explain this.

      I hope that this will solve your case. If it doesn’t, I am pleased to see more detail about the problem in the comment.

  2. I’m running Blender 2.76 and import images as planes is completely not working. I enabled it in my user preferences, I’ve tried importing in both Blender Render and Cycles, I’ve checked “Use Alpha”, and nothing imports. Help??

    • Hi CL.
      I’m also using Blender2.76(b), so I checked “Import images as planes” add-on, and it worked fine.

      If you reveal more specific information about the problem, like OS, importing setting, image type, I could help you more.
      Anyway, not importing image is weird. If the problem occurs with the same setting as this blog post shows and with other png images, it may be a bug of the add-on, or of core in Blender.

      I found the the similar bug report and solution in Blender 2.76 on stackexchange(“Error attempting to import image as plane in blender internal”
      In this forum, the solution is said like “This was a temporary problem with the Ubuntu launchpad ppa version of Blender. It has now been fixed.”
      If your situation is the same as this, updating Blender version would be the solution.

      If the problem will persist, I think reporting bug to Developers of Blender may be good way to do (

      • Mine is precisely that problem, with that same error message. I’m on Windows 10 attempting to import a PNG with transparency, but I’ve tried multiple image types and none are working and all are giving me that same error message. I thought 2.76b was the most current version… is there a more recent version I need to get? One you would recommend?

        Thanks for your help!

  3. Thank your update about the setting that “Use Alpha” in Import Options panel have to be turn on.

  4. I have selected image as planes and on the left i can see Use Alpha but under Materials settings for cycles i can only see Diffuse option and Emission option, I can’t see Diffuse and Transparency option, Is there anything i need to turn on to enable that option? Thanks

    • Hi shirin. As you said, “Diffuse & Transparent” and “Emission & Transparent” has been omitted in Blender versions since Blender2.76.
      So, if you want to make a plane with transparent and diffuse, Turn on “Use Alpha” in Import Option panel, and select “Diffuse” in Material Settings panel.
      I tested it in Blender 2.77a, and it worked.

        • Hi Luke.
          Pink color is usually rendered when a link of image is broken.
          It occurs many times when you change image’s file name or file path, or change location of blender file after saving the blender file in a folder.

          But there is another possibility. This pink error may be a result from a bug of “Import Image As Planes” add-on itself.
          I received some bug reports in recent blender versions on the comments.

          So, if you have problems even after you test the tips on the post and comments, I recommend you to ask the technical question on Blenderartist technical support page(, or Blender Stack Exchange(
          There are technical savvy on the forums so you maybe get the meaningful answer from the forum.

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