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I am looking at printing some of my images on a metal plate, and I thought it would be nice to include some transparent parts in the image so that the bare metal is showing. Has anyone tried this before? I would like to know how I can force parts of the image to be transparent.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I have contacted Pixum in Germany, and got the following response: "Unfortunately that is not possible, we only have the option to print on the full surface. A transparent part of an image will therefore just become white." I am planning to check with a smaller printer who does more manually later, perhaps there are more possibilities for them. \$\endgroup\$
    – Orbit
    Sep 29, 2020 at 7:39

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Whether single-colour [black & white] or 4 or more colour, anything white or even very light-coloured on screen or paper will be 'metal' once printed.

It would be unusual for a photo-print process to use a white ink without specifying; but check with your supplier to be certain.
Most print processes tend to rely on the material being printed on to provide the 'white' in any image. The only common time this isn't always true is for such as t-shirt/fabric printing, where the underlying colour is not expected to be always white.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Most commercial printers that print on actual metals (such as aluminum), as opposed to "metallic" paper, do, in fact, use white ink pigments. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 13, 2020 at 23:40
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It all depends upon the process the printer uses. The best thing to do is to check with the entity who is actually going to be printing on the metal.

What should usually work with most providers of metal prints:

Rather than using JPEG, use a PNG with a transparent background or base. Place the parts of an image you want to be printed in a layer on top of the transparent base layer. You can do this with photo manipulation applications such as Photoshop or Gimp by using the selection tools to create a mask and only copy the parts you want to the layer of your PNG.

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