I have an aerial scene in jpeg2000 Format in which I would like the black and white areas to be transparent:


In QGIS I can set transparent pixels in the layer properties by simply adding colors picked from the map to the transparency percentage I desire:


In ArcGIS Desktop (10.6) at first sight in the layer properties I can only define one color (here: either black or white) that is displayed transparent:


Is there an Option in ArcGIS Desktop to display more than one color transparent?

I do not have the Spatial Analyst extension licensed.

  • 2
    If you have a shapefile boundary of the the study area, you can use it to clip the raster based on the shapefile boundary, check the clipping_geometry: desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/tools/data-management-toolbox/…
    – ahmadhanb
    Jul 25, 2018 at 7:50
  • This might be an Option, have to seek for the boundary... last line of defense would be creating such boundary be hand, but unfortunatly the extent is far bigger than shown in the image... Jul 25, 2018 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


If you have only two sets of values (e.g. [255,255,255] and [0,0,0]) you can use one of them as transparent background value, and the second one as transparent no data value. Defining NoData values can be done in ArcCatalog (right click on the raster > properties > Edit NoData values) without the Spatial Analyst extension. enter image description here

If you have more values or your values are not only "NoData", then you would need a spatial analyst licence to define multiple values as "NoData" with some additionnal rules (e.g. using Setnull). On the fly, this can also be done properly using the "masking function" (available in the image analysis window). enter image description here Without Spatial analyst, I suggest you to manipulate your dataset in another software (e.g. GDAL) to set all values to a single value or to build a mask that you can use later on in ArcGIS.


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