This is with Gimp 2.4.6 on Windows XP professional.

I loaded an image into gimp and selected various aspects of it and cut away, 
i.e. rendered parts of the background using layer masks.  What I ended up with 
were several layers, each with a different part of the original image, but 
still the same size as the original, i.e. with a subject surrounded by 

I saved each layer out as an individual image using edit>copy and edit>paste as 
new to save each one as a .png file.

These were then loaded into Blender as texture files.

Now for the weird part.  If I turn off "use alpha" in the Blender texture file 
options, the entire, original image appears, it's as if the .png file was saved 
out just like the original picture, without any renders cut from it, etc.

I viewed the images using Windows Explorer in filmstrip mode.  They looked as 
they should.  I opened one of them in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.  They 
looked as they should.

Then, just for the heck of it, I loaded one into Microsoft Paint.

What I got was not a subject against alpha, but the original, completely 
unmodified picture!

What in heck is going on?

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