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transparency – Android transparent canvas (surfaceview)

Posted by: admin June 15, 2020 Leave a comment


I’ve got a panel which is placed on top of another view via a relativelayout.

I would like to give this panel a transparent background, but didn’t find the correct way to do this after searching for some hours. When I set the alpha back to 0 I end up with a black background.

Hopefully someone here can help me with this.

Thanks a lot!

The panel is drawn via this code:

    import android.content.Context;
    import android.graphics.Canvas;
    import android.graphics.Paint;
    import android.util.AttributeSet;
    import android.view.SurfaceHolder;
    import android.view.SurfaceView;

    public class Panel extends SurfaceView implements SurfaceHolder.Callback {

    private ViewThread mThread;

    Paint paint = new Paint();

    public Panel(Context context, AttributeSet attributeSet) {
        super(context, attributeSet);
        mThread = new ViewThread(this);

    public void doDraw(Canvas canvas) {
        canvas.drawARGB(50, 120, 120, 120);

        paint.setARGB(255, 255, 0, 0);

        int CanvasHeight = canvas.getHeight();
        int CanvasWidth  = canvas.getWidth();

        canvas.drawLine(LeftStartX, LeftStartY, StopX, StopY, paint);

    public void updateDrawing(float LB, float RB, float BD, float AH, float AD ){
        Left = LB;
        Right = RB;
        Distance = BD;
        AHeight = AH;
        ADistance = AD;

    public void surfaceChanged(SurfaceHolder holder, int format, int width, int height) {}

    public void surfaceCreated(SurfaceHolder holder) {
        if (!mThread.isAlive()) {
            mThread = new ViewThread(this);

    public void surfaceDestroyed(SurfaceHolder holder) {
        if (mThread.isAlive()) {
How to&Answers:

In the constructor:


After holder.addCallback(this):


At the beginning of drawing:

canvas.drawColor(Color.TRANSPARENT, PorterDuff.Mode.CLEAR);


I copied the solution from the same question: how to make surfaceview transparent and got it to work with a setup similar to yours.

The critical piece for me was the ‘setZOrderOnTop(true)’ setting, which I foolishly ignored on the first pass. I put that in the constructor, and set my pixel format to RGBA_8888 inside surfaceCreated.

At this point, the background from the top-level layout was visible.


Try this:



After searching with keyword surfaceview instead of canvas iI found out that it isn’t possible. For more information see: how to make surfaceview transparent

Because the background of the canvas is static I’ve gave it the exact same background. Now it looks like it is transparent 🙂

    Bitmap bg = BitmapFactory.decodeResource(getResources(), R.drawable.background_panel_800_480);
    canvas.drawBitmap(bg, 0, 0, null);