PWx- alpha channel, shadow tip

Two things I recently stumbled across that might be helpful:
1) PWx renders an alpha cahnnel - its been there at least since 2005.
Any render to a TIFF against the plain background has an alpha channel.
I did find that I had to go to layers>matting>defringe in photoshop to
remove some scraps of the background color around edges of solid
objects, but the translucent stuff looked great.
2) It used to be hard to do this sort of rendering (look at
formatting link
You need a floor for the shadow but then you have to light the floor
or do something else to keep it pure white - and all that extra light
would compromise your prodcut rendering.
Since at least 2005 we can make our floor 'studio plastic' and change
the color to white (to make it completely dissapear - translucent
materials need to to be white to be truly clear). 'Studio plastic' will
show a shadow but nothing else, so you can render against the plain
white background to achieve the shadow in the sample image.
Of coruse the next thing to try is the shadow with the alpha channel -
could be handy if it works.
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Fur de unitiated, what is the alpha channel?
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Gee, Paul, How do I phrase this...
Some images can be transparent or have transparent parts so when you go into an image editor you can lay the transparent image on top of another one and see the bottom one through the top one. So lets say I render an image of a magnifying glass - with an alpha channel the image knows that the center of the magnifying glass is see-through. Parts of the glass, like where there are reflections, will be just kinda see through.
This helps with compositing images.
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