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if you load it with :

imread({myFile}, CV_LOAD_IMAGE_COLOR)

you'll force it to return a 3 channel rgb (CV_8UC3) Mat, if it had alpha, it gets discarded already, if it was grey - you get a 3chanel grayscale img.


will return either a 1, 3, or 4 channel img, depending on the file. so you will have to check it:

if ( img.channels() = 3 ) 
// process rgb...