Working with transparency

Transparency effects are great for highlights, shading and shadows, and simulating “rendered” realism. They can make the critical difference between flat-looking publications and publications with depth and snap. PagePlus fully supports variable transparency and lets you apply solid, gradient, or bitmap transparency to an object’s fill or outline easily.

PagePlus fishy Working with transparency

(A) bitmap transparency, (B) solid transparency, (C) gradient transparency

Transparencies work rather like fills that use “disappearing ink” instead of color. The more transparency in a particular spot, the more “disappearing” takes place there, and the more the object(s) underneath show through. Just as a gradient fill can vary from light to dark, a transparency can vary from more to less, i.e. from clear to opaque, as in the illustration:

PagePlus trans Working with transparency

A – Linear Transparency, B – Path, C – Effect on Object

In PagePlus, transparency effects work very much like grayscale fills. Just like fills…

  • Transparency effects are applied from the Studio—in this case, using the Transparency tab. (Transparency is also an option with the 3D Pattern Map filter effect.)

  • The Transparency tab’s gallery has thumbnails in shades of gray, where the lighter portions represent more transparency. To apply transparency, you click thumbnails or drag them onto objects.

  • Most transparency effects have a path you can edit—in this case, with the Transparency Tool.

Transparency types available in the Transparency tab are as follows:

  • Solid transparency distributes the transparency uniformly.

  • Gradient transparencies include linear, elliptical, and conical effects (each thumbnail’s tooltip identifies its category), ranging from clear to opaque.

  • Bitmap transparencies include categorized texture maps based on the Swatches tab’s selection of bitmaps.

For subtopics, relating to different aspects of transparency, click the links below for subtopics on:

Applying transparency

You can apply transparency to shapes, text frames, table cells, and to any artistic, frame, and table text.

To apply transparency with Transparency tab:

  1. With your object selected, display the Transparency tab and ensure either PagePlus tab colour fill Working with transparency Fill or PagePlus tab colour line Working with transparency Line is selected (for an object’s fill or outline, respectively).

  2. For solid transparency, select the PagePlus tab transparency solid Working with transparency Solid button and pick a thumbnail from the solid transparency gallery. The lighter thumbnails represent more transparency (expressed as percentage Opacity).
    – or -
    For gradient transparency, choose the PagePlus tab transparency gradient Working with transparency Gradient button and pick your thumbnail.
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    For bitmap transparency, choose the PagePlus tab transparency bitmapflyout Working with transparency Bitmap button and pick a thumbnail from a range of categories.

  3. The transparency is applied to the object’s fill or outline.

Alternatively, drag the desired thumbnail from the gallery to an object, and release the mouse button.

To apply gradient transparency with the Transparency Tool:

  1. Select the object and set the Transparency tab’s Fill/Line swatch as before.

  2. Click the PagePlus tbr attributes transparencytool Working with transparency Transparency Tool on the Attributes toolbar’s Transparency flyout.
    – or -
    Select Format>Transparency….

  3. Drag your cursor across the object and release the mouse button. The object takes a simple Linear transparency, grading from 100% opacity to 0% opacity (fully transparent).

Editing transparency

Once you’ve applied a gradient transparency, you can adjust or replace its path on the object, and the level of transparency along the path. You can even cr
eate more complex transparency effects by adding extra nodes to the path by clicking and assigning different levels to each node.

To adjust the transparency path:

  1. Use the PagePlus tbr attributes transparencytool Working with transparency Transparency Tool to drag individual nodes, or click on the object for a new start node and drag out a new transparency path. The effect starts where you place the start node, and ends where you place the end node. For bitmap transparencies, the path determines the center and two edges of the effect.

Editing a gradient transparency path is similar to editing a comparable fill path. Adding a level of transparency means varying the transparency gradient by introducing a new node and assigning it a particular value. For transparencies with multiple nodes, each node has its own value, comparable to a key color in a gradient fill. Note that you cannot alter the values in a bitmap transparency.

To edit a gradient transparency directly:

  1. Select the object and set the Transparency tab’s Fill/Line swatch as before.

  2. Click PagePlus tbr attributes transparencytool Working with transparency Transparency Tool on the Attributes toolbar. The object’s transparency path appears on the fill or line, with start and end nodes.

  3. To add a transparency node, drag from any solid transparency sample in the Transparency tab to the point on the path where you want to add the node.

    PagePlus trans2 Working with transparency

    The higher the percentage value assigned to a transparency node, the more transparent the effect at that point. Note: The hue of the color doesn’t matter, only its percentage value—so it’s much easier just to choose from the set of gallery thumbnails.

  4. To change the transparency value of any existing node, including the start and end nodes, select the node and click on a new thumbnail in the Transparency tab’s Solid transparency gallery (you can also drag your chosen thumbnail onto the selected node)

  5. To move a node you’ve added, simply drag it to a new position along the transparency path.

  6. To delete a node you’ve added, select it and press Delete.

To edit a gradient transparency using a dialog:

  1. Right-click the object with gradient transparency and choose Format>Transparency….
    – or -
    Select the object and choose Transparency…. from the Format menu.

  2. In the dialog, click the Edit button. An Object Transparency dialog appears displaying the gradient, with pointers marking the nodes that define specific opacity values, and a gallery with thumbnails, each representing an opacity value.

  • To add a node, click either on the gradient or just below it, where you want to place the new node. A new pointer appears. Note that the new pointer’s arrow is black, indicating that it’s selected; unselected pointers have white arrows.

  • To change the value of a node, click to select its pointer, then click the grayscale sample for the value you want.

  • To move a node (except the end nodes), simply drag its pointer to a new position along the gradient.

  • To delete a node (except the end nodes), right-click its pointer.

  1. Click OK to accept changes, or Cancel to abandon changes.

Changing the set of gallery transparencies

To add an object’s transparency to the Transparency tab:

  • Right-click the object and choose Format>Add Transparency to Studio, or select the same command from the Format menu.

A new thumbnail will subsequently appear at the bottom of the appropriate gallery in the Transparency tab. Solid transparencies will be added to the Solid transparency gallery, and gradient transparencies to a gradient gallery. You can also add new transparencies or delete any of the existing gallery transparencies (covered in the Transparency tab topic).

The bitmap transparency type features its own gallery of preset “texture maps,” based on the bitmap fills available on the Swatches tab. Adding bitmap transparencies to the gallery is the same as adding bitmap fills.

Setting the default transparency

The default transparency means the transparency that will be applied to the next new object you create. Local defaults only affect objects in the current project. For information on setting defaults in PagePlus, see Updating and saving defaults.

Setting single-level transparency

You can designate any one color of a bitmap or metafile image as a transparent color. This single-level transparency technique can be a useful alternative to cropping if there’s a solid color surrounding the area of interest. Transparency is especially useful if you’re preparing a publication for the web or some other non-paper format, and need to place an odd-shaped logo or graphic over some other element.

  • When exporting low-color web images with single-level transparency, the GIF format (see About web picture formats) works well.

To set picture transparency:

  1. Select the picture and click the PagePlus tbr contextpicture transparentcolour Working with transparency Transparent Color button on the Picture context toolbar.

  2. Left-click on the image and drag with the tool to magnify pixels under the cursor. Release the mouse button to mark the color under the cursor as transparent. Note: Before clicking, you can press Esc to cancel the tool.

    – or -

  3. Right-click the picture and choose Properties, then Picture Transparency….

Working with transparency