Pin Me

The Desktop Publisher’s Guide to Using Transparency Effectively

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 11/30/2009

Using transparency in your projects can be a great way to add multiple dimensions to your project. But transparency can also create a muddled look if you are new to using this tool. This article will show you how to use transparency effectively.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Transparency in images is something that graphic designers use a lot to create cool effects in their work. In the world of desktop publishing, however, it has largely gone unnoticed. Maybe because there isn’t much call for transparencies, in the header of a newsletter, for example. There are, however, a lot of projects desktop publishers take on where transparency can be used effectively. For example, if you create a brochure with a full-page image, or if you create a poster for a client, you should consider using transparency as one of the weapons in your arsenal. Today, we’re going to find out about some of the ways you can use that transparency in your projects.

  • slide 2 of 4

    For Layering

    You have the idea of the perfect image in your mind. You have even found to halves of that image on the stock photography site. How do you merge these two images? Well, you could spend a lot of time cropping out the elements that you want from one image, in minute detail, and paste them into the other. Of course, that won’t work in every situation. The next most logical solution, is to put the images on two different layers and sent one to a low transparency. Then you can work them both towards a happy middle. Yes, the exact numbers will be a judgment call, but you are a professional. You will know what’s right when you see it.

  • slide 3 of 4

    For Watercolor Effects

    If you want image looks a watercolor painting then hard lines and borders are simply out of the question. They just don’t merge well with style. This is where transparency can help you out. Take the transparency of the image, and taper it so that the edges of the image are about 30% less solid than the inside of the image. You will get the same effect as a watercolor painting without having to apply any special filters to the whole image.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Now that you know two ways to use transparency in your desktop publishing projects why not give it a try on the next project work and enhance your natural skill set. Go ahead, give your client something to brag about.