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Adjusting transparency

From: InDesign CS5 Essential Training

Video: Adjusting transparency

What's the number one, coolest, most amazing feature in InDesign? It's transparency. We've already looked at how InDesign can import images with transparency. Now, let's take a step further and look at how you can apply transparency effects to any object in InDesign. This layout is looking pretty nice, but I think it would look even nicer if I could make this green frame show the image behind it a little bit. To do that, I'm going to go up to the Control panel and look at the transparency widgets up here. Right now, this transparency widget, which I can tell, because it has a little checkerboard there, and checkerboard always means transparency, I'm going to change that from 100% to let's say 60%.

Adjusting transparency

What's the number one, coolest, most amazing feature in InDesign? It's transparency. We've already looked at how InDesign can import images with transparency. Now, let's take a step further and look at how you can apply transparency effects to any object in InDesign. This layout is looking pretty nice, but I think it would look even nicer if I could make this green frame show the image behind it a little bit. To do that, I'm going to go up to the Control panel and look at the transparency widgets up here. Right now, this transparency widget, which I can tell, because it has a little checkerboard there, and checkerboard always means transparency, I'm going to change that from 100% to let's say 60%.

Press Enter or Return and you can see that now I can see through the green. That's a little bit too much, so why don't I bump that up? I'll click on that little slider there. Bring it up to maybe 80% or something like that. There we go! That's looking a little bit better now. Now I can read the text and see through it all the way to the image behind it. I'm going to do the same thing to this white frame down at the bottom of the document page here. That's too white. I'd like to see through it a little bit and I'd change this to let's say maybe 50%. There we go. Now it just gives me a little bit of a ghosted back feeling.

Now, it's nice that these features are here inside the Control panel, but the main control for doing transparency effects is the Effects panel, which you can find under the Window menu by choosing Effects. This frame at the bottom of the page is still selected, so that you can see that the object is at Normal blending Mode at 50%. Now, what do I mean by blending mode? Blending mode shows up in many of Adobe's applications, like Illustrator and Photoshop, and it gives me controls like Multiply, Screen and so on.

Those can fine-tune the transparency effects in all kinds of ways. For example, I'll select this green frame back here and change it to Multiply, and you'll see that the effect is dramatic. It's multiplying the green into the background instead of screening it back. So let's try the Screen effect instead. I encourage you to just try these different blending modes to get the effect that you're looking for. I'm actually pretty happy with just the Normal blending Mode, in this case, so I'm going to leave this set back to Normal. Let me show you another example of what you can do with the Effects panel.

I'm going to move this text frame down on top of this image over here. That looks fine except for one thing. I can't read the text. That's kind of a disaster. So here is an effect I use all the time, ghosting back the background, so that I can read the text, make it pop out a little bit. The first thing I need to do is set the background color to, well, let's say paper, something light. Well, that's a little too light, right? So I want to make it transparent, so I can still see the image through it a little bit. I'll close that pop-up menu just by clicking on the frame again, and I'm going to change the transparency in the Effects panel.

But if I change the Opacity here from 100% down to let's say 60%, it makes the whole object transparent, the background and the text. That's not what I wanted. I want the text to stay full strength, but just the background to be ghosted back. So, undo that with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows, and instead take one extra step in the Effects panel. Instead of choosing the Object in this list, I'm going to choose the fill, and now any changes I make in the Effects panel will affect just the fill of this frame not the stroke.

So let's go ahead and change the Opacity of this down to 50% and you can see that the fill got ghosted back, but not the text. It's actually too low for opacity, let's set this down to maybe 70%. There we go. That's looking a little bit better. Now, if I had a stroke of that image, I could do the same thing by clicking on stroke. So this would affect transparency effects on the stroke, but not the fill or the text. Another good example of when you need to pay attention to what's selected inside the Effects panel and what's selected on the page is when you want to change the transparency of an image, separate from its frame.

So, for example, let's grab this group of images, and I'm going to select just one of these images in here by double-clicking on it. That selects that frame and then double-clicking again to select the image inside the frame. Now you can see the Effects panel changes so that I'm changing the transparency of this graphic, not the frame itself. If I change this to something like 50% opacity, you see that just that image changes, and if it had a frame or a fill or a stroke, it would not have been affected.

Changing the opacity or blending mode of an object is cool, but it's just the beginning when it comes to InDesign's Transparency features.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for InDesign CS5 Essential Training
InDesign CS5 Essential Training

135 video lessons · 89798 viewers

David Blatner
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. What is InDesign CS5?
      2m 26s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 51s
  2. 54m 49s
    1. Understanding the Application window
      6m 0s
    2. Navigating pages
      6m 39s
    3. Zooming and magnifying
      6m 57s
    4. Managing more than one document window
      3m 36s
    5. Setting rulers and measurements
      2m 9s
    6. Positioning panels correctly
      6m 28s
    7. Saving time by making workspaces
      3m 24s
    8. Setting the view quality of artwork
      4m 9s
    9. Adjusting View and Preview settings
      4m 56s
    10. Rotating pages and spreads
      3m 2s
    11. Displaying a new view with the New Window feature
      3m 29s
    12. Setting application and document preferences
      4m 0s
  3. 21m 31s
    1. Using the Tool panel
      8m 1s
    2. Learning and editing keyboard shortcuts
      6m 24s
    3. Working with spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 17s
    4. Using contextual menus
      2m 51s
    5. Choosing menu items with Quick Apply
      2m 58s
  4. 45m 25s
    1. Creating new documents
      7m 28s
    2. Saving and reverting documents
      3m 41s
    3. Using multiple Undo and Revert
      4m 28s
    4. Setting margin and column guides
      5m 16s
    5. Using ruler guides
      8m 10s
    6. Bleeding colors or images off the side of the page
      4m 29s
    7. Saving objects in libraries
      4m 49s
    8. Exporting and importing page snippets
      4m 29s
    9. Saving for CS4 with IDML
      2m 35s
  5. 31m 18s
    1. Inserting, deleting, and moving pages
      7m 23s
    2. Changing page size
      6m 14s
    3. Adding page numbering
      3m 43s
    4. Changing page numbering with sections
      5m 58s
    5. Creating and applying master pages
      5m 20s
    6. Overriding master page items
      2m 40s
  6. 1h 21m
    1. Understanding text frames
      4m 6s
    2. Typing and editing text
      4m 36s
    3. Filling with placeholder text
      2m 38s
    4. Inserting special characters
      4m 43s
    5. Importing text
      7m 49s
    6. Threading text frames
      4m 1s
    7. Setting text frame columns and insets
      6m 32s
    8. Setting vertical justification and first baseline position
      6m 9s
    9. Putting text on a path
      6m 51s
    10. Using the Story Editor
      8m 43s
    11. Checking spelling
      7m 42s
    12. Using Find/Change
      9m 25s
    13. Tracking text changes
      8m 1s
  7. 49m 50s
    1. Importing graphics
      8m 11s
    2. Importing from Mini Bridge
      5m 27s
    3. Using the Links panel
      6m 34s
    4. Embedding links
      2m 37s
    5. Editing graphics in their original app
      3m 14s
    6. Fitting graphics to a frame
      6m 12s
    7. Taking advantage of image transparency and clipping paths
      4m 53s
    8. Adding live captions
      5m 56s
    9. Colorizing images
      2m 1s
    10. Turning image layers on and off
      4m 45s
  8. 46m 15s
    1. Selecting objects
      5m 32s
    2. Applying basic strokes and fills
      8m 18s
    3. Using advanced strokes
      3m 28s
    4. Adjusting transparency
      4m 38s
    5. Adding drop shadows
      6m 41s
    6. Applying feathering
      4m 25s
    7. Copying formatting with the Eyedropper tool
      4m 35s
    8. Finding and changing object formatting
      4m 50s
    9. Making polygons and starbursts
      3m 48s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Making interactive documents
      2m 6s
    2. Adding hyperlinks
      5m 52s
    3. Building bookmarks
      3m 38s
    4. Creating buttons
      8m 57s
    5. Animating an object
      2m 23s
  10. 23m 29s
    1. Creating color swatches
      5m 52s
    2. The danger and power of unnamed colors
      4m 47s
    3. Building tint swatches
      2m 18s
    4. Creating gradient swatches
      3m 56s
    5. Applying gradients
      6m 36s
  11. 50m 0s
    1. Positioning objects with the Page Gap tool
      2m 53s
    2. Stacking objects
      2m 13s
    3. Creating and controlling layers
      3m 53s
    4. Managing objects in the Layers panel
      3m 37s
    5. Nesting objects
      2m 46s
    6. Editing frame and path shapes
      4m 6s
    7. Adding rounded corners and other corner options
      3m 57s
    8. Grouping objects
      3m 14s
    9. Locking objects
      2m 39s
    10. Aligning and distributing
      5m 43s
    11. Understanding text wrap
      8m 13s
    12. Using anchored objects
      6m 46s
  12. 18m 49s
    1. Duplicating objects
      5m 39s
    2. Rotating objects
      3m 3s
    3. Scaling objects
      3m 57s
    4. Mirroring objects
      3m 46s
    5. Using the Transform Again feature
      2m 24s
  13. 25m 52s
    1. Applying basic character styling
      7m 8s
    2. Applying advanced character formatting
      4m 54s
    3. Changing case
      2m 51s
    4. Understanding OpenType features
      3m 19s
    5. Using Find/Change for text formatting
      3m 18s
    6. Using Find Font
      4m 22s
  14. 45m 27s
    1. Applying formatting to a paragraph
      4m 14s
    2. Spanning a paragraph across multiple columns
      3m 5s
    3. Splitting a paragraph into multiple columns
      2m 1s
    4. Using drop caps
      3m 16s
    5. Adjusting text hyphenation
      3m 21s
    6. Fine-tuning justified text
      4m 19s
    7. Setting tabs
      5m 54s
    8. Aligning to a baseline grid
      4m 24s
    9. Controlling orphans and widows with Keep Options
      2m 39s
    10. Adding rules (lines) above or below a paragraph
      3m 14s
    11. Adding automatic bullets
      4m 39s
    12. Working with numbered lists
      4m 21s
  15. 31m 3s
    1. Creating and applying paragraph styles
      6m 34s
    2. Using character styles
      5m 43s
    3. Applying styles automatically with Nested Styles
      7m 19s
    4. Using object styles
      3m 27s
    5. Using Quick Apply with styles
      2m 49s
    6. Cleaning up a local formatting mess
      5m 11s
  16. 37m 0s
    1. Creating a table
      5m 54s
    2. Adjusting rows and columns
      6m 35s
    3. Formatting a table
      8m 5s
    4. Adding headers and footers
      1m 58s
    5. Applying table styles
      5m 32s
    6. Adding Microsoft Word and Excel tables
      8m 56s
  17. 10m 26s
    1. Checking your document with the Preflight panel
      2m 54s
    2. Creating a custom preflight profile
      4m 45s
    3. Checking color with the Separations Preview
      2m 47s
  18. 31m 7s
    1. Packaging for output
      4m 13s
    2. Using the Print dialog box
      10m 22s
    3. Exporting a PDF
      8m 47s
    4. Exporting an interactive PDF
      3m 59s
    5. Exporting text
      1m 36s
    6. Exporting SWF files
      2m 10s
  19. 1m 32s
    1. Finding more information and help
      1m 12s
    2. Goodbye
      20s

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