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QuarkXPress includes the feature that let you fill an item with a blend from one color to another or from one color to white, or black, or to transparent. As you can see by this layout, this picture box really looks a lot better with a whiter middle and yellower outsides then it would if it were just a solid yellow. Well, that's a blend. All the blending controls live in the Colors palette. Let's create a new box and put a blend in it. With the box selected, we can go to the Colors palette.
By default, it's background color is a solid of whatever color you choose here, yellow, whatever. But if you want to fill that box with a blend, instead of choosing Solid from this pop-up, you can choose any of these kinds of blends. Let's start with the top one, Linear. By default, it takes whatever color you have already assigned to the box and blends it to white. That's what these buttons here are about. Color number 1 in this box is blue and color number 2 is white.
Now, your color doesn't have to begin with the full-blown shade of that color, it can be something lighter. In addition, it doesn't have to be 100% opaque either. If we reduce the opacity of this box and then move it on top of this magazine cover, we can see that the items under it show through the semi-opaque blue. In addition, because this is a linear blend, we have control over the angle of the blend. If we change that angle to say 90 degrees, it will make it'll blend from a different angle, in this case from bottom to top.
Now, while this box is blending from blue to white, it can also blend from blue to none. To do that, we click on the number 2 again, because that was our white color and we make it None. Blending to None is functionally the same as if you have blended from a color to 0% of the other color. So again, if we went from blue, also to blue, but at 0% opacity, we get the same result. 0% of any color is the same as none.
Let me set this blue back to its full intensity and back to its full opacity. Now we'll play with the different blends. Here is a mid-linear blend. It goes from center to edges. Here is a rectangular blend. It goes from the center to the edges in this way. Here is a diamond blend. Here is a circular blend and then the full circular blend, which extends further out in the item. Now you will note that there are only two colors available in the blend and that's a limitation of this feature in QuarkXPress.
If you want to make rainbow, you would have to create several boxes and have them blend from one color to the next and then in the next box, that color to the next and on like that. You will notice that I have been using spot colors to make these blends. You can certainly make a blend from a process color such as this purple that's built-up from CMYK but when you do that, be careful because as the inks mix differently with different percentages, you may not get on paper the effect that you see on your screen. Check with your printer first before using a CMYK color to make a blend.
Also, even if you are blending from a spot color to black, be careful with that. Because as the color fades into black, that color can get very muddy before it actually turns to a blacker color. So again, check with your printer. Of course, if you are doing this for web work, or for Flash animations, what you see on your display is what it's going to look like in the final project. Sometimes I'm asked whether in QuarkXPress, it's possible to take a picture box that has a photo in it and fade that photo out to nothing at one end or the other.
And the answer for now is well kind of. Here is a trick for doing that. Let's say I wanted this dog photo here to fade out to the white that's behind it and that's the limiting thing. It's not fading out to transparent, it's going to be fading out to the color of the paper. Let's take the frame off of it and then we are going to have to create a second box that covers the part of the picture that you want to fade into the background. We'll create a linear blend that goes from white to none.
Now, it's not at the angle I want. So I'll change the angle to 90 and see what happens, perfect! So, now all I have to do is move this box around and make it the shape and size that I want until it creates the effect that I'm after. If I just touch the bottom of the picture, it will fade all the way to white. If I want the fade to begin further in on the picture, I just make the box little bigger. When we let go and click away, we have a box that looks like it's fading into the paper. Now in this case, because it's on the pasteboard and the pasteboard has a slight gray tint to it, you are seeing the pasteboard.
If we move it on to the page itself, you will see it fade into the paper. So, I hope that little tip will help you out when you want to fade a photo into the background color of the paper and I know that being able to apply these kinds of blends to objects as important as the cover of a magazine, opens up your design options considerably.
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