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Being able to adjust the opacity of items in QuarkXPress adds an entirely new dimension to your design options. Now QuarkXPress, the concept of opacity is much more flexible than it is in other applications. Anywhere you can assign a color, you can assign an opacity setting. That's not to say that opacity is linked to colors, just that wherever you see an option to apply a color, you can also adjust opacity. In addition, you can assign an opacity setting to a picture. By the way, opacity is a more logical term than transparency when working with page items because 100% on the sliders means 100% opaque, not 100% transparent.
Therefore, I'll be saying opacity instead of transparency. Let's look at an example of how transparency works. On this page, we have a box with the background that's purple. If we look in the Colors palette, we can see that the Background Color is purple. Now leaving it purple, we can change its opacity to something lighter and you see it turns lighter. Well, you may think, what's the difference between doing that and adjusting its shade to be a lighter shade? Well, the difference is when we drag this item over another item, you can see through it.
Also, if the background of your paper is of different color, this white that's showing through is actually going to be the color of the paper. Now, I mentioned that you can change the opacity of a picture as well. So here on the cover, if we select the dog and then look in the Colors palette, well it has no background, the picture itself can be selected and the opacity can be adjusted. Now, we can see through the dog to whatever is behind it. You can do the same thing with text, let's just select all this text and instead of the text being black, 100%, 100 %, let's just lower its opacity.
Now, if we drag it over something else, you can see how opaque it is. But for now, I'll just put it back and revert its opacity to 100% and that's really all there is to opacity. Anywhere you have a color, you can assign an opacity and any picture can have an opacity setting as well. Let's see how this relates to Drop Shadows. Usually you'll be working with Drop Shadows in the Measurements palette. Let's select this Name Plate here and go down to the Measurements palette and go to the Drop Shadow tab.
When I click on it, all the controls for drop shadows are available here. I covered the controls for drop shadows in another movie. But here, I want to talk about opacity and drop shadows. Right off the bat, we can set the opacity of the drop shadow to anything we like and that means that anything that's under it is going to show through. I'll undo that. The way the items below it are going to show through is determined by this Multiply Drop Shadow item here. Multiply does what its name implies. It will multiply the color of the shadow on top of whatever ink is underneath it.
If you turn that off, the color of the drop shadow will replace the colors that are underneath it. Generally speaking, leaving it on is what you want. But now let's look at Inherit Opacity. Inherit Opacity means, if I change the opacity of the item that has the drop shadow attached to it, do I want the opacity of the drop shadow to change as well? Sometimes you do, sometimes you don't. Let's zoom into the Name Plate and see what I'm talking about. Let's turn off Inherit Opacity. Now when I change the opacity of the letters themselves, the shadow will remain as opaque as it was before.
So over here, we adjust the opacity of the letters and we can see what they are doing. Let's make them very, very, very transparent. We can even make them so transparent that all you really see is the shadow. If we make it a little bit more opaque, we can create an interesting sort of puffed effect because the shadow is showing through the letters and the shadow is maintaining its level of opacity, which in this case means its darkness. That in itself is an interesting effect that you can create but sometimes you don't want that. Instead, maybe what you want is for the drop shadow, to be the way it is but not be showing through the item that's casting the drop shadow.
To do that, all we have to do is go back to our Drop Shadows tab and click Item Knocks Out Drop Shadow. That means that now, the item is at the Opacity Setting we gave it but the shadow is still at its full opacity that we set for it before. So as you can see, there is a dynamic relationship between a drop shadow inheriting the opacity of the item that casts it, and whether or not the item knocks out the drop shadow that's behind it. You can use them in combination to create all kinds of interesting effects.
With this kind of flexibility in using opacity and combining with drop shadows, you really do have a third dimension to work with on your page because drop shadows can be any color and any opacity and any aspect of an item can have any setting of Opacity. I encourage you to experiment with different opacity levels on frames around objects, the content of the object, and the background of the object as well. The combination can really be a knockout in your design.
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