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Chapter 19. Exploiting Illustrator’s Tra... > Working with Transparency In Illustr...

Working with Transparency In Illustrator

Illustrator offers the capability to change the opacity of objects and images, much like Adobe Photoshop. In early versions of the program, an object could have a fill and stroke of None, making it invisible on the artboard, and the GIF file format supported invisible backgrounds. However, you could not make an object semi-transparent, easily apply a realistic shadow or glow that fades with distance, or change the way the colors of overlapping objects blend.

Transparency brings to Illustrator a tremendous creative boost, but also brings with it the potential for compatibility and printing problems. When it comes to actually outputting to paper, film, or plate, the concept of transparency disappears. Objects are printed as raster or vector, or a combination of both. Illustrator allows you to specify a preference for how transparency is handled in print output. In addition, there are restrictions on file formats for using transparency on the Web. However, during the creative process in Illustrator, you can work with transparency without regard for output issues, giving you near-complete control of opacity and color blending. In this respect, while you’re producing artwork, Illustrator can be said to offer real transparency.


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