Awards & Engraving

March '18

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42 • A&E MARCH 2018 markers are connected by an arrow showing the direction of the drop shadow. On the arrow is a slider control that allows you to change the opacity of the drop shadow. Moving the Start marker makes it possible to change the start location of the drop shadow. Moving the End marker allows you to change the angle of the drop shadow. Dragging a color from the Color Palette to the end marker changes the color of the drop shadow. (fig 3) In addition to these intuitive controls, the Properties bar displays many additional controls over the appearance of the drop shadow. From left to right in the Proper- ties bar are the following numeric controls: Drop Shadow Angle (same as moving End marker); Shadow Length; Shadow Fade as it moves away from the point of origin; Drop Shadow Color Transparency (same as Marker slider); and Drop Shadow Feath- ering—sharpening or softening the edges of drop shadows. The final few Properties bar controls include a button with a dropdown menu of options for the manner in which feathering occurs; a Feathering Type button that activates when the Feathering Manner is established; a Shadow Color selector; dropdown options for Color Properties to better coordinate the color of the shadow with the color of the object (if in doubt, leave at Normal setting); a Copy Shadows button to apply the same settings to another object; and finally, a button to delete the drop shadow from an object. That's about as much as anyone would want to know about drop shadows. As with so many aspects of using software, I can only point you in the right direction. Once you actually start experimenting with drop shadows, the use of all of these controls will become clearer. TRANSPARENCY TOOL In my own work, I've found the Trans- parency tool to be quite useful, but this Transparency tool takes it to the next level. Not only is it possible to add trans- parency to your objects in a uniform way, but it also makes it possible to do gradient transparencies. Vector graphics have been known to suffer from a too-finished appearance due to the fact that objects have been limited to flat color areas and strokes. The var- ious ways in which gradient color can be applied has greatly helped to make objects lose their flatness and appear more organic. Being able to apply uniform transparencies has furthered the possibility of a natural appearance. Being able to apply gradient transparencies is a big leap forward in that direction. In a manner similar to the application of drop shadows, gradient transparen- cies are applied by clicking in one spot to establish the Start marker, and dragging to establish the End marker. Similarly, an arrow runs between the two markers and a Slider control makes it possible to adjust the intensity of the applied transparency. This alone offers a great deal of control, but then there is the Properties bar with even more options available than with the Drop Shadow tool. (fig 4) So here goes. From left to right in the Properties bar there are six Transparency Fill tools each dealing with a close cousin within the Color Fill tools: No Transparency, Uni- form Transparency, Fountain Transparency, Vector Pattern Transparency, Bitmap Pattern Transparency, and Two-Color Transparency. Yes, even you can apply a polka dot transpar- ency to your favorite vector graphic… and so much more. Essentially any color fill tool or fig 1 fig 3 fig 4 fig 2

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