March 14, 2014 / InDesign / Spring 2014

In Step with InDesign: Transparency effects with Blending Modes

Written by Jamie Chambers

Photoshop has lots of cool blending effects that you can use on your photos, but rather than going back and forth from Photoshop and InDesign, consider what the Blending Modes in InDesign can offer in the way of effects. And, they are super easy to use.

In this example, text is added on top of a black-and-white photo so you can more easily see the changes. You can also do this with text on a color image and backgrounds.

1. Starting with an image placed in your InDesign document, use the Type tool to create a text box.

2. With the text box selected, you have two choices. Either go to the drop-down menu Object  > Effects > Transparency, or simply adjust the Blending Mode on the Effects palette. The default mode is set at Normal. From this drop-down menu you can choose from Multiply, Screen, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Color Dodge, Color Burn, Darken, Lighten, Difference, Exclusion, Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity.


3. Try a couple of different Blending Modes. Select Multiply, then Screen, then Overlay and then Color. See how each different mode changes the color of the photo under the type. Multiply always creates a darker color. Black stays black and white becomes transparent. Screen causes everything to become lighter.  Overlay multiplies or screens the colors, depending on the color used. Color tints an image depending on the color used.


This is a fast way to change text and achieve dramatic results. Try some of the other Blending Modes until you find the effect that best suits your design.


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Jamie Chambers

Jamie Chambers faced two career path choices in college, and lucky for Walsworth he chose art over accounting. He has been a creative influence for Walsworth for 17 years, currently as Design & Creative Concepting Supervisor in the Marketing Department. For 10 years, as an artist and supervisor for the Creative Services Department, Jamie traveled to workshops to collaborate with yearbook staffs to develop their covers and theme packages.