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Proper opacity for image under copy

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  • Proper opacity for image under copy

    I'm working on a report layout with photos under almost white copy (C0M2Y11K1) and wondering if a 70% opacity layer over an image would be enough to make the text easily legible. It seems to distract some so perhaps go to 80? I don't want to get it to the point where it sort of looks like an image but it's so faint that might as well not put one. See attached.
    Thanks for comments/answers!

    Click image for larger version

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  • #2
    There is no percentage rule. It totally depends on your imagery. In this one, your white bar adds a second horizon line, making it slightly confusing. But it's not too bad as is. It's hard to tell on screen what those white transparent overlays will do in print. I hate them personally as white is not supposed to be used in that manner, but that said, I've never had a file built this way blow up in the rip. I'd highly suggest getting a proof though.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the comment. What I actually did was place a blue filter (C27M0Y6K69) at 70% over the image, then added that white horizontal band in white at 20%. Turns out my client feels that the copy is hard to read but agreed, screen and print are two different things. A proof will be helpful.

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      • #4
        Why don't you just place a black and white image and colorize it in (I'm assuming) Indesign. That would be better than using a transparency overlay.

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        • #5
          Ah yes, that's a good idea, thanks!

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          • #6
            I've seen Indesign files with all sorts of multiply, transparency overlay, blurs and effects added to them. The more you do to the file, the likelihood of something going wrong on output increases. When you say you used a CMYK overlay, then changed the transparency to 70% that just adds an unnecessary layer to the complexity. The other thing, Transparency does not play well with spot colors. If you are using any Pantone matching spots in the file, anywhere in the file, they don't even have to interact with the transparency, the output can behave strangely. Adobe doesn't have their software written to allow spot transparency on output. I'm sure it has something to do with separations for plates. But whatEVer... If you've ever seen the dreaded atomic area pale box around text, or had an element drop out or vanish on printing, or similar odd occurrences, the first thing to suspect is a spot color/trans interaction. There are work arounds that most printers know by now since it's been about a decade since transparency appeared on the scene but you will inevitably run across a vendor that doesn't get it, or the prepress tech misses it. It doesn't sound like you are using them here.

            /rant

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            • #7
              Now that I'm at work and can see this piece on a semi-color correct monitor, yeah, it's hard to read.
              Couple of things, running text across people's faces is disconcerting. The human eye is drawn to faces and a text interaction is a distraction. Plus, cutting the top off a person's head off is also disconcerting.

              Any chance of dropping the image down so that the guy laying on the ground is closer to the bottom of the page (not laying on it tho, give him some grounding) so that you get the faces off your secondary text bar?

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              • #8
                Great info, thanks. And yes, I've had an element once disappear, so point taken. And about the 2nd comment, I'll work to improve this, agreed with heads cut off, same for feet when there are some! We might ditch the copy over photo idea as they don't like the lack of readability so that will solve all. If not, I'll stick with colorizing a b&w image.

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                • #9
                  Maybe if the image wasn't of people but of whatever it is they are digging up, that would work better. Most times I see text over images done in this way, it's over the more nondescript part of the image, just for the legibility issue.

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                  • #10
                    I typically avoid placing body copy over busy photos. A few words, like a headline, can work just fine since they're easily read and can clearly dominate the background image when done right.

                    Body copy, I think, is a different matter. When your dummy text is replaced with the actual story, the message in that story will arguably be the most important thing on the page. Your design is clearly meant to look good and have emotional appeal, but you're sacrificing the readability of the main message while getting there.

                    But even when it comes to the aesthetics, I don't think it's really working in this situation. The foreground text needs to clearly and unambiguously dominate the background image. This could happen if there were large, mostly empty or solid areas in background photo that provided a more or less consistent area over which to lay the text. With this photo, however, that's not the case; it's a busy photo with a whole lot of detail (people arms, heads, hats, etc.), and that detail is fighting with the type for visual dominance and compromising the clarity of both.

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                    • #11
                      It's kind of funny, that background image reminded me of works by Mark Tansey. Which made me look all the more. Brilliant contemporary artist.
                      These in particular:
                      http://tanseypictures.tumblr.com/pos...on-canvas-68-x
                      http://tanseypictures.tumblr.com/pos...vas-193-x-2794
                      Last edited by PrintDriver; 06-21-2017, 07:09 AM.

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