You can create some great effects with gradient fills that have variable transparency.
Let’s say that you have a side bar image but you want a softer edge. In this slide, the edge of the cookies is sharp.
Here I’ve added a white rectangle with a gradient whose transparency changes from 0% to 100% as you look from left to right. The rectangle covers the image.
This effect is a nice transition to the text and gives the impression of light beaming on the cookies. Yum!
This effect is simple to create:
- Insert a rectangle and size it as appropriate.
- Right-click it and choose Format Shape. In PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, this opens a dialog box. In PowerPoint 2013, this opens a task pane on the right.
- In the Line or Line Color section, choose No Line.
- In the Fill section, choose Gradient Fill.
- From the Type drop-down list, choose Linear is another option is displayed.
- In PowerPoint 2007, under Gradient Stops, choose Stop 3, and click Remove. You now should have just 2 stops.In PowerPoint 2010 and 2013, drag additional stops off the bar so that you have 2 stops.
- Click the Direction drop-down list and choose the direction you want. If you can’t distinguish the right direction because the colors are so similar, choose one of the stops and change its color from the Color drop-down list. Choose any strongly contrasting color and chen go back and set the direction.
- Click or choose Stop 1 and use the Color drop-down list to set the color. Click or choose Stop 2 and set it to the same color as Stop 1. In the above example, I used white for both stops.
- Click or choose Stop 1, and use the Transparency slider to set the transparency to 100%. Leave Stop 2 at the default of 0%. (Depending on the direction you chose, you might need to set Stop 1 at 0% transparency and stop 2 at 100% transparency.)
- You can see if the rectangle is what you want immediately. You may need to change the Stop Position, by dragging the slide of Stop 1 or Stop 2. If you’re in a dialog box, click Close.
- Place the rectangle over the image and nudge it exactly into place. If necessary, make sure that its order is on top by right-clicking and choosing Send to Front). The left side of the rectangle is transparent, so it shows the image; the right side is opaque, so it covers the image.
You can use this technique to create 3D effects. On the left, you see a cylinder, which is made up of two ovals and a rectangle. I’ve applied a simple gradient, but it still doesn’t look 3-dimensional.
On the right, I’ve added a white AutoShape using the same type of transparency gradient I just described. It looks more realistic. (The top oval is still a simple gradient.) Note that I had to add a triangle at the bottom to cover the bottom oval.
Try adding a shadow for even more realism.
Try out your own ideas for transparency gradients.