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NEWS • Sep. 27, 2001
Follow-up: Transparency in Adobe InDesign 2.0
Next release will support alpha channels, eliminate the need for clipping paths

by David Nagel
Executive Producer

As most of you are aware by now, Adobe earlier this week announced plans for the release of InDesign 2.0 in the first quarter of 2002. InDesign is one of Adobe's page layout and publishing packages. It will be their second release of professional software for Mac OS X (the first being Illustrator, planned for later this year).

When I reported on the impending release, I mentioned that we were still waiting back for word on some specific features of 2.0, especially with regards to transparency. Now Adobe has gotten back with some more specifics, and InDesign users should be mightily pleased.

It turns out that InDesign 2.0 will support not only transparency on individual objects (including feathering), but transparency within graphics files as well. What does this mean? No more need for a clipping path.

"InDesign supports Alpha channels within Photoshop files and will place them as with a transparent background," said Will Eisley, product manager for Adobe InDesign. "In addition, Transparent effect[s] created in Illustrator and Photoshop are preserved when importing into InDesign 2.0, so selections like blend modes can blend into the InDesign document."

Eisley also said, "There is no longer a need to have a clipping path around a Photoshop image to have it appear correctly in a page layout application. Because InDesign supports transparency in Photoshop files, the transparent background is treated as such when placed into InDesign."

Page layout programs currently do not offer this kind of support for transparency, relying instead on clipping paths. But clipping paths do not allow for gradations in transparency. Rather, they're either on or off, even though some applications allow for adjusting the threshold and tolerance of a clipping path.

Of course, the one caveat to all of this is that we have no way as yet to verify this information until 2002. We'll let you know either way as soon as possible.

Adobe InDesign 2.0 will be available in the first quarter of 2002 for $699. Upgrades will run $99 for the first 90 days of the release, $149 thereafter. Those purchasing InDesign 1.5 on or after today will be able to upgrade for free. For a look at the new features in InDesign 2.0, visit http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/overview.html.

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