[OS X TeX] White vs. Transparent?

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Tue Mar 28 15:43:47 EST 2006

On Mar 28, 2006, at 3:23 PM, david craig wrote:

> Well, what tools are available -- short of Photoshop? -- for making  
> parts of a pdf transparent?  I'd like to be able to generate an  
> equation, open it up in an editor and turn parts of it transparent,  
> make the background transparent -- that sort of thing.  ("\phantom 
> {}" is cool, but I have found it isn't quite enough to handle some  
> of the things I require of it.)

You want to not make the .pdf into a bitmap --- that's most of your  
problem, and place it into applications which understand things other  
than bitmaps (which require especial work to be transparent) ---  
which is the balance of your problem if memory serves.

There won't be a background to make transparent if you use the right  


$a^2 + b^2 = c^2$

As a typeset .pdf it'll consist of:

italic a
superscript 2
plus sign
italic b
superscript 2
equals sign
italic c
superscript 2

All filled w/ black and that's it. No background rectangle, nor other  
vector element. If you wind up w/ a background it's because of a  
limitation of the tools you're using. The above could be dragged into  
Adobe Acrobat, printed to a .eps file, placed in any layout tool  
which'll accept a .eps, and placed over a graphic or other element  
and nothing but the black text would blot out things underneath.

Try using mathptmx and pulling the .pdfs into Cenon (available from  
http://www.cenon.info) for a tool which'll allow to do the sort of  
thing you're describing.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications

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