It amazes me how creativity bursts out of many of us in multiple ways, music, painting, sculpture, cooking, even quilting. Many of us like to include art in our blogs and find ourselves frustrated by cantankerous software. When it comes to clip art, you may have noticed some SleuthSayers pictures seem cursed with a white frame or background while others blend into the blog. For anyone with a non-white blog background, this is for you.
Once upon a time, little programs could make unwanted image parts invisible. Unfortunately, they've all but disappeared. I use Photoshop to set backgrounds to transparent, but that's using a steam shovel to shift a dustpan of dirt.
If you're interested (and this is by no means required) in how to do this, here are a few free tools you can use. Although I strive to be cross-platform, I've somewhat emphasized Windows here since Microsoft Paint doesn't support transparency and Mac tends to be more graphically inclined.
GIF and PNG
GIF and JPEG formats have very different purposes and you'll often see the wrong format used, especially JPEG. JPEG is intended for blends, subtle tones, and a large color palette such as photographs. GIF is designed for flat-tone images like line drawings, cartoons, and simple 'flat' pictures. There is a third format, PNG, which encompasses both images. To use transparency, you must use GIF or PNG, not JPEG although you can convert a JPEG to the other formats if it's tonally flat.
Although I avoid PowerPoint, I understand it can be used to make parts of images transparent. Follow this video or these instructions:
- select menu: Insert Photo > Picture from File
- click Recolor button
- click Set Transparent Color
- click on the background color to disappear
- right click image
- click Save as Picture
- set Format to .PNG
- specify name and save