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Technique: Transparency Is the Solution

Though you can't really change the basic rectangular shape of the file, you can change its appearance, which includes the functional boundary. The idea is not to change the shape of the file, but to make the areas that you don't want to see transparent—or essentially ignored by the browser or image setter. Although the actual boundary of the file remains rectangular, the transparent area allows you to see through completely to whatever is in the background.

There are several ways to do this in layout and design, depending on what programs you are using. Here, we will concentrate on the image that provides the most flexibility. For the Web, shaping your image can be done in several ways—some are actually transparent, whereas others just mimic the result. Here, we'll see both methods for creating actual transparency and mimicking the effect. For print, using a clipping path can shape your image for incorporation into a layout program.

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