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Thread: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

  1. #1
    Gary Carpenter
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    Default Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    Does anybody know a way to remove -- or make transparent -- the rectangle background of a JPG file?
    Thanks,
    Gary Carpenter

  2. #2
    John Sobetzer

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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    If you are referring to how it displays in ArcMap, right click on it, go to Layer Properties - Symbology - Display Background Value, check it and then try a series of numbers (usually 255 or 0) and tell it to use No color in the dropdown.

  3. #3
    Gary Carpenter
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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    I should have been more clear. I am indeed referring to how a JPG appears in ArcMap, but this is a JPG that was added as a Picture. Therfore I cannot get to the same Properties you spoke about. I presume I would have to edit the JPG out of ArcMap, but even then don't know 1) which program to use, and 2) if even that will truly result in a transparent background when I pull it into ArcMap Layout View.
    Thanks

  4. #4
    Chris Fox

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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    Hi Gary,

    The JPG data format does not support transparency, you will want to use a PNG, TIFF, GIF or EMF which all support transparency. In regards to ArcGIS Desktop the only data format that is supported to preserve transparency during display and while printing and exporting would be EMF. You can learn more about this in the following knowledge base documents.

    Problem: Transparent GIF and PNG inserted images do not display and/or do not export or print as transparent

    HowTo: Convert original logo artwork or a bitmap logo into EMF for inserting into an ArcMap layout

    Editing images' transparency and converting to EMF will require another software package, but there are many free ones out there if you don't already have something like Adobe Illustrator for example.

    -Chris

  5. #5
    Gary Carpenter
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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    Thanks, Chris. I was able to convert my jpg file into a bmp through Paint, and the simple, quickly executed instructions in one of your links worked just fine. My point size ended up being "648" when I placed it in my map, but what the hey! Thanks again! --Gary

  6. #6
    Don Nadeau
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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    I was able to save my JPG as a GIF in an image program, and then add it as a raster feature into my ArcMap 9.3.1 data frame. ArcMap popped up the standard warning that it was "missing spatial reference information". I used the Georeferencing toolbar to fit it to my display, and then I used the links tool to - by trial and error - fit it where I wanted it. I Updated Georeferencing, which created companion files to the GIF with the same name and extensions GFW (GIF World file) and AUX.XML (geometadata).

    To make the white background transparent, I opened the Symbology tab in the GIF feature properties, and set the white swatches of the 256 color swatches to "no color". Be aware that if there are other pixels in the image that have the same value, they will become transparent as well. The Symbology tab also has a selector to "Display NoData as". I needed to be sure this was also set to No Color, because I rotated the GIF a little when I fit it into the map.

    Another method is to expand the GIF feature's representation in the ArcMap Table of Contents, click on the white swatch, and check the Color Selector dialog's Properties tab checkbox for "Color is Null".

    The map with the GIF printed properly.

    I was also able to achieve the same effect with a JPG, except the Symbology tab has a checkbox for "Displaying Background Value". I set the three values (my palette/ colorspace was RGB) to 255. The value may need to be set to zeros or maybe other values for different JPGs and background colors. JPGs usually have "halos" that tinge the background along edges of features, due to the compression process. Those pixels are no longer the same value as the background so will not become transparent. To avoid this effect, it is important to save JPGs with no compression, if possible. I did not test print the map with the JPG.

    These procedures put the GIF or JPG on the map with white (or other background color) made transparent. If it needs to be in the marginalia, maybe just add another data frame into the virtual page in the area of interest. I hope these workarounds help.

  7. #7
    Dana Nolan
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    Default Re: Transparent JPG Backgrounds

    The simplest way is to use something like Photoshop's Magic Wand or Polygonal or Magnetic Lasso tools. Graphics/paint tools can also clean up and resample images. Learning general graphics tools is worth the trouble, IMHO, especially if you also do Web work. Also, if you have access to and familiarity with the software that created the image, removing parts of it may be as simple as unchecking a layer (paint program) or an object (draw program).

    GIFs have limited colors and are not easily edited in graphics tools once saved because of their internal, indexed structure, so I would recommend keeping a copy of the image in another format.

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