#557 – Using an Image As an Opacity Mask

You’ll typically use a gradient brush as an opacity mask, to change the opacity of a control gradually.

You can also use an image as an opacity brush, making various regions of the target control opaque or transparent depending on the opacity at the same spot in the image.

Below, I’ve created a smiley face image in Paint.NET.  I’ve made the background of the image transparent (shown in Paint.NET as a checkerboard).

Next I create a WPF project with a simple Image control.

    <Image Source="Images\Rocks2Small.jpg" Width="400"/>

Now we specify an OpacityMask for this Image.  But instead of using a LinearGradientBrush or RadialGradientBrush, we use an ImageBrush–a brush created from an image.

<Image Source="Images\Rocks2Small.jpg" Width="400">
        <ImageBrush ImageSource="Images\FaceMask.png"/>

Using the second image as the opacity mask for the first means–the first image will be transparent wherever the second image is transparent.


#556 – Clipping to a Border Using an Opacity Mask

When you specify a border radius for a Border element, the content within the Border is not automatically clipped to the new rounded interior.

<Border BorderBrush="Black" BorderThickness="3" Margin="10"
        Width="400" Height="267" CornerRadius="40" >
    <Image Source="Images\Rocks2Small.jpg"/>

If you want to clip against the Border, you can specify an opacity mask that is a visual brush bound to the visual of a second Border element that overlays the Image control.  This will cause any portion of the Image control that falls outside the boundaries of the inner Border to use an opacity of 0.0.

<Border BorderBrush="Black" BorderThickness="3" Margin="10" Width="400" Height="267"
	CornerRadius="40" >
        <Border	Name="myBorder" CornerRadius="40" Background="White" Margin="1"/>
	<Image Source="Images\Rocks2Small.jpg" Margin="1">
	        <VisualBrush Visual="{Binding ElementName=myBorder}"/>

Thanks to fellow Minnesotan, Chris Cavanagh, for an explanation of how to do this!

#555 – Creating a Radial Opacity Mask

You can define an opacity mask on a user interface element to cause the opacity to change across the element, depending on the mask.  The opacity mask is a brush, where the alpha channel at each point in the brush is used to define the opacity at each point on the element.

You will typically use either a linear or a radial gradient for an opacity mask, since a gradient brush allows you to create a range of alpha values across the brush.

You can use a radial gradient brush as the opacity mask to fade out the edges of a user interface element.  To start with, select a gradient brush for the OpacityMask property.

Change the gradient to be a radial gradient.

Select the outer gradient stop and set its alpha value to be transparent.

Finally, adjust the gradient stops to get the effect that you want.

#554 – Using an Opacity Mask

An Opacity Mask allows you to set an opacity for a user interface element that is based on a brush, rather being a single opacity value that is applied to the entire element.

For example, instead of setting a single value for the Opacity of an Image control, you can use a gradient brush as its opacity mask, so that one side of the picture fades out.

We start with a simple Image with a default Opacity (100%).

We then select the OpacityMask property of the Image and select a gradient brush.

We then set the alpha channel of the ending gradient stop to 0 (fully transparent).  Now we have a gradient that goes from solid black to fully transparent.

You’ll see that the Image now starts out solid at its top and fades out at the bottom