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I am sort of writing a compendium about integration, everyhting from basic substitutions, to contour integrals, Gamma, beta integrals and so forth.

I feel that no standard frontcase suffices and I therefore think that the best solution for a bookcover would be using tikz (correct?)

I was thinking about tinting the page slightly gray. And making it similar to the headliner here. Some centered text, and then some faded multilayered equations and images

My idea for a bookcase

Now, the equations should be a mixture between integrals, and images. Things like

Navier stokes Equation


Error integral

Long Equation

Gaussian integral

Complex integral 1

enter image description here

One of my favourite integrals

Another one of my favourite integrals

enter image description here

My question is, how would one go about creating such a titlepage? My problem is adding the multilayered equations, in different shades.

(If someone has some arguments or ideas for a better frontpage, I am all ears.)

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Check out chapter 20 of the TikZ manual for information on transparency. You can simply use the fill opacity=0.x option on a node to make it more or less transparent. The other elements you could put in a scope and apply an opacity setting on that. For layers have a look at chapter 82 of the manual. – Roelof Spijker Dec 3 '11 at 16:26
And for what it's worth, use upright d's in your integrals, it should be \,\mathrm{d}x (or something similar, I've seen sans-serif for instance), not dx :). – Pieter Dec 3 '11 at 17:51
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There has been a related (but less specific) question a couple of days ago: Resources for title page and front matter design, where I suggested the somewhat prosaic approach: Do not use LaTeX for the cover, but some good vector drawing program. Export it to PDF and employ pdfpages, \includegraphics or pdftk to add it to the document.

I think, your cover is a perfect showcase for this approach:

  • It is just a one-time thing!
  • You are seeking a very visual, arty design. Crafting it will probably be a process of visual trial-and-error with many iterations, until you are satisfied.

Doing this with LaTeX / TikZ might be fun, but it certainly will be an enormous time sink: I am a big fan of "use the right tool for the task"; if the task is mostly about visual effects and only marginally about structured content, I would say that a visual tool is better suited than LaTeX.

As your cover involves many formulas, for which typesetting LaTeX is just great, I would probably go for a mixture:

  1. Use LaTeX to produce the "basic elements" of your cover, that is, the title, equations, graphs, symbols, whatever. (Use the standalone class or, if you are on a Mac, a tool like LaTeXiT to transform them into PDF or EPS images.)
  2. Use a good vector drawing program (Inkscape, Illustrator) to layout, blend, shade, ... these elements in order to craft the resulting cover page.
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You can as has been pointed out use the fill opacity, opacity and the text opacity for your free disposal while drawing and get the wanted effect from that.

In your use of tikz I would recommend to use the overlay feature which is really nice when specifying absolute positions on a page (and in the matter of a frontpage this could be highly desirable). I have added here a small example that will give you an idea of setting it up and doing it:

\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture,overlay]
  \begin{scope}[shift=(current page.center)]
    \node[scale=2,opacity=0.8] at (-1,2) {$\displaystyle\int_0^\infty \frac x \hbar \,\mathrm dx$};
      \draw (3,0) node[below] {$a$} arc (0:180:3cm) node[below] {$b$} -- cycle;
      \fill (0,0.3) circle (2pt) node[right] {$i$};
    \node[opacity=0.45] at (-.9,-2.5) 
    {$\displaystyle S(x)=\int_0^x\sin(t^2)\,\mathrm dx=\sum_{n=0}^\infty(-1)^n\frac{x^{4n+3}}{(2n+1)!(4n+3)}$};
Start my book...

With this setup you start on the center of the page and define everything from that place. This could come in handy, notice the first scope block. Of course you can optimise the \displaystyle away in your preferable manor.

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You can also play with Inkscape. There is one plugin to insert LaTeX equations : textext.

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