I've been using transparant images in beamer presentations for some years now. Originally some combinations of pdfLaTeX and PDF viewer (in particular TeX Live 2009 with Acrobat Reader) produced quite unpleasant results on slides that included images with transparency. This showed in too saturated colors and too bold fonts. The problem could be fixed by including

\pdfpageattr {/Group << /S /Transparency /I true /CS /DeviceRGB>>}

in the LaTeX source file and everything was fine again.

But now I am trying to include a transparent image into a basic LaTeX article and the trick from above does not work any more. A sample source code to reproduce the problem looks as follows:

\pdfpageattr {/Group << /S /Transparency /I true /CS /DeviceRGB>>}



Compiling this document with pdfLaTeX (from TeX Live 2009) and viewing it with Acrobat Reader yields the same font and color problems as before in the beamer presentation. But in this case, using the fix does not work any more. It still looks as expected in most other viewers but since most readers will probably use Acrobat Reader and get an unpleasent result.

I checked the beamer sources to see if there was something obvious that is different in the way \includegraphics or colors are handled but I couldn't find anything. So, my question is:

Is there a way to get transparencies right in non-beamer LaTeX documents?

  • 1
    Did you test your work around with beamer again? AFAIR this work around has been put into pdftex source code some years ago, but after next Adobe Reader update, the problem returned. Adobe Reader is a mess! See also tex.stackexchange.com/questions/141/… and tex.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/transparency – Schweinebacke Nov 23 '11 at 9:29
  • The beamer workaround still works in our environment (TexLive 2009, Acrobat Reader v7 and v9 - both under Linux). That said, I just checked the results with Acrobat Reader v10 under Windows and here the workaround even works for the non-beamer document. – shiin Nov 23 '11 at 9:57
  • So the result depends on the version and maybe even the OS and settings of the Adobe Reader. Do you really want to spend time searching a solution for this kind of broken software instead of recommending usage of a better one? – Schweinebacke Nov 23 '11 at 10:10
  • Sure, this would be the cleaner solution - bring the prospective readers to avoid Acrobat reader. But as we provide lecture notes for a large audience, telling them all to use a different PDF viewer specifically for our material than the de-facto standard viewer would make us look bad. – shiin Nov 23 '11 at 10:32
  • Post your image_with_transparency.pdf somewhere as well as your pdftex-generated pdf. Colour spaces and transparency blending in the PDF format are very subtle, but I can take a look for you. – Lev Bishop Nov 23 '11 at 15:00

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