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Gradient Fill of Polygons in ArcMap

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#1
Brian Mooney

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Okay, load ArcMap and insert a polygon feature. Now click on the symbol showing what color the polygon(s) are colored. Click Properties> Click the drop down box for Type> Click Gradient Fill symbol> Click the Style drop down and click Buffered. Now, under Intervals put "100" into the box, to make a very smooth transition in color. Under Percentage change the number to 20, because we want to make a smooth transition of from color to no color. On the color ramp, right-click the color ramp and click properties. Under Color 1 select a color of your choice. Under Color 2 select NO COLOR. Then click the CIE Lab to make sure your color doesnt change within the transition to no-color. Then Click OK. Under the Symbol Property Editor Window click OK. Symbol Selector window, click OK.

It may take a minute to load polygons with alot of data...

Double-Click your Layer in the Layers Display. Go to the Display Tab and under Transparent input 25-75%. Now click OK.

Now, unless im mistaken, this should make the middle of your polygons hollow, no-color, transparent...whatever you may call it. It may even look transparent, but insert something dark behind it, like imagery....it isn't transparent.

I REALLY wish this feature would work without the flaws i've shown you. This would make my maps very nice.

Just thought i should share.

#2
Emily Martin

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Okay, load ArcMap and insert a polygon feature. Now click on the symbol showing what color the polygon(s) are colored. Click Properties> Click the drop down box for Type> Click Gradient Fill symbol> Click the Style drop down and click Buffered. Now, under Intervals put "100" into the box, to make a very smooth transition in color. Under Percentage change the number to 20, because we want to make a smooth transition of from color to no color. On the color ramp, right-click the color ramp and click properties. Under Color 1 select a color of your choice. Under Color 2 select NO COLOR. Then click the CIE Lab to make sure your color doesnt change within the transition to no-color. Then Click OK. Under the Symbol Property Editor Window click OK. Symbol Selector window, click OK.

It may take a minute to load polygons with alot of data...

Double-Click your Layer in the Layers Display. Go to the Display Tab and under Transparent input 25-75%. Now click OK.

Now, unless im mistaken, this should make the middle of your polygons hollow, no-color, transparent...whatever you may call it. It may even look transparent, but insert something dark behind it, like imagery....it isn't transparent.

I REALLY wish this feature would work without the flaws i've shown you. This would make my maps very nice.

Just thought i should share.


I've not tried doing that before, and if it worked, it would look good. I can't see why setting the centre to No Colour does not mean it is hollow. The only thing I can think of would be to create your own fade-out border with a method like something this (done using version 9.2):

Open the Layer Properties dialogue box, select the symbology tab and click the button which displays the symbol, or double-click on the symbol patch in the Table of Contents.

Set the Fill Colour to No Colour and click Properties. Click the Outline... button and click Properties.

In the drop-down Type menu, select Cartographic Line Symbol.

At the bottom left of the dialogue box, there is a section called Layers. By clicking the + button you can add more layers to the line. Add six and give them the following properties (colour and width are changed in the Cartographic Line tab, offset is changed in the Line Properties tab) from bottom to top:

Colour getting lighter
Width 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 1, 1
Offset 0, -1, -2, -3, -4, -4.5, -5

Click the padlock icon next to each layer so it is closed (which stops them changing) and click OK until you're back at the Layer Properties dialogue box. Under the Display tab, set the transparency to 50% and click OK.


This gives you a rather coarse fading effect with a uniform transparency and hollow centre. It could be made smoother by adding more layers to the outline or, now I think about it, by creating and using a custom marker. Select Marker Line Symbol instead of Cartographic Line Symbol in the steps above and under the Template tab use the slider and interval setting to make the marker repeat. If you could make a marker which fades, this should work nicely.

Let us know if you get something to work!
Emily Martin
Petroleum Geoscientist
Bournemouth, UK


"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen" - Albert Einstein

#3
Brian Mooney

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Okay, cool. Thats pretty neat! I wish ESRI would just fix these problems, but thanks to fellow mappers liek yourself, we can by-pass these non-functioning tools, and still produce a nice map.

Thanks for your help bud!

#4
DaveB

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The issue with No color in a color ramp not is a known limitation due to transparency not being supported for graphics.

To achieve the effect you're looking for maybe one of these ESRI Mapping Center blog posts will help:
How to produce tint bands for boundaries
Quick tint bands
Dave Barnes
Esri
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Map Geek

#5
Brian Mooney

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I'll give that a try next week, and let you know the outcome. Thanks bud!




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