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I am a full stack .net developer with 5 years of experience in front-end and back-end technologies like HTML, CSS, Jquery, Angular, Typescript, Bootstrap, C#, MSSQL and Mongodb. I have done Btech Computer engineering from Sigma Institute of Engineering & Technology that comes under GTU (Gujarat Technological University). I have worked on web applications, Web APIs, Windows Forms, Web Forms, Tray applications and corporate websites. Programming is my hobby and I have starting writing blog to provide a platform for those who want to grow their careers as a fullstack .NET developers.

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Lesson 2 - Part 8: 10 Important CSS properties: Opacity & Overlays


Opacity CSS property is used to set transparency of an element. It defines how opaque an element is. 

Its value can be anywhere in between 0 to 1. 0 means that the element is completely transparent and 1 means the element totally opaque. Opacity can also be defined in percentage, 0 to 100%, that resonates 0 to 1 value, which means 50% equals to 0.5 opacity for an element.

To understand opacity, let us take an example:

1. Create a division like below:

Image 2.8.1 Opacity Example

2. Let us now add opacity:0.5. The division will look like this:

Image 2.8.2 After applying opacity to the div

Opacity or background color with rgba value

In the Image 2.8.2, the text inside the division seems blurred due to the opacity of the division. This is why opacity is used whenever we need to make an image transparent or  making overlays for a popup.

Now, what if we need a transparent background with text. For that, we can add the background color in rgba, where a is the alpha parameter which represents the opacity of the color applied. Like opacity alpha value lies between 0 and 1. 

Setting color in rgba format

To get the rgba value of any color, open the web inspector, inspect the element, click on the square that appears besides the color, it will open color picker that allows to change the color format along with the color as shown below:

Image 2.8.3 How to open color picker from the web inspector

Image 2.8.4 Color picker and changing the color format

Image 2.8.5 Setting the alpha value

Image 2.8.5 Removed opacity after setting the alpha value for rgba color

The typical use case of opacity is to create overlays over an image as below:

Image 2.8.6 Original Image

Image 2.8.7 Image with Overlay

I have created a fiddle for this example. It can be accessed from here

In this example, I have used a pseudo selector after along with the position css property. As of now, don't worry about the position properties as it will be covered in the next lesson along with examples. Let us see what pseudo selector after/before does.

Pseudo Selector After/Before

The pseudo selectors after and before inserts a content before and after the HTML element respectively.

Pseudo selectors are used whenever there is no need to insert a complete new HTML element as in this example, there is no need to add an empty division to create this overlay (Image 2.8.7)


Can you try creating a button like below using pseudo selector after or before and a anchor link? 

If you are struggling to do this. Here is the fiddle url: https://jsfiddle.net/soum1/ep71xctk/

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