The base for this entire effect comes from a combination of shadow, transparency and background blur. This style can only use one transparent layer, or multiple, but it’s most prominent and visible when at least two levels of translucency appear on a rather busy, colorful background.
This is a better example — this card has well defined structure, so its contents will work well even when the glass background is completely removed. This is a quick example — color contrasts can still be improved.
That only happens, when those transparency effects are purely decorational and not an integral part of the experience. Using them for buttons or toggles should be avoided (these important objects should always have more contrast) but you can use it for card backgrounds just fine.
This may be the reason why Apple chose a colorful background as the default wallpaper for Mac OS Big Sur. Those easy to discern tonal differences are also easy to see when a blurry-transparent-surface sits on top of them.
As designers we need to explore all the potential, creative ways of making a product. In some cases a limited use of “glass” will actually make the product look better and more attractive to the users.
This is a BAD example — same as with Neumorphism- of abusing the effect on every possible screen element. Doing it this way makes the entire UI almost non-accessible for some users, while also making it boring and unoriginal.
The effect itself is quite easy, there are however a couple of things to take into account. The first one, as with any card based layout — is that the closer the object is to us, the more light it attracts. In this case it means it’s going to be a bit more transparent.
The last thing you can try is to add a 1p inner border with some transparency to your shape. It simulates the glass-edge and can make the shape stand out more from the background. Experiment! While elements of this style like blurred backgrounds have been around for many years now, it is just now growing in popularity, so there’s still a lot of cool, creative effects to explore here.
Just as with Neumorphism, this style is likely not as accessible, as let’s say default Material Design. The main rule from Neumorphism also translates to here — if you have good, functional hierarchy, your on-screen elements should be able to work without the backgrounds. That will ensure people with vision problems will be able to still understand the UI.
Apple introducing this style into Big Sur is a sure way that it will be emulated and immitated in the months to come. It probably won’t take over all the interfaces (and that’s good), but it is going to be a bit more popular than it is right now.
It’s important to remember, however, that you don’t make the entire shape transparent — only its fill. Most design tools when having the fill at 100% and the object transparency lower will simply disable the background blur.
In the example above we have the exact same background blur value of 8, yet the images look completely different. When the fill opacity is at 100%, it doesn’t matter how low the object opacity is. We simply won’t get the desired blurred background.
We, as humans easily get bored with a trend, and every few years the pendulum swings towards the other side. We used super-minimal, nearly-flat interfaces for a while, but then they started to get more colorful, more vertical and more “in your face”.
Backgrounds play an essential role in making this effect shine (quite literally). They can’t be too simple or dull, or the effect won’t be visible. They also can’t be too detailed
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