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Applying visual effects to elements on a map allows for distinction between foreground objects and background objects. When applied, this can visualize the primary object as an area of interest.
One of the main methods in figure-ground contrast is shadowing, or giving a 'drop shadow' effect to a figure. A drop shadow creates the impression that the feature is raised above the ground, drawing attention towards the primary object.
The instructions provided describe how to create a shadow effect for a shapefile feature in ArcMap. The Move geometric effect is used on a cartographic representation to create a drop shadow.
Note: To execute the cartographic representation conversions, multipart polygons must be transformed into singlepart polygons via the Multipart To Singlepart tool. Refer to the following link for more information, ArcGIS for Desktop: Multipart To Singlepart.
Note: This tool is unavailable for ArcGIS for Desktop Basic licenses. To convert symbology into cartographic representations, it is recommended to maintain the data in a geodatabase. If the data exists outside of a geodatabase, the results of the conversion are output to the default geodatabase.
Note: To further increase the contrast between the primary object and the background, select a slightly darker shade.Besides shadowing, there are other figure-ground contrast methods to distinguish primary objects from secondary objects. Feathering visualizes primary objects by softening and blending the edges of the map. Refer to the following link for more information on feathering, ArcGIS Resources: Figure-ground: Feathering.