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Microsoft Adds New Mica Alt Visual Effect to Windows 11

Microsoft has quietly add a new "surface" for the Windows 11 UI, which is a more strongly colored version of the widely used "Mica". The new effect is called  Mica Alt.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is using the "materials" term for visual effects it uses in the OS and apps. Materials intended to resemble real life artifacts. There two types of them in the OS, occluding and transparent. Occluding materials are acrylic and mica are used as backgrounds and surfaces for the rest of controls. Transparent materials  are used to highlight active controls and give them visual feedback. "Smoke" is one of such materials.

The new material is mentioned in the official documentation and comes with the following description.

Mica Alt is a variant of Mica, with stronger tinting of the user's desktop background color. You can apply Mica Alt to your app's backdrop to provide a deeper visual hierarchy than Mica, especially when creating an app with a tabbed title bar.

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App layering with Mica Alt

Mica Alt is an alternative to Mica as a foundation layer in your app's hierarchy with the same features like inactive and active states and subtle personalization. We encourage you to apply Mica Alt as the base layer of your app when requiring contrast between title bar elements and the commanding areas of your app (e.g. navigation, menus).

The effect, when applied, is greatly noticeable on the app title bar. Check out the following image. The "Alt" version of Mica has more colors blended from the underlying wallpaper and looks more attractive.

Mica Alt Windows 11 Notepad

The style of the Mica Alt material also allows the user to better differentiate open windows. It is available starting in Windows App SDK 1.1.

Via @FireCubeStudios.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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