The three most recent installments of Chris and Trish Meyer’s After Effects Apprentice series have covered three different approaches to grouping layers in After Effects. Each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses; mastering all three means you can choose the right approach for a particular task—or combine them for the ultimate in power and flexibility. Here’s an overview from the first in the series, After Effects Apprentice 07: Parenting.
Parenting allows you to attach an entire layer to another. The child layer keeps its own animation, which is then also affected by the position, rotation, and scale of the parent layer (note that effects and opacity are not passed from the parent to its children). For example, you can attach several layers to one parent, reposition just the parent, and all of the children will move as well. The same goes for scaling the parent: All of the children will be scaled by the same amount, keeping their same relative sizes and positional offsets. A parent can have multiple children, and you can set up parent/child chains where a layer in the middle is both a parent and a child. All of the layers stay in the current composition.
InDesign’s FX can be so much fun, it’s tempting to just dive right in and start working with them, even if you’re not all that familiar with the controls. You can certainly accomplish a lot armed with nothing more than curiosity and patience, but to really get the most out of these tools you should spend a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them. That’s the purpose of this week’s free InDesign FX video. You use this information every time you work with InDesign’s effects. When you know where everything is and how to use it, you’ll naturally have a more enjoyable and productive time.
The video starts with a tour of the Effects panel controls. You’ll see all the places where you can adjust blending modes and opacity. I’ll show you where and how to target FX to the various levels of an object to produce different results.
There are also some nifty efficiency tips in the video. After watching it, you’ll discover how to tell which effects have been applied to an object without opening the dialog box. You’ll also know how to save time and effort by copying FX from one object to another with a simple drag and drop.
I also demystify two settings that have puzzled many InDesign users over the years: Isolate Blending and Knockout Group. They both are used to limit the effects of blending modes to specific objects on a page, and they’re well worth mastering.
Finally, I demonstrate the workings of Global Light. This is an important tool for making your effects consistent throughout a document by giving them the same light source via Angle and Altitude settings.
Getting a handle on Altitude in particular is the key to mastering the Bevel and Emboss effect. You’ll also understand how Global Light can sometimes cause objects with effects to unexpectedly change when you move them from one document to another (and how to prevent this from happening).
For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® on how to create long cast shadows using Type on a Path. And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another free InDesign effect.
In this week’s Deke’s Technique, Deke McClelland shows you how to change the color of a car in Photoshop. I know what you’re thinking (if you’re a seasoned Photoshop user and/or classic car online sales guru), Targeted adjustment tool plus Hue/Saturation, and I can change anything that’s not the same color as anything else. But how often does that work? According to Deke, it often leaves something to be desired. So in this week’s technique, Deke gives you a nuanced approach for changing that car from everyday, empty-calorie candy-apple red to a rich, worth-its-weight-in-gold sheen. The key is making a quick, but essential, mask.
And the key to the mask in this case is the impeccably named but often overlooked Color Range command. If Photoshop can ‘see’ what’s red, then you can use Photoshop’s vision to create a mask that then lets you apply your hue adjustment in a more controlled way. Then you can colorize the isolated red on the car and change it to a purer gold. In the end, your custom set of wheels goes through this transformation:
It’s Deke, giving you the keys to a customized set of wheels, free to all in this week’s complimentary technique. And for members of the lynda.com Online Training Library®, the members-exclusive video this week will show you how to make that car a deep, mysterious black, while retaining all the shine and sass. Check this out:
In March, we started publishing a new series of video tutorials called jQuery Projects that takes members through the creation of a specific project, such as an interactive photo gallery. When author Chris Converse wrote HTML and jQuery code in his examples, he used Dreamweaver.
Shortly after the first course was published, we started receiving comments from members saying they were not Dreamweaver users—and while they could still follow along with Chris, they wished he had used a straight coding environment instead.
To figure out what members wanted for future courses, we polled members who had written to us to find out whether we should continue to use Dreamweaver as the editor, or switch to using Aptana Studio (note: we proposed an Eclipse-based code editor such as Aptana Studio because it’s free and available for multiple platforms).
It turns out that the respondents were split right down the middle. So now, we are trying out something new: giving you two versions of each project to choose from; one using Dreamweaver, and one using Aptana Studio. Here’s are samples from one of our courses.
This week, that ever-wily Deke thinks of an ingenious way to cover your Photoshop tracks. If you recall, last week’s techniques (both the free movie and the members-only video inside the Online Training Library®) were about combining photos of three real-world creatures to create one other-worldly one. But as we all know, no missing link photo is ever going to be credible if it’s not noisy, blurry, and oddly exposed. Turns out, the key is to actually shoot an unstable picture of your Photoshop screen with your camera, then add a few more helpings of weird exposure (inside Camera Raw), grain (the noise filter in Photoshop) and more blur (of the Gaussian variety).
Here is Deke’s final photo-documentation of his pseudo creature:
Editor’s note: Deke’s creature was so elusive that I had to experiment using the technique on another mysterious creature “captured” in its natural environment. For my particular version, I used my iPhone set to HDR mode, pointed it at my screen where I’d paused this week’s video, and twirled the phone to make the motion. Still scary, I think.
Every week there’s a new free technique from Deke. And next week we’ll move from this uncommon creature to a very ordinary Photoshop task: changing the color of a car. And as normal as that sounds, even the everyday task requires good technique. Find out Deke’s technique next week.
Welcome to a new lynda.com video series on InDesign transparency effects. I am so excited to share ways of using InDesign—yes, InDesign—to create cool visual effects that you may have thought you could only get from Photoshop or Illustrator. My favorite techniques are those that are simple but non-intuitive, ones that make sly use of InDesign’s tools in unexpected ways.
To kick things off, this week’s free video shows how to combine blending modes and drop shadows to create a blurred effect. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it unlocks all kinds of interesting design possibilities.
Why would you even want to create a blur in InDesign? I can think of two main reasons.
First, there are times when you’d like a design element to have a soft edge, and none of InDesign’s feathering effects is up to the task. This is especially true in the case of text, where feathering can be difficult to control and can quickly ruin delicate letter shapes. A drop-shadow blur works much better for creating a soft focus on text.
Second, you can use blur to simulate textures and materials with indistinct edges. For example, in this week’s video, I show how to use drop shadow blur to simulate graffiti, so that the Pencil tool becomes essentially like a spray paint tool. I also show how to change text into wispy skywriting and gritty sand (with the help of some digital noise). Check them out:
As with all the techniques I’ll be sharing in this video series, drop-shadow blur is an efficiency booster, because you never have to leave InDesign. Text remains live, editable text. There’s no need to switch back and forth between applications or update linked graphics. There’s no art file to go missing in action. When you need a change, you make it right in your layout. And perhaps best of all, when you do your effects in InDesign, you get to see them in the context of your design. It’s a very natural way of working, that I think you’ll quickly come to appreciate.
I have another video exclusively for lynda.com members available in the Online Training Library® on how to create properly interlocking objects right inside InDesign. And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another free InDesign effect.
• courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®
Since 1995, Mike Rankin has enjoyed working in nearly every aspect of publishing production, including design, project management, layout, illustration, prepress, XML workflow, technical support, and training. Along the line he became an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and InDesign. He blogs at InDesignSecrets.com, writes articles for InDesign Magazine, and speaks at InDesign User Groups and conferences. He’s the author of The InDesignSecrets Guide to the Adobe InDesign ACE Exam and The InDesignSecrets Guide to Graphic Effects. This is his first course for lynda.com.
The Latest releases box on the home page is one of the first stops for many members to find new courses. To make it easier to find courses in the categories that you’re most interested in, we’ve added tabs that let you browse new courses by subject.
Each of the subjects also has its own RSS feed, so you can get notified of the newest releases you care most about. Learn more about RSS in Chapter 1 of the How to use lynda.com course.
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A lot of members have asked us for an easier way to get back to what they were recently learning when they log back in to lynda.com, so we added a My course history section on the home page. Now, you can instantly see the last five courses you’ve watched. Click any course title to go to its table of contents, or click more » to see your entire course history.
To send us your feedback about this and any other site feature, click on the site feedback link on the bottom right of any page on the site. Or visit the contact page and choose the topic you’d like to tell us about from the drop-down menu.