InDesign FX: How to create a Polaroid picture effect

Published by | Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Say cheese! In this week’s video I show how to make a photo look like it was taken with a Polaroid instant camera.

Example of InDesign Poloroid project creation

The key to the effect is using Directional Feather to create an unequal stroke around the photo, where the bottom stroke is much thicker than the stroke on the top and sides. This is not only a fun exercise, but it’s also useful for learning about two important (and somewhat obscure) Effects dialog box settings: Choke, and Shadow Honors Other Effects.

The Polaroid effect is also useful for illustrating how your scaling preferences affect your effects. In General Preferences > Object Editing > When Scaling, you have two choices: Apply to Content, and Adjust Scaling Percentage.

Example of Object Editing options in InDesign

Apply to Content essentially tells InDesign “don’t scale FX.” No matter how large or small you scale an object, its FX remains fixed in size. So in this case, the width of the Directional Feather doesn’t change along with the photo and you get undesirable results. However, if you choose Adjust Scaling Percentage, your FX will scale along with the object. So the width of the Directional Feather stays in proportion to the photo and all is well.

Example of Adjust Scaling Percentage in InDesign Poloroid project

After you get the hang of the Polaroid effect, you can try this bonus technique (not shown in the video). Place a large photo on the page, arrange several empty Polaroid frames on top of the photo, then cut the photo and use the Paste Into command to paste it into each Polaroid frame.

Poloroid picture project created with InDesign

For members, I have another new video this week focused on creating metallic strokes, like the ones you see below. This video, and the entire InDesign FX series, can be viewed any time from the Online Training Library®.

Metallic strokes created with InDesign

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?
the entire InDesign FX series in the Online Training Library®
courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®
courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

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