InDesign FX: Exploring Inner Shadow settings

Published by | Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Using shadows to create a sense of depth in a design can really bring it to life and make it pop. Most often you might employ effects like Drop Shadow or Bevel and Emboss to make elements seem like they’re lifted up off the page (or screen). But you can also add depth by going in the opposite direction, down into a design, with the help of the Inner Shadow effect. In this week’s video I show how to use the settings in the Inner Shadow dialog box to make it look like objects are sitting at a lower level than their surroundings.

Example of inner Shadow used to make an object appear lower than its surroundings

Inner Shadow can also be very effective for making text seem like it’s cut out of an object.

Example of inner shadow used to make text appear cut out

In the video, I also show how to apply a big, soft inner shadow to give a more subtle sense of dimension to something like this envelope.

Envelope with big, soft inner shadow to give it subtle dimension

We tend to think that lighter objects are closer than darker objects, so darkening the edges of the envelope just slightly makes the middle of the envelope seem to puff up toward the viewer.

For members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® that explores Drop Shadow settings, including how to add noise to an object, like I’ve done to this object below:

Object with noises added by InDesign Drop Shadow settings

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

Interested in more?
InDesign FX complete course
• Courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library®
• Courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Designing a Magazine Layout Hands-On Workshop
• InDesign CS5 New Features
InDesign Secrets

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2 Responses to “InDesign FX: Exploring Inner Shadow settings”

  1. I tried the whole word long shadow effect you did on the text in InDesign and I couldn’t reproduce it.

  2. Mike Rankin says:

    If you’re having trouble with applying Inner Shadow to text, it may be because of the level at which you’ve applied the effect. In the video, I applied it at the Object level, which works because the text frame has no fill. If there were a fill, the inner shadow would be applied to the frame and not the text. If instead you apply the shadow at the Text level, it will work whether or not there’s a fill on the frame.

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