InDesign FX: Creating metallic chrome effects

Published by | Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

In this week’s free-to-all InDesign FX video, I show how you can use gradients to create different chrome effects. A shiny metallic chrome effect is a great demonstration of the powers of a simple gradient fill like this one:

InDesign chrome gradient fill

I’ll show you how to use a linear gradient to create a convincing chrome look in any InDesign object or live text with as few as four color stops. There’s no need to invoke InDesign’s transparency effects at all. The key is to simply drag the gradient stops very close together, so they’re nearly touching, to create a point somewhere in the gradient where colors shift abruptly.

Setting InDesign gradient stops close

When gradient stops rub elbows, an abrupt change in color happens, and that is what creates the illusion of chrome. Most commonly chrome gradients include some blue to represent a reflection of the sky, and some brown or black to represent a reflection of the ground, but feel free to take this idea and run with it. Experiment with various tints and colors to make your own chrome gradients, and remember, you can click and drag with the Gradient tool to apply your chrome gradient over any length and at any angle of your choosing.

If learning chrome effects doesn’t satisfy your shiny-object wishes, I have another new video this week exclusively for members of the lynda.com Online Training Library® called Creating Glass and Plastic Effects. Here’s an example of the glass effect discussed in the member-exclusive course:

InDesign glass effect

Happy shiny-object Holidays from InDesign FX. See you here again in two weeks!

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
 InDesign Secrets
Designing a Newsletter Hands-On Workshop
Photoshop for Designers: Layer Effects

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