InDesign FX: Drawing starbursts and sun rays

Published by | Thursday, March 8th, 2012

In this week’s free video, I shed a little light on drawing starbursts and sun rays directly in InDesign. You can draw these fun shapes quickly and precisely by starting with a very simple shape like a triangle.

The start of an InDesign starburst

In this case, the triangle represents a single ray of sun light in one-point perspective. To make the rest of the rays, you simply duplicate the original shape, rotate it, and then use the Transform Again command to create all the copies you want.

InDesign Startburst example

In the video, I show you how to add a little scaling, and a little masking via of the Paste Into command, to end up with a sunrise over fields of green.

InDesign sunburst project: Graphic sunrise over field of green

When it comes to starbursts, you can easily create simple ones with InDesign’s Polygon tool. But if you’re willing to invest a small amount of extra time to use the Rotate + Transform Again method, you give yourself many more options, including, the ability to create multi-colored starbursts. You can also use more complex starter shapes, and rotate multiple shapes at once to create interesting patterns within the starburst.

Multi-color InDesign starburst

For members, I also have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® called Scaling effects. In Scaling effects I discuss how to scale objects that have Bevel and Emboss applied to them so that the Bevel and Emboss effects scale with the object itself.

Scaling to include Bevel and Emboss effects in InDesign

I also discuss those other times when you might want to scale just the object and not the Bevel or Emboss effects, and I show you how you can have it either way.

Scaling objects—but not their effects—in InDesign


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


Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on
• All courses by Mike Rankin on

 Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
Creating Long Documents with InDesign
• InDesign Styles in Depth
InDesign CS4: 10 Habits of Highly Effective Pros

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