Author Archive

InDesign FX: Creating looks without fill

Published by | Thursday, April 11th, 2013

If this week’s InDesign FX video leaves you with an “empty” feeling, don’t worry—that’s exactly what we’re aiming for, as we explore “no fill” effects in Adobe InDesign.

IDFX_episode44_01

InDesign FX: Creating a Theater Marquee

Published by | Thursday, March 28th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, we’re headed to the movies as I show how to create lettering that resembles a theater marquee.

IDFX_episode43_01

This effect highlights one of the ideas I keep coming back to in the InDesign FX series: in order to make a realistic-looking effect, you have to start with a real-life reference. So before I did anything in Adobe InDesign, I searched the web for photos of theater signs. I found many examples with thick translucent red plastic letters, hung from two rails stretching across the signs horizontally.

InDesign FX: How to create a puzzle with InDesign

Published by | Thursday, March 14th, 2013

How to create a puzzle effect using InDesign

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to use Adobe InDesign to divide an image into several pieces that fit together like a puzzle. This would be a pretty tedious chore to manually create all these separate frames and then position the images correctly inside them.

Fortunately, there is an easier way to create this effect.

InDesign FX: How to create interesting text effects in InDesign

Published by | Thursday, February 28th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to create a variety of interesting text effects using paragraph rules within Adobe InDesign.

InDesign FX: How to add fancy ornamental frames to placed images

Published by | Thursday, February 14th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to add fancy ornamental frames to placed images in Adobe InDesign.

More than any clever technique, this effect highlights the idea of using the resources you already have handy to create unique and interesting graphics, so you don’t have to draw them. Specifically, the fancy frames are made from a simple solid stroke embellished with a series of characters from the Adobe Wood Type Ornaments font.

Use the Adobe Wood Type Ornaments font to create unique and interesting graphics

In the video, I start by making a copy of the frame containing the photo. This way I can place the ornaments in the duplicate frame and know they will be positioned precisely where I want them over the photo.

Then it’s time to find a suitable ornament. Here, you can think of the Glyphs panel like a library of clip art. You probably already have several dingbat, symbol, or ornamental fonts at your fingertips, each containing hundreds of interesting shapes.

Use the Glyphs panel in Adobe InDesign to help find a suitable font

After selecting a single interesting glyph, you can scale and duplicate it to make a series of ornaments, and then use a frame as a vector mask to crop the glyphs and show just the parts you want for the picture frame.

Use a frame that contains your favorite glyph as a vector mask.

Use a frame that contains your favorite glyph as a vector mask.

With that basic set of steps you open up a million other possibilities by incorporating different fonts, glyphs, scaling, and so on.

Use InDesign's Character panel to adjust the settings for each glyph

Use the InDesign Character panel to adjust the settings for each glyph you use.

Another example of a text frame filled with a Wood Type Ornament font

Another example of using a frame as a vector mask for your selected font.

Final example of using a font to create a unique effect

The final effect, created entirely in InDesign.

I also have a member-exclusive video in the lynda.com library this week called Framing photos in letters. It shows you how to use merged letter shapes as photo frames.

How to use merged letter shapes as photoframes

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign FX biweekly series
• Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign Secrets
InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• InDesign CS6 New Features

InDesign FX: How to create vertically oriented text in Adobe InDesign

Published by | Thursday, January 31st, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to create vertically oriented text in Adobe InDesign.

Example of vertical text similar to the text effect in The Matrix movie

Normally, InDesign doesn’t allow you to set text vertically inside of a text frame. You could fake it by inserting line breaks after each letter, but that’s pretty tedious and it breaks up the words.

Example of trying to fake the vertical text by using line breaks

But if you place your text on a path, you can set vertical text quickly and preserve it as actual words. The key is to use the Type on a Path option called Stair Step.

The Stair Step option keeps each letter oriented vertically at its position along the path. If you use Stair Step with a straight diagonal path, you get text that looks like it could be walking up or down stairs.

Example of stair step text

If you use it with a curved path, you can create some interesting effects where text slides and swirls around the page, but remains very readable because the letter shapes don’t rotate with the path.

Example of text on a curved path

Another example of text on a curved path

And, as I show in this week’s video, to create perfectly vertical text, you only need to use a perfectly vertical line.

Final example of vertical text in InDesign

I also have a member-exclusive video in the lynda.com library this week called Achieving a developing Polaroid effect. It shows how to add some old-school fun to an image by adding a Polaroid-like border and then animating the image so it slowly becomes visible.

Achieving a developing Polaroid effect

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

Interested in more?
• Start a free trial membership at lynda.com
• The entire InDesign FX biweekly series
• Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign Secrets
InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• InDesign CS6 New Features

InDesign FX: How to use Type on a Path to skew text

Published by | Thursday, January 17th, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to use one of the Type on a Path options in Adobe InDesign to skew text to match other elements in your page compositions.

Add text to your image.

In this case, I wanted to skew type to match the perspective in a background photograph to emphasize the height of some very tall trees. There are no official 3D perspective tools in InDesign, but for type there is a very handy substitute: the Type on a Path option called Gravity.

Type on a Path Options

When text is placed on a path and the Gravity option is applied, the letter shapes are skewed along an axis that goes from the baseline of the text through the center of the frame.

Letter shapes are skewed when the Gravity option is applied

There are two practical effects of this behavior. First, you can use the Gravity option to simulate one point perspective applied to text. Second, you can adjust the amount of skewing (and thus perspective) by changing the height or width of the frame.

In the video, I place a rectangular frame over the background photo, and use the Type on a Path tool to place the text on the edge of the frame. With the text at the bottom of the frame (and the Gravity option applied) I drag the top of the frame to change its height until the angle of the skewing matches the perspective of the trees in the photo.

I also have a member-exclusive video in the lynda.com library this week called Creating and revealing a hidden object. In it, I show how to use the animation tools in InDesign to make one object look like it is revolving around another.

How to create the effect of revealing a hidden object.

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

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign FX biweekly series
• Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign Secrets
InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• InDesign CS6 New Features

InDesign FX: Creating paper cutout letters

Published by | Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show how to create the effect of letters cut out of paper.

The final effect of letters cut out of paper.

The key elements to achieving this look include a combination of two transparency effects (Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow), a bit of vector masking courtesy of the Paste Into command, and your own creativity in scattering the letter shapes for some carefully composed “randomness.”

The cutout effect begins with a simple line of text.

The effect begins with a simple line of text.

The text is then converted to outlines and filled with a photo to simulate a surface beneath the paper. In this case, I chose a wood-grain texture. A small Inner Shadow applied to the letter shapes creates the effect of looking through the cutout letter shapes.

The text is converted to outlines and filled with a photo.

Adding a small inner shadow to create the cut out effect.

A second copy of the text outline is filled with a light black tint and given a small drop shadow. Then everything is placed atop a large frame filled with the same black tint to simulate a sheet of paper.

Fill a second copy of the text outlines with black and a drop shadow.

Close-up view of the second copy.

The final step of this effect is where you get to exercise the most creativity—scattering the letters by moving and rotating them.

Get creative with how you scatter the cut out letters.

Another nice thing about this technique: you can use it with any vector shapes you have or bring into Adobe InDesign from another application (like Adobe Illustrator).

Using any vector shape with this cut out effect.

I also have a member-exclusive movie in the lynda.com library this week called Applying multiple strokes with layers. In this video I show two variations on how to create multilayered text by applying combinations of varying strokes and shadows.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

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

Interested in more?
• The entire InDesign FX biweekly series
• Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com
• All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:
InDesign Secrets weekly series
InDesign CS6 Essential Training
• InDesign CS6 New Features
Deke’s Techniques