If you’ve watched a few of the videos in the InDesign FX series, you know how useful the Bevel and Emboss effect can be for creating all kinds of interesting looks. The versatile Bevel and Emboss tool allows you to apply both a shadow and a highlight to objects, unlike all the other transparency effects, which offer only a shadow or a highlight.
But one limitation you might encounter with Bevel and Emboss is the fact that you can add only one shadow and one highlight. So if you want to simulate multiple lights shining on an object, you have to come up with a workaround. One way is to use different colors and blending modes to create, in effect, two highlights or two shadows in a single effect.
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.
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.
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.
Published by Mike Rankin | 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.
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.
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.
With that basic set of steps you open up a million other possibilities by incorporating different fonts, glyphs, scaling, and so on.
Use the InDesign Character panel to adjust the settings for each glyph you use.
Another example of using a frame as a vector mask for your selected font.
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.
Published by Mike Rankin | Thursday, January 31st, 2013
In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show you how to create vertically oriented text in Adobe InDesign.
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.
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.
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.
And, as I show in this week’s video, to create perfectly vertical text, you only need to use a perfectly vertical line.
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.
See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!
Published by Mike Rankin | 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.
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.
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.
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.
See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!