Posts Tagged ‘Drawing with InDesign’

InDesign FX: Perspective drawing and 3D shapes

Published by | Thursday, April 19th, 2012

This week’s free video reminds me of one of the key points I always try to make clear right from the start when I’m speaking about InDesign effects: always be sure you’re using the right tool for the job. When it comes to drawing tools, especially ones that can be used for creating 3D effects, Illustrator and Photoshop have InDesign beat by a mile. So if you have Illustrator and Photoshop at your disposal, and you need to create a detailed 3D graphic quickly, don’t hesitate to use them. But, if you don’t have those applications handy, or you just need a relatively simple 3D object, you can draw one from scratch using InDesign and a little knowledge of perspective.

To be truthful, “drawing” might be a bit of an overstatement. Really you’re just using InDesign to create lines of perspective that you can trace with a few clicks of the mouse. No artistic skill is required. In this tutorial I demonstrate both one-point and two-point perspective drawing.

One point perspective is useful for creating the effect of looking straight at an object that recedes to a single point on the horizon. Think of standing in the middle of a straight section of road or train tracks. Even though the sides of the road surface or tracks are parallel, they seem to converge in the distance.

To create the lines of perspective, I start with a triangle. It may be just three black lines, but with your imagination, you can start to see it as that road or train tracks leading to the horizon.

Start of a single-point persepctive InDesign drawing.

To make these three black lines into the surface of an object, use the Pathfinder tools to subtract a rectangle from the triangle. This rectangle will serve as the top surface of your 3D drawing.

Start of a single-point persepctive InDesign drawing.

Rectabgle extracted using InDesign Pathfinder tool.

With the top surface in hand, flip and copy the rectangle to make the front, and then vary the fill color and the height of each object to make anything from a pizza box, to a tall tower.

Examples of three 3D drawings made with InDesign.

Our other option, two-point perspective, is useful when you want to simulate looking at the corner of an object. To create this effect, the sides of your object each need to have their own horizon point that they seem to recede towards. So instead of using one triangle as a guide, use two.

The start of a two-point perspective InDesign drawing.

After locking the triangles, use the Pen tool to trace the lines of perspective to create the sides of your 3D object.

Tracing the lines of two-point perspective to create the sides of your InDesign 3D object.

From there, it’s just a couple steps, including the addition of some Satin effect, to create lime Jell-O. Who wants dessert?

Green two-point perspective 3D object created in InDesign.

For lynda.com members, I also have an exclusive InDesign FX video this week called Drawing 3D Banners in which I show how to create a folded banner effect. This effect has been rather trendy lately and you may have seen it in action in print or on the web.

Example of 3D folded banner created in InDesign.

This is another effect that requires no special artistic skills, just a little patience and a desire to make something fun.

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

 

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

 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

InDesign FX: Drawing with the Pathfinder commands

Published by | Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

This week’s free InDesign FX video really takes me back in time. Way back to the days before I’d ever even used a computer, when I was first learning how to draw. My tools then were just a pencil, a piece of paper, and those “How To Draw” books. The greatest thing that I learned from those books was that a drawing of any subject can begin with the simplest of shapes. With an oval, I had the beginnings of a lion. With a triangle, I had the start of a rocket. In every case, the trick was to learn how to see the simple shapes hiding in a complex subject.

In this week’s video, I show how you can apply this same idea to drawing in InDesign by using the Shape tools and Pathfinder commands. To illustrate this idea, I create a precise gear shape using nothing more than a couple circles, a few triangles, and the Pathfinder Subtract command.

A gear shape created with basic InDesign shapes
A gear shape created with basic InDesign shapes

While you probably won’t find yourself drawing gears every day unless you need to render a lot of bicycle illustrations, the gear is great practice for recognizing how to create whatever shapes you need with Pathfinder commands.

I also demonstrate in the video how you can use InDesign Pathfinder commands to create design elements that fit together. In this case, two frames that follow the same curves to convey the sense of an ocean wave.

Two InDesign frames that convey the sense of an ocean wave

If you want to take this technique a step further, making cool shapes is not all you can do with the Pathfinder panel. You can also use it to solve a problem that occurs if you try to put text in a frame that has been transformed. Here, the text appears flipped, along with the frame that contains it.

Backwards text in an InDesign frame that has been transformed

This is a job for the Add command! Using the Add command, you can create a new, untransformed shape so the text displays correctly.

Using the InDesign Add command to create text that displays in transformed images correctly

For lynda.com members, I also have another new video this week in the online training library called Transform Again Tips and Tricks. In that video I discuss how to use the Transform Sequence Again command to repeat a number of transformations and create effects like this awesome retro zoom effect.

InDesign retro zoom effect

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

 

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX weekly series on lynda.com
• All InDesign courses on lynda.com
• All courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com

 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