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InDesign FX is a collection of self-contained effects projects designed to be completed in ten minutes or less. Taught by expert Mike Rankin, the series explores every aspect of InDesign's graphic effects capabilities through real-world examples, all without relying on Photoshop or Illustrator. The intent is to reveal the quick, practical, and sometimes surprising application of InDesign effects to creative projects.
In print, on the web, and on TV, shiny graphics are everywhere today. They give a feeling of high-tech polish to a design and they are also really easy to create. Let's see how to use InDesign to create some shiny effects. So when we want to stimulate shine, we need to create an area that seems to reflect light. The easiest way to do this is to just use a paper filled object to create a highlight. So here I just have a simple text frame them with the word Shine in it and I want to make it seem a little reflective. So I'll press the F key on my keyboard to get my Rectangle Frame tool and I'll click-and-drag over the top of it about halfway.
In my Swatches panel I'll fill this new rectangle with Paper and in my Effects panel, I'll reduce the opacity. I'll drag it down to say 25% or so, and deselect. And there you have it, instant shine, as simple as it can be. A variation on this is to use an ellipse instead of a rectangle. So I'll delete the rectangle, I'll press the L key on my keyboard to get my Ellipse tool, and click-and-drag to draw a curve. In my Swatches panel I'll set the fill to Paper and the stroke to None and I'll go back to my Effects panel and reduce that opacity back down to 25% again and deselect.
So just another variation on that shine effect. Let's try something a little more complicated. I made this circle look like it's a glass ball with a shiny reflective highlight on the top and also that it's sitting on a shiny reflective surface using the Gradient Feather tool. Let's see how it's done. So here I have a circle and it's just filled with the blue color, so I'll go to my Swatches panel and to create a little sense of a highlight in a shadow I'll replace the blue fill color with a gradient. I've created this Blue Glass gradient, so it's light blue in the middle and dark blue almost black at the edges.
I'll press the G key on my keyboard to get my Gradient tool and I'll click somewhere up near the top of the circle and drag down. So I'll put the highlight near the top and keep the shadows down near the bottom. I'll switch to my Selection tool, I'll copy the circle, and choose Edit > Paste in Place, or Command+Shift+Option+V, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+V, and I'll change the fill from Blue Glass to Paper. I'll set the reference point to the top center and I'll reduce the width of my new circle to about two thirds of the original.
So we'll say 67% and I'll reduce the height to about 40% of the original. This is going to be my highlight. I'll nudge it down a little bit with the Down Arrow on my keyboard and in the Effects panel I'll reduce the opacity down to say 80%. I'll press Shift+G to get my Gradient Feather tool and I'll click-and-drag straight down, holding the Shift key to constraint. I want to fade this highlight out, and I can keep doing it until I get just the effect that I want. Yeah, that's pretty good. I'll deselect.
Now I want to create that reflection to give it a sense that it's on a shiny surface. So I'll select both objects, I'll set the reference point to the bottom center, and Option+Click, or Alt+Click on the Flip Vertical button in the Control panel. Now I'll press Shift+G again to get my Gradient Feather tool and I'll fade out this reflected copy. I'll start by clicking somewhere around the center of the circle and Shift+Drag down. I'll deselect and there I have my reflection. Now I don't want it exactly touching the circle.
That doesn't look very realistic. So I'll select the reflected copy and nudge it up a little bit with my Arrow tool. There, now it's in place. Let's try another shiny effect. Here we have a series of frames that look like they're sitting in some kind of perfectly reflective black space, sort of like Apple's iTunes Cover Flow effect. We can easily do this in InDesign again with the Gradient Feather tool. So here I have my original photos. I'll select them all, I'll set the Reference Point to the bottom center, and Option+ Click or Alt+Click the Flip Vertical button in the Control panel.
I'll press Shift+G to get my Gradient Feather tool and Shift+Drag down to create my reflections. I'll deselect, and now I just have to nudge them down to create that stair-stepped effect. I'll press the V key to get my Selection tool and I'll Shift+Click to grab the original and the reflection of each copy, and I'll nudge them down and deselect. You can create instant shine just by overlaying an object with a rectangle or ellipse filled with a Paper swatch and reduced in opacity.
For a fancier shine effect use a gradient feather, either applied to a shape like an ellipse, which can create a highlight, or to a flipped copy of the whole object to create a reflection.
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