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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.
Sometimes when you're working with effects, you're just adding a little seasoning here and there to your layout. Other times you may want to throw in everything but the kitchen sink. Let's see how we can combine several different effects to cook up some gooey green slime. So here I have some text and some bubbles sitting on top of this gooey green slime effect and what's going on here are these four different effects that are working in conjunction to create this look. If I click on the text and I bring up the Effects dialog box, you can see what's going on.
So I have a Drop Shadow, an Inner Glow, Bevel and Emboss, and Basic Feather all working together to create the look that this text is just sort of bubbling up from this cauldron of gooey slime. And if we turn them on and off we can see what each one is contributing. The Bevel and Emboss gives me that nice shiny highlight. The Inner Glow gives me a nice blend of light and dark green colors. The Drop Shadow gives me a little sense of depth and the Basic Feather softens the edges.
So it feels like this text is actually sitting in the liquid, and together they all work really nicely. So let's create it from scratch. Here I just have the text with no effects and I'll bring up the Effects dialog box and get to work. I'll start out with the Bevel and Emboss. I'll keep the Inner Bevel with the Technique of Smooth and a Direction of Up and I'll increase the Size to 20 pixels and I'll increase the Altitude. Remember increasing the Altitude gives us shiny effects.
It intensifies that highlight and deemphasizes the shadows. I'll go to about 75 degrees and I'm going to change the Angle, because I want the light to seem like it's coming from the lower right. So I'll change from 120 degrees to -30 degrees and I don't want black shadows here so I'm going to click on the swatch and change it from black to my dark green color. Click OK and I might want to just increase the intensity of the highlight a little bit more so I'll go all the way to 100% Opacity.
Next let's do the Drop Shadow. We'll change from the black swatch to the dark green swatch and we'll take the Opacity down to say 40%. And I want it right behind the text, so Distance should be 0 and I need it bigger. So I'm going to increase from 5 pixels to 20 pixels. I'll make it a little more opaque by adding some Spread and I'll go to the Inner Glow to blend the light and dark green colors. I'll change from the Screen blending mode to Normal and pick my dark green swatch.
So the glow gives me a blend of the light green that I filled the text with and the darker green. I'll set the Opacity at 100% and I'll increase the Size. I'll stick with 30 pixels here and I'll increase the opacity of the dark green color with some Choke. That looks good, 30%. And lastly, I'm going to apply Basic Feather to sort of blend the text with the green color in the background. I'll accept the default values. So there we go, there is our slime. It looks like it's shiny and sitting on top of this green liquid.
Now let's use the same four effects to create some bubbles. I'll take my Ellipse tool and Shift+Drag to create a circle. In my Swatches panel, I'll take off the stroke and I'll set the fill to my light green color. Now let's apply some effects. I will double-click to bring up the dialog box and we'll start again with the Bevel and Emboss. Same idea as with the text. I want to create a nice shiny effect. So I'll keep the Inner Bevel, Smooth, and Up. I'll make it really big, I'll go all the way to 50 pixels, and I'll get rid of that dark shadow by increasing the Altitude. We'll go to 70 degrees and I'll change the black swatch to my dark green swatch.
I'll increase the Opacity of the highlight all the way to 100% just like we do with the text, and then I'll move onto the Drop Shadow settings. I'll decrease the Opacity to 30% and pick my dark green swatch. I want it right behind the bubble, so Distance should be 0. I'll increase the Size a bit to about 15 pixels and I'll make it more opaque with some Spread, about 30%.
Next up, we'll apply the Inner Glow to blend the light and dark green colors. I'll change the Screen blending mode to Normal and pick my dark green swatch again. Increase the Opacity all the way to 100 and I'll change my Technique from Softer to Precise. And I want to increase the Size a bit up to say 20 pixels and make it more opaque with that Choke. 60 might be too much. I'll take it down to 50%.
And lastly, we'll use Basic Feather to blend the edges of the bubble into the surface of our liquid. I'll just increase the Feather Width until it looks right. That's too far. We'll take it down to 20 pixels and click OK. Now we have one bubble. We can make more by Option+Dragging or Alt+Dragging. And if we want to make them of different sizes, we can Command+Shift+Drag or Ctrl+Shift+Drag one of the anchor points. So I can make a big bubble, or I can make a really small one.
To make sure these effects scale properly, let's check our Preferences. We'll choose General preferences > Object Editing > When Scaling and have Adjust Scaling Percentage turned on. That way your effects will scale along with the object. In this video, we saw how to combine no less than four effects to create text doing in a slimy bubbly liquid. What's really fun is seeing how you can make the different effects work together, blending colors, and shadows, and highlights to brew up one potent look.
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