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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.
Bevel and Emboss is the most versatile all of InDesign's effects. The time you spent learning how to use Bevel and Emboss will pay great dividends because you can use this effect in so many different situations. Whether you're trying to simulate chiseled steel, shiny plastic, or plain water, Bevel and Emboss is the main ingredient you need to cook up an awesome effect. So here I can see the four different styles of InDesign's Bevel and Emboss effect. I have an Inner Bevel, an Outer Bevel, an Emboss, and a Pillow Emboss.
Let's see how this work. Here I have four circles filled with yellow on a yellow background, so I can just see the plain effect, and I have the four different styles of Bevel and Emboss applied to the circles. The first one uses an Outer Bevel, so inside the circle there is nothing going on, but there is a highlight and a shadow outside the circle. The next one uses an Inner Bevel. There is a highlight and a shadow inside the circle. The third one uses Emboss, so there is a highlight both inside and outside the circle, and same with the shadow, inside and outside.
The last one uses Pillow Emboss, where the difference between Emboss and Pillow Emboss is on the outside of the object the direction of the shadow and highlight is reversed, so in this case I have a shadow outside the object on top and a highlight underneath. So it looks like I'm punching down into the material here, whereas with a regular Emboss it looks like I'm pushing up through the material. Let's take a look at some of the controls in the Bevel and Emboss dialog box. I'll select these shapes and open my Effects panel and I'll apply Bevel and Emboss.
Right now I'm using an Inner Bevel, and I'll keep that. I'll increase the Size, so I can see the shadows and highlights a little bit more. As I increase the Size, you can see I increase the highlights and the shadows. Right now I am using a technique of Smooth where I have blurry highlights and shadows, but I can also choose Chisel Hard, where I can see shadows and highlights follow the edges of the objects exactly, or Chisel Soft, which is similar but even more intense. I will go back to Smooth right now.
I can change the direction, from Up to Down. When I choose Up, I have my highlights in the direction of the Angle. So right now my Angle of lighting comes from the top-left, and that's where my highlights are. But if I change the Direction to Down, I invert it so my shadows are coming from the angle of the light. I'll switch it back to Up. If I choose one of the Chisel techniques, Chisel Hard or Chisel Soft, sometimes I see these lines appear and I may not want that. If you don't like these lines, you can use Soften to eliminate them.
As I increase the Soften, I'll blur the highlights and shadows a little bit and get rid of those lines. If I want to decrease the opacity of the effect, hiding the highlights and shadows, that's what I can do with the Depth command. As I decrease the Depth, I decrease the opacity of the effect, making it something more subtle. For Shading I can control the Angle and Altitude of the highlights and shadows, so I can move them all around the object by changing the Angle and I can control the Altitude of the light source.
At a low Altitude I get very dark intense shadows and weak highlights and at a high altitude I get an intense bright highlights and weak shadows. So I will increase the Altitude and I see the shadows go away and the highlights become very bright. I will decrease the Altitude and the shadows come back and the highlights become weak. I can also control the color and blending mode of the highlights and shadows independently. So I can pick blending modes from the pop-up menu and I can pick swatches from these little boxes.
I can also control the opacity of the shadows and highlights, so I could have just a highlight and no shadow. If I wanted that, I can click on the Opacity of the shadow and change it to 0. Now the shadows go away and I just have a highlight. So I have complete control over the Bevel and Emboss effect. Let's see how we would use it to simulate a real-world material, like gold. Here I have some text and I wanted to make it look like it was molded out of gold, so I used the Bevel and Emboss effect for that.
I'll click on the Clear Effects and we'll create this from scratch. I'll double-click on the text and I'll apply Bevel and Emboss. I'll choose Inner Bevel, and for the technique, I want Chisel Hard, because this is chiseled out of a metal. I'll leave the direction as Up. I'll increase the size a little bit, to say 11 pixels. I think that works good for this particular font and size. I will decrease the Altitude because I like a little bit of a darker Shadow, and in this case I actually don't want any highlight. I want some dramatic lighting, so I want two shadows instead of Shadow and Highlight.
I can do that by changing the Highlight blending mode from Screen to Multiply and changing the swatch from Paper to black. I'll click OK and there I have it, some gold text courtesy of the Bevel and Emboss effect. With all due respect to the Drop Shadow, Bevel and Emboss is hands down the most versatile of InDesign's effects. You can create dimension and texture with shadows and highlights using any color, size, angle, and blending mode you choose. You can make any effect from chiseled stone to clear water, with Bevel and Emboss.
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