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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.
You can stroke objects with something that looks like it's made out of metal in two ways. For simple things like straight lines, you can use a gradient stroke; for more complex objects you can use the Bevel and Emboss effect to be bending metal like a blacksmith in no time. Here I have a set of objects filled with metallic gradients that I borrowed from Illustrator. I just filled objects in Illustrator with these gradients, copied and pasted them into my InDesign layout. And if I go to my Swatches panel, I can see now I have all these cool metallic gradients to work with, blue steel, brass, bronze, copper, gold and so on, really cool.
Let's put them to use. So I'd like to put this pirate in jail for some crime she's committed. So I'm going to create some jail bars using the metallic gradient for a stroke. I'll select my Line tool and click and drag from the top to the bottom of my document, holding the Shift key to constrain it and make a perfectly straight bar. In the Control panel I'll increase the width of the stroke from 1 pixel to 40 pixels, to make a nice sturdy jail bar. Then I'll go to my Swatches panel, target the stroke, and apply this jail bars gradient, a nice gray gradient metallic stroke.
I'll press the V key to switch to my selection tool, move the jail bar over to the left side of the document, and now I'll make a bunch of them. I'll hold down the Option or Alt key and drag across the document. I'll press the up arrow key a few times to create some extra jail bars and when I reach the right side, that looks pretty good. I'll let go. Voila! Instant jail. You can also create metallic strokes using the Bevel and Emboss feature. Here I have a number of objects that I made look like they are made out of copper, using the Bevel and Emboss.
Let's see how it's done. Here are the plain objects with no effect applied to them, I'll drag over them to select them, bring up the Effects panel, double-click to open the Effects dialog box, and I'll apply Bevel and Emboss. I'll choose Inner Bevel with a technique of Chisel Hard in the direction above. I'll increase the size a little bit, to say 11 pixels. I think that works good at this size. I'll decrease the Altitude to make the shadows a little bit darker. I'll go down to 25 degrees.
And for making metallic strokes, I think a really cool technique is to use two shadows instead of a highlight and a shadow. The way we do that is to change the blending mode of the highlight from Screen to Multiply and change the swatch from Paper to black. I'll click OK, and OK. And deselect. And now it looks like all these objects are made out of copper. The cool thing is now I can make new objects using the same metallic stroke. If I select my Pen tool, click and drag a few times to make some wavy lines and then I can press the I key on my keyboard to get the eyedropper and suck up this stroke and effect from one of my other objects, and deselect. Voila! An instant bendy copper pipe.
You can create a metallic stroke effect by applying a solid base stroke color like gold or steel gray or copper, and then beveling the stroke to create shadows and highlights. You can also borrow metallic gradients from Illustrator, copy and paste them into InDesign, and then use them to create all kinds of metallic effects.
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