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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.
Creating a sense of depth in a design can really bring it to life. Most often you might want to use a Drop Shadow to make something pop up off the page, but occasionally you might want to cut down into an object instead of raising it up. When that's the case, Inner Shadow is the tool of choice. Let's see how it works. Here I have a simple document with a placed photo of some flowers and some text here and I'd like to apply some Inner Shadow to them. First I'll select the photo. I'll go to my Effects panel and double-click at the object level.
I'll click on Inner Shadow and see how it works. So with the default settings of Multiply and black and 75% Opacity I can see that I have a shadow appearing inside my object along the top and left sides. I can increase the distance to increase the shadow. I can also increase the size of the shadow and I can change the angle to move it all the way around the object if I want to. I can also click on Use Global Light to make my lighting effects consistent.
This can be very important if you used other effects like Drop Shadow to make sure your lighting effects all look like they're coming from the same angle. I can apply Choke to intensify the shadow. Choke is the amount of the shadow that set at the full opacity and color. So as I increase the choke, I increase the opacity of the shadow all the way to 100%. That's too far, so I'll take that back down. And it's always good to add a little bit of Noise to a shadow, just to add a little bit of realism, just 1% or 2%.
Now let's apply an Inner Shadow to this text. I'll select the text frame, double-click, and click on Inner Shadow, and since these letter shapes are smaller and more delicate, I need a smaller Inner Shadow. So I'll decrease the Distance and decrease the Size. There, that looks pretty good right away. So I'm getting this sense that I have a blue surface to my design and I've cut through the letter shapes to something white underneath. I'll click OK.
Now let's see something else you can do with Inner Shadow. Here I have some envelopes that I created in InDesign and I was trying to give them a very subtle sense of dimensional, a little bit of life to them. And I used a really large Inner Shadow to create this little darkness around all the edges. So the edges of the envelope are just subtly darker than the center. I just wanted them to seem like they're little bit farther away and there's just a very subtle puffiness to this envelope. Let's see how I did that. So here is the envelope with no effects applied to it. I'll select it, I'll move it out of the way so we can open the dialog box, and I click on Inner Shadow.
I'll keep multiplying with black, but I'll decrease the Opacity down to 20%. I'll increase the Distance a little bit to 10 pixels, I'll keep the same Angle, but I'll really increase the Size to 90 pixels, make a huge Inner Shadow, and a little bit of Noise never hurt when you're looking for realism. So I'll just add 1% Noise and click OK, and there you have it.
Now it definitely looks like the edges of this envelope are just a little bit darker than the middle. It's almost like I've used a gradient fill, but it gives me this nice subtle sense of dimension and just a little more realism than if I just use a flat fill color. With the Inner Shadow effect, you can simulate cutting into an object, creating a sense of depth. You can also use a really big Inner Shadow to give a more subtle sense of dimension to an object, like we did with the envelope.
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