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InDesign FX
Illustration by John Hersey

018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings


From:

InDesign FX

with Mike Rankin

Video: 018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings

The Drop Shadow effect allows you to create a shadow in the shape of an object. The effect helps lend a three- dimensional feel to a design, lifting an object up off the page or screen. You can control the color, distance, and size of the shadow to simulate lighting of varying intensity and angle. It's a very versatile and popular effect, but it can be overused and it's very easy to overdo. So just make sure your Drop Shadows are supportive players, not the main attraction, and they'll really adds some welcome pop to your designs. Let's see how they work.
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  1. 7h 34m
    1. 000 Welcome to InDesign FX
      2m 42s
    2. 001 Blurring Objects with Drop Shadows
      6m 26s
    3. 002 Creating Interlocking Objects
      3m 46s
    4. 003 Exploring the Effects Panel
      8m 43s
    5. 004 Creating Long Text Shadows with Type on a Path
      4m 23s
    6. 005 Making Shiny Effects
      4m 46s
    7. 006 Producing Slime
      6m 22s
    8. 007 Exploring Bevel and Emboss Settings
      5m 34s
    9. 008 Exploring Inner Glow Settings
      2m 9s
    10. 009 Building Better Bevels
      3m 16s
    11. 010 Punching Holes
      4m 26s
    12. 011 Exploring Basic Feather Settings
      2m 52s
    13. 012 Exploring Directional Feather Settings
      5m 15s
    14. 013 Getting Effects into Print
      8m 10s
    15. 014 Getting Effects into Ebooks
      4m 32s
    16. 015 Simulating a Polaroid Effect
      3m 15s
    17. 016 Creating Metallic Strokes
      3m 18s
    18. 017 Exploring Inner Shadow Settings
      3m 50s
    19. 018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings
      6m 15s
    20. 019 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 1
      3m 59s
    21. 020 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 2
      3m 29s
    22. 021 Creating Metallic Chrome Effects
      3m 56s
    23. 022 Creating Glass and Plastic Effects
      4m 49s
    24. 023 Exploring Satin Settings
      6m 57s
    25. 024 Exploring Gradient Feather Settings
      3m 51s
    26. 025 Simulating Carving and Chiseling
      6m 42s
    27. 026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space
      8m 2s
    28. 027 Drawing Extrusions, Part 1
      5m 25s
    29. 028 Drawing Concentric Shapes
      3m 17s
    30. 029 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 1
      5m 29s
    31. 030 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 2
      4m 6s
    32. 031 Drawing Star Bursts
      6m 7s
    33. 032 Scaling effects
      3m 0s
    34. 033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks
      9m 10s
    35. 034 Learning Transform Again Tips and Tricks
      6m 39s
    36. 035 Creating Cast Shadows, Part 1
      5m 27s
    37. 036 Exploring Outer Glow Settings
      6m 45s
    38. 037 Understanding Perspective Drawing
      4m 38s
    39. 038 Drawing 3D Banners
      3m 23s
    40. 039 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 1
      6m 41s
    41. 040 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 2
      6m 20s
    42. 041 Simulating a Ripped Background
      1m 53s
    43. 042 Creating a Breakthrough Effect
      2m 10s
    44. 043 Creating Spotlight Effects
      2m 22s
    45. 044 Backlighting an Object
      6m 8s
    46. 045 Simulating Stickers and Tape
      4m 23s
    47. 046 Creating Burnt Edges
      6m 26s
    48. 047 Creating Seamless Patterns
      8m 39s
    49. 048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes
      6m 40s
    50. 049 Simulating Liquid
      2m 48s
    51. 050 Creating Editable Knockout Text
      5m 52s
    52. 051 Making Peeling Stickers
      5m 42s
    53. 052 Tips for Text Stroke Effects
      6m 44s
    54. 053 Creating 3D arrows
      3m 37s
    55. 054 Creating personal buttons
      4m 22s
    56. 055 Simulating leather with bevel and emboss
      4m 17s
    57. 056 Creating the effect of a magnifying glass
      4m 20s
    58. 057 Simulating a college notebook
      6m 11s
    59. 058 Using multiple effects to create plastic type
      3m 58s
    60. 059 Achieving a rough-hewn look
      2m 28s
    61. 060 Creating speech bubbles
      2m 41s
    62. 061 Creating buttons for interaction
      4m 37s
    63. 062 Creating wraparound headings
      5m 46s
    64. 063 Creating picture frames
      3m 24s
    65. 064 Customizing stroke styles
      5m 19s
    66. 065 Creating photo corners
      3m 44s
    67. 066 Making new shadow effects
      3m 19s
    68. 067 Making 3D type
      3m 15s
    69. 068 Making a 3D object
      5m 13s
    70. 069 Making translucent objects
      3m 10s
    71. 070 Mocking up a film strip
      4m 53s
    72. 071 Showing graphics as tiles
      3m 41s
    73. 072 Simulating chalk
      3m 7s
    74. 073 Using drop- and inner-shadows to create a cutout effect
      4m 30s
    75. 074 Applying multiple strokes with layers
      7m 1s
    76. 075 Enhancing design with skewed text
      3m 59s
    77. 076 Creating and revealing hidden objects
      3m 33s
    78. 077 Setting text vertically
      2m 51s
    79. 078 Achieving a developing Polaroid effect
      3m 38s
    80. 079 Creating ornamental frames
      5m 54s
    81. 080 Framing photos in letters
      4m 19s
    82. 081 Creating effects with paragraph rules
      3m 30s
    83. 082 Putting curved shadows on paper
      2m 40s
    84. 083 Building a puzzle
      2m 16s
    85. 084 Applying a gradient to text
      2m 2s
    86. 085 Creating a theater marquee
      4m 38s
    87. 086 Centering type on a curve
      2m 33s
    88. 087 Creating looks without fill
      2m 31s
    89. 088 Creating spiral patters from random lines
      3m 11s
    90. 089 Creating highlights at top and bottom
      3m 24s
    91. 090 Combining stroke styles
      2m 11s
    92. 091 Making a bottle cap
      1m 47s
    93. 092 Creating a 3D bevel effect behind a cover
      3m 30s
    94. 094 Making trading cards
      4m 43s
    95. 093 Creating custom frames
      2m 11s
    96. 095 Revolving an item around an object
      2m 44s
    97. 096 Creating old-fashioned spotlights
      2m 12s
    98. 097 Creating a rust effect
      1m 44s
    99. 098 Creating sparkle
      1m 54s
    100. 099 Double beveling text
      2m 24s
    101. 100 Creating a 3D pocket with bevel and gradient
      3m 2s
    102. 101 Creating metallic text
      3m 7s
    103. 102 Creating stained glass
      2m 53s
    104. 103 Bobbling a photograph
      4m 47s
    105. 104 Creating a lighted sign
      3m 9s

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InDesign FX
7h 34m Intermediate Aug 04, 2011 Updated Aug 01, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subjects:
Design Design Techniques
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Mike Rankin

018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings

The Drop Shadow effect allows you to create a shadow in the shape of an object. The effect helps lend a three- dimensional feel to a design, lifting an object up off the page or screen. You can control the color, distance, and size of the shadow to simulate lighting of varying intensity and angle. It's a very versatile and popular effect, but it can be overused and it's very easy to overdo. So just make sure your Drop Shadows are supportive players, not the main attraction, and they'll really adds some welcome pop to your designs. Let's see how they work.

So here I have a simple document with a placed picture of some flowers and some text and I'd like to apply some Drop Shadows to these things. First thing I'm going to do is open a second window, so I can see the effect in action more clearly. So I'm going to choose Window > Arrange > New Window and I'll drag the divider over to the left, so I have one big window and one small one. I'll select the picture of the flowers and one interesting thing about Drop Shadow is because it's so popular, it's the only effect that comes with a built-in keyboard shortcut, Command+ Option+M or Ctrl+Alt+M, to bring up the dialog box.

So, here we have our default settings for our Drop Shadow, and if we look at them they look really too dark. In most cases, 75% Opacity is really dark for a Drop Shadow and the Distance of almost 10 pixels in this Angle of 135 degrees is usually too far from an object. Again, a subtle Drop Shadow is often the most effective one. So let's take this opacity down to say 40% and reduce the Distance down a few pixels. that's looking a little bit more like a realistic Drop Shadow.

If I want to, I can increase the Size, but I'll keep it at 5 pixels. I can also increase the Spread. The Spread is the amount of the Drop Shadow that set at the full color and opacity up here in the Blending settings. So right now 0% of the shadow is 40% opaque, but if I increase the Spread all the way to 100%, now 100% of that Drop Shadow is 40% black. I'll take that back down. Maybe 10% would look good here.

A little Noise is almost always advised when you use a Drop Shadow. 1 or 2% will do. This just adds a little randomness and breaks up the affect and makes it look a lot more real and a little less digital. I'll keep these settings for the Drop Shadow on my flowers. Now I'll select the text frame. I'll press Command+Option+M, Ctrl+Alt+M to bring up the dialog box and again I have my default settings. This time I'll just reduce the Opacity to 40% and I'll decrease the Distance a little bit.

That looks pretty good to me. I'm going to increase that spread to say 10%. A subtle Drop Shadow just helping to lift that type off the page a little bit. And of course a little bit a Noise, and I'll click OK. I'm going to select the picture of the flowers again and bring the dialog box back up, because I want to show you a couple of important settings. The first one I'm going to talk about is Shadow Honors Other Effects. It's off by default. Now if I apply another effect of this picture of the flowers, something like say a Gradient Feather, here I've applied a Gradient Feather to make the photo seem like it's almost in a round picture frame.

I used a radial gradient. Most of the picture is opaque, but for the last 10%, I made that transparent. So it has this nice rounded effect, but see the problem. The Drop Shadow still thinks it's in a square frame. it's not honoring this gradient feather effect. So I can go back to the Drop Shadow Settings and click on Shadow Honors Other Effects, and now InDesign is paying attention to that Gradient Feather and using it when it calculates the Drop Shadow. That's pretty cool.

There's another setting I want to draw your attention to in the dialog box. I'll select these circles and press Command+Option+M again to bring the dialog box back up. This setting is Object Knocks Out Shadow, and I can see there is a minus sign here, so it tells me that I have multiple settings selected with these objects. Some of them are using Object Knocks Out Shadow and some of them are not. Let's cancel out and I'll just click on these darker circles on the top and bring up the dialog box. These ones are not knocking out their shadow.

They use the exact same color fill as the bottom circles. Now why do they look different? Well, that's because all of these circles are using a transparency blending mode that's not the normal blending mode. They all use Hard Light. Hard Light tends to saturate colors and intensify highlights and shadows. The interesting thing here is because I unchecked Object Knocks Out Shadow for these top circles, the color of the fill of the circles is blending with its own Drop Shadow.

This is really interesting because usually it takes at least two objects for a blending mode to take effect. A foreground object and a background object. But in this case by not knocking out the Drop Shadow and making the fill color of the circles blend with its own Drop Shadow, I'm also adding some texture to the objects with the same setting. If I zoom in, I can see that there's some noise, adding a nice little texture here. That noise is coming from the Drop Shadow. I'll bring the dialog box backup again, and I can see that I have 20% noise.

If I change this setting I can change the texture. I'll increase it. Or decrease it to make something more subtle, like 20%. With Drop Shadow you can quickly create a 3-dimensional feel to a design. By varying the size and darkness of the shadow, you can control how far objects appear from each other and the direction of the light source, but a little caution is advised. A little Drop Shadow goes a long way. It's easy to go too far making shadows, too big, too dark, or too far from the objects they're attached to.

Often the most effective drop shadows are small and subtle ones.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign FX.


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