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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Anne-Marie Concepcion: If you're like me, one of the first things that you did when you opened up InDesign CS5, the one that came out with all the cool new animation features, was to open up anyone of your documents, select an object and have it start whipping around the page which is a lot of fun to do. But what I want to show you is that you are not limited to the built-in animations. All these animations, the paths that the objects move along, are completely editable to you in InDesign. In fact you can create your own paths with InDesign tools or from Illustrator.
So let's see how that works. First I am going to select this text frame that says Golden Gate and then from the Animation panel I am going to choose one of the presets, just a real simple one. Let's try Fly in from Left. So that adds a green line that shows us the motion path, so this green thing is the motion path, and you'll see a little proxy animate showing you how this is going to work. If you want to see how Golden Gate animates, then you click the little icon at the bottom that says Preview Spread and I've enlarged my Preview panels to see more of the page. But click the little triangle at the bottom and you can watch it over and over again to your heart's content.
Now let's say well, you know I like how this looks and this will look cool when I export this document to SWF, but I would rather have Golden Gate fly in from the left and go all the way over here. So how do you do that? Well, all you need to do is edit the motion path. I'm going to drag the text frame over to the right where I want it to end. The motion path comes along for the ride. Now what I want to do is I want to lengthen the motion path so it starts over here off the page. And you do that by selecting it with the Direct Selection tool. If you click on the motion path, it turns into just a regular line and then I can select the leftmost endpoint and hold down the Shift key to keep it straight and drag it all the way to the left.
When I click off of it and then deselect and click on the animation again, you can see that there is the motion path. Now because I made it longer, I want the animation to last longer. So I am going to go to Animation and change the duration, let's say from one second to three seconds, and let's see what this looks like. Yeah that's pretty cool. I want to do it one more time. I feel like kind of a programmer or something. Now say that I like that, but I would actually like it to sort of like move up and down as it went? Can you do that? Yeah, I mean you are not limited to just lengthening these motion paths.
These are actual paths. So anything that you can do to a path in InDesign, you can do to one of these motion paths. I'll select it with the Selection tool and I'm going to switch to the Pen tool, which is hiding right here, and let's zoom it a bit so we can see a little better what we are doing and let me add a couple points. Here I am adding a point and then dragging to make it a curve and then this guy, I'll switch, I am holding down the Option or Alt key to use the Change Direction Point tool and then I'll make that a curve as well.
That looks pretty cool. Let's see how this looks. I am going to go to the Preview panel and choose Preview Spread again. Wooo! That looks like a lot of fun. So you can edit the paths here in InDesign, the ones that come with the animation presets. You can create your own path with the Pen tool or you can create a path in any other program that creates Bezier paths, you know, vector paths, and copy and paste them. So for example, say that you have an illustration that's part of a brochure or a logo and you'd like an element in your print document to follow that same path that's using the artwork.
So here we have a very stark brochure. Now it's just a path that drew by hand, just as an example. But you isolate it in that program here in Illustrator and you copy it to the clipboard, jump back to InDesign ,and paste it in and it comes in as an editable path. Now let's actually get this out of the way. Let's start again. I am going to select this existing animated object and I am going to remove the animation by opening up the Animation panel and clicking the little trashcan item at the bottom. And then we want this to be the motion path and I am going to just go like right here.
To make any path that you draw into a motion path, you select that path in InDesign and then Shift+click to select the object it's going to be animated on. When you have both items selected, then you'll see this icon wakes up at the bottom of the Animation panel called Convert to Motion Path. Select that and you can see that it became the motion path. It automatically starts at the left and then goes to the right. You can reverse this path if you wanted to with any of the Path commands from the Object menu. We are going to actually leave this as is.
I am sort of moving this around so we can see the entire path as we animate. So let's go to preview and preview this spread. That moved a little too fast. Let's lengthen this out a bit, Duration 3, and preview again and there it goes. So let's say that this was showed like a little ocean here and this was the Golden Gate moving over a bridge, over the ocean, you can use your imagination, but you can see that you are not limited to what the motion paths that are listed here in the Animation panel. You can create any kind of path that you want.
If you want to reuse this path again, all you need to do with it selected is to go to the Animation panel menu and choose Save and we can call this the bridge path and from now on in any document that you open on this computer in InDesign, if you go to the Animation panel, all of your custom paths that you saved will appear at the top of this list. So the next time that you're working with animation paths in InDesign, don't forget that you can use the Direct Selection tool and the Pen tool to make the path do exactly what you want.
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