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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.
The Satin effect allows you to create a sense of texture within an object by combining two inner shadows. Where the shadows intersect, a highlight is created. The effect can be a little like beveling with complex shapes like text, the highlight can zigzag to follow all the edges of the shapes. You can also invert the effect to change shadows into highlights. Satin can be a little tricky to control. My advice is to be subtle when using Satin. Like a drop shadow, a little Satin goes a long way. Let's see how it works. Here I've a placed photo of some flowers and some text, and I'll apply the Satin effect to each one.
I'll start with the flowers. I'll bring up my Effects dialog box, double-click, and I'll click on Satin. Here in my controls I can choose a blending mode and a color, and an Opacity, and Angle, a Distance, and a Size. Let's start by increasing the opacity a little bit to make the effect easier to see. I'll increase to 80%. Now I'll increase the Distance and you can get a sense of what's going on here.
I have shadows in these corners and highlights in the middle. What I have are two intersecting shapes that are in the same shape as this frame. If I turn the Size all the way down to 0, things become a little clearer. Now I'll change the Distance and as I increase the Distance the two shapes move away from each other. Now they don't intersect at all. So I just have two shadows in the corners. I'll decrease the Distance and once again we can see where they intersect I have highlights.
I'll invert the effect. Now where the shapes intersect I've a shadow. I'll turn that off and go back to the normal Satin effect. Now I can increase the Size to blur the effect, combining the shadows and highlights. Now let's try applying some satin to the text. I'll select the text frame, double-click, and click on Satin. Here I have the same settings. Multiply blending mode, black swatch, 50% Opacity, and I can drag around the Angle to get a different effect.
I can change the Size to 0 so I can clearly see the letter shapes inside and I can change the Distance to move them around. That looks like a really complex shape. Let's add some blur to that and see what we get. That's an interesting effect. I think I'll take it back down to 10 pixels and click OK. Now let's see some uses for Satin. Here I've just two letter Ms that I wanted to put on an interesting background. So instead of just having a plain red and blue fill, I use the Satin effect.
I'll select the background objects and drag them up so we can see what's going on here. I've a red fill and a blue fill and I used Satin to create this highlight here. I'll move them out of the way and bring up the dialog box. So I multiplied with black to create those shadows, and then I adjusted the Angle. Hey, that looks interesting. Again, if I change the Size to 0 I can see the shapes clearly, and then I can increase the Size to blow them up.
Let's see another use. Now there is a lot going on here. I created these flames with a whole bunch of different effects, but I think the key element here is the use of Satin. That's what creates these really interesting shadowy dark shapes inside the flames. So we'll create these from scratch. Here I've just two flame like objects that I created with the Pen tool and filled with Paper. Now let's start building the effect. I'll Shift+Click to select them all. With the frame shape selected I'll start by applying a gradient fill.
I'll go to my Swatches panel and select this Burn gradient. So it's got a lot of reds and browns and oranges in it. I'll press the G key on my keyboard to get the Gradient tool and click-and-drag to apply the gradient vertically. Now it's time to apply some effects. I'll open the Effects dialog box and we'll start with an Inner Shadow, but this time we'll use the Inner Shadow to lighten the object. I'll change the blending mode from Multiply to Normal and change the swatch from black to this bright orange.
I'll increase the Opacity to 100% and I'll set the Distance to 0. I'll set a little bit of Choke on this Inner Shadow to make it a little more opaque. Next, I'll apply an Outer Glow to create that orange glow around the flames. I'll set the blending mode to Normal and I'll select my orange color swatch. I want a really intense glow. So I'm going to increase the Opacity to 100%. I'll increase the Size to 20 pixels, add a little bit of Noise, say 1%, and increase the Spread to 10%.
Spread is the amount of the Outer Glow that's set at the full color and opacity. Next up we'll apply Basic Feather. After all, we want soft edges around these flames. I'll decrease the Feather Width a little bit to 8 pixels and add just a little bit of Noise. Now it's time for the Satin effect to do its magic. I'll click on Satin. I'll change the blending mode to Screen and pick my orange swatch. I'm going to go for a full 100% Opacity, a Distance of 20 pixels, and let's just set this at 11 pixels.
Really, these are values you can experiment with when you're applying the Satin effect. I just think these look good for this flame effect here. Now I can move the angle around and see what looks good. So let's go with this Angle of 160 degrees and we've completed our flame effect. I'll click OK and deselect to see what we've done. That's pretty cool. Now let's try some ice. I'll select this text frame, open the Effects dialog box, and see what's going on here. Again, we have a lot of effects combining to make this text look like it's made out of ice.
We have an Outer Glow with a whole bunch of noise to create a grainy effect. We have an Inner Glow to lighten the edges around the text. We have a Bevel and Emboss to make it look like it's 3D, and we've the Satin effect that's blending the Paper-colored fill with this blue color. I'll just turn that on and off so you can see what it's doing. So there you have it! With Satin you can make fire and you can make ice.
With the Satin effect you can create texture inside an object with blended highlights and shadows. Even though it can make dramatic changes in the appearance of an object, Satin is more of a team player than a solo artist. It's almost always best to used to enhance other effects.
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