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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.
Gradient Feather is the most flexible of InDesign's feathering effects. With it you can fade an object in a linear or radial fashion and have total control over the transition from opaque to transparent, by creating and adjusting stops along a transparency gradient. Let's see how it works. Here I have a document with a placed image of a flower and some text and I'd like to apply some Gradient Feather to them. First, I'm going to open a new window so I can get a better look at the effect without the frame edges getting in my way. So I'll choose Window > Arrange > New Window, and I'll drag the vertical slider over to the left, so I've one big window and one small one.
I'll click on the picture of the flowers, and I'll go to my Effects panel, double-click, and I'll click on Gradient Feather. And right away I can see the effect on my flowers. They are opaque on the left side and transparent on the right side and there's a transition going on in between and that's controlled by this transparency gradient here. The stop on the left is set at 100% Opacity and the stop at the right is set at 0% Opacity, and right in the middle there's this diamond shape that controls the midpoint of opacity.
So I can drag that to change the gradient or I can drag either of the sliders, so I can make the picture more opaque or more transparent. I can also click on this button to invert the effect. I can also change the Angle, so I can rotate the feathering around the image or I can switch from a Linear to a Radial gradient. I'm going to invert this. Now I have a sort of a spotlight effect. I'll pull the right side transparency stop back a little bit, and pull the midpoint back a little bit, to show some more of that flower picture. I'll click OK.
Now let's look at an actual use for the Gradient Feather. One of my favorite uses for the Gradient Feather effect is to enhance a shiny effect where I'm trying to create the image of a really shiny reflective surface. So I take a copy of an object and I flip it and then apply Gradient Feather, and that's what I've done here to this type. I have the nice original type and underneath it I have a flipped copy that I've feathered with the Gradient Feather effect. I'll show you how I did it.
I'll delete this reflected type, select the original type, and go to my Control panel and make sure that the reference point is set in the bottom-center and then I'll hold down the Option or Alt key on my keyboard and click on Flip Vertical to create a reflected copy of my type. There is a little gap in between the type, so I'm going to nudge it into place by pressing the up arrow key on my keyboard a little bit. I just want these two copies to touch. Now I can press Shift+G on my keyboard to get the Gradient Feather tool from my Tool panel and I can click and drag to apply a Gradient Feather.
When I first click, this copy of the type will be opaque, and when I let go off my mouse button, it will be transparent. Let's try it. Click and drag, and I've created a Gradient Feather applied to my text. Pretty cool! I'll move this out of my way and I'll open the Effects panel. I'll double-click and I can see the Gradient Feather has been applied here. Here is the transparency gradient that's controlling the effect and I can adjust it.
Say I wanted to make it less opaque. I can click on this first stop, select the Opacity and turn it down to say 25%, and I'll deselect, and that's a pretty cool reflected type effect, courtesy of Gradient Feather. When you want to fade an object into a background, the Gradient Feather effect gives you the most control. With it you can add feathering at any angle and with any amount of opacity.
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