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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.
Here's the scenario. You've created a super-cool logo design by applying all kinds of InDesign effects to an object. Feathers, glows, bevels, and shadows, you name it. Everyone loves to design and now they want a huge version for a poster, as well as a mini version for a letterhead. You need to know how to make those effects scale properly and how to deal with effects that InDesign won't scale no matter what you do. Whether or not effects scale in InDesign is controlled by a preference in the general preferences. So if we open InDesign > Preferences > General, and go down to Object Editing, When Scaling, we have two choices: Apply to Content and Adjust Scaling Percentage.
Apply to Content will not scale effects, so they'll stay the same size that they were originally no matter how large or small you scale the object. Adjust Scaling Percentage does the opposite. If you scale an object to which effects have been applied, those effects will scale right along with the object. So let's try those both out. First we'll do Apply to Content. Here I have two identical objects and I've applied Bevel and Emboss and a Drop Shadow to both of them. I'll select this first one and my preferences are Apply to Content. I'll Command+Shift+Drag or Ctrl+Shift+Drag to scale this object up. And look at that.
the bevel stayed exactly the same size and so did the drop shadow. Now I'll go back to my InDesign Preferences, General, and I'll change When Scaling from Apply to Content, to Adjust Scaling Percentage, and click OK. Now I'll select my other object, I'll Command+Shift+Drag or Ctrl+Shift+Drag this corner handle and scale it up the same amount as my other object. And wow! Look at that Bevel and Emboss effect. It got huge, and it also looks kind of pixelated and kind of bad, so that makes me a little nervous.
But not to worry. Because they're based on transparency, your effects are resolution-independent until you output, even though InDesign can't draw these scaled bevels properly. Another interesting thing is look at the drop shadow. Even though I changed my preference to Adjust Scaling Percentage, that drop shadow stayed the same size that it originally was. Drop shadows are the one effect that remains immune to your preference setting. Either way, the drop shadows are going to stay the same and you're going to have to adjust them manually. Now let's export this document to PDF and see if this Bevel and Emboss really looks like that or if it's going to be okay.
I'll press Command+E or Ctrl+E to export. I'll export to Adobe PDF (Print) and save it. I'll choose High Quality Print from my PDF Preset, which will output to Acrobat 5, which is unflattened transparency, and I'll click Export. And here's my PDF. Look at that bevel. that looks great. It's just that InDesign couldn't properly draw the scaled bevel, but in the output, it looks just fine. One of the great things about doing your effects in InDesign is that you don't have to worry that scaling them all up or down will affect their quality. Since they're based on transparency, InDesign effects are resolution-independent until output time. Just remember that if you want your effects to scale with the object they're applied to, select Adjust Scaling Percentage from General Preferences.
And watch out for those drop shadows. You'll have to adjust them manually.
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