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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.
After you've completed a project in InDesign you might have to produce some materials for marketing or promotional purposes, or you might want to collect samples of your favorite work into a portfolio layout. With the Shear tool you can take the PDFs used to print a project or the actual InDesign files themselves and use them to create reduced facsimiles of the documents. Let's see how. So here I have a cover of the fictitious Cow Moo-gazine and I made it seem like a little 3D mockup with some fanned out pages here, like it's standing up, and it's an attractive design.
What I did is I used the actual PDF that was used to print this cover and then sheared it with a couple extra copies of pages to create this effect. So let's give it a try. Here is just a blank page. It's filled with a light Tint of black and has a small Drop Shadow just to add a little bit of depth, and we're going to shear this a few times to create that mockup of the magazine. So I'll set the reference point in the left-center, and I'll take my Shear tool and with the reference point here at the left-center, I'm going to go on the right side of the frame and I'm going to hold the Shift key and I'm going to drag down just a little bit.
And then I'll press the Option or Alt key to make a copy of this page. I just want a little bit, just around 1 degree of Shear, so that's pretty good. Now I want to scale it just a little bit, so it's not the full width of the original page and I can see the individual pages with that Drop Shadow effect I used. So I'll switch from the Shear tool to the Scale tool and I'll double-click and with that reference point at the same place, I'm going to scale it just a little bit horizontally, 99%, and I'll leave the vertical dimension as it was and I'll click OK.
Now I can use the Transform Again command to make some extra pages. I'll go to the Object menu, choose Transform Again > Transform Sequence Again, and I'll do it one more time. And deselect and now I have four nice fanned-out pages. I'll select the top copy and I'll place the photo of my cover into it. Now it's too big so I need to fit it to the frame. So with the frame selected I'll go to the Control panel and choose Fit Content to Frame, and there you go, a nice magazine mockup.
Let's try another variation. Here we have the magazine opened and the pages fanned-out and we can see both the left and the right side, and what I did here is I placed PDFs of interior pages of the magazine and I created a little lighting effect, so it seems like there is a little shadow on the inside. So let's see how to do this. Here I just have two empty pages with a small Drop Shadow on each again, so when I shear them I can see the individual pages, and I'll start on the left side. I'll set the reference point to the right-center, I'll take my Shear tool, and on the left side, I'm going to hold down the Shift key and drag up just a little bit and then I'll press and hold Option or Alt to make a copy of the page.
I just want a little bit of shear, just about 1 degree again. There we go. Then I'll switch to my Scale tool. I'll double-click on it, and I'll do that same scaling that I did for the cover. 99% horizontally, 100% vertically, and click OK. Now I want to Transform Again, so I'll just use the keyboard shortcut, Command+Option+4, Ctrl+Alt+4, and make a couple more pages. Deselect, there we go. Now let's do the same thing on the right-hand side.
I'll select the right page. I'll set the reference point to the left-center at this time. I'll take the Shear tool. I'll go outside the right edge I'll hold down Shift and drag up and then I'll press-and-hold Option or Alt to make that extra copy. Let go and now I'll scale again. I'll take my Scale tool, double-click and use those same values, and then I'll Transform Again with Command+Option+4, Ctrl+Alt+4 to make two more pages. So there I have the blank pages. Now I just need to place the PDFs into them.
So I'll select the left one, I'll choose File > Place, and I'll pick my left-hand page. In the Control panel I'll fit the content to the frame and do the same for the right-hand page. And then the last thing to do is to create that little lighting effect where there seems like there is a shadow around the spine here. So for that, I'll take my Selection tool, I'll select both pages, and I'll apply a fill to them.
In my Swatches panel I've created this little page shading gradient. I'll apply that and I'll actually double-click on it so you can see what that is. Mostly it's paper, so it contributes nothing all the way to this point, and then right at the end here it becomes a little light Tint of black, 25%, and that's just going to give me that little shadow in the gutter. So it's applied but I can't see it yet. What I need to do is use a little blending mode trick to see that gradient through these PDFs. So I'll double-click on the left page and you can see by the change in the outline color here that I have the graphic selected, and not the frame. I'll go to the Effects panel and I can see Graphic.
I'll change the blending mode from Normal to Multiply. So I'll multiply the graphic into that little gradient and create that little shading. I'll do the same for the right-hand side. Double-click to select the graphic and then in the Effects panel set it to Multiply. Now this one is backwards. The gradient is on the right-hand side still, so I need to go to my Gradient panel. I'll choose Window > Color > Gradient. Select the frame and click on the Reverse button. That puts the shading right in the middle.
I'll deselect and there is my effect. You can create miniature facsimiles of a layout by shearing frames and placing PDFs or InDesign pages into those frames. You can use Transform Again to create as many pages as you like and then apply effects to add some more visual impact. It's a fun way to reuse your work, thanks to the Shear tool.
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