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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.
You can use effects to add some really aggressive elements to your InDesign layouts. You can simulate burns and bullet holes by using the Pencil tool to draw some jagged shapes and then adding effects like Bevel and Inner Shadow. Let's see how it's done. So here's my poor InDesign document and somebody just shot it all up. It's riddled with bullet holes. Some are entrance holes and some are exit holes and I created these using the Bevel effect. This is a Bevel effect with a direction of down and here's a bevel effect with a direction of up, and I enhanced it by adding an Inner Shadow.
So let's give it a try. I'll press the L key on my keyboard to get my Ellipse tool and I'll click in the document and I'll create a small circle, 55 pixels in Width and Height. I'll go out to my Swatches panel. I'll take the stroke off, and give it a fill of black, about 20% for this first bullet hole. Then I'll go to the Effects panel and I'll start applying some effects. First off, I'll apply some Bevel and this is going to be for the entrance bullet holes.
So I am going to choose a Direction of Down, and I am going to choose an Outer Bevel so the shadow and highlight go outside the hole and I am going to increase the Altitude a little bit to 50. This is going to make the highlight a little stronger and the shadow a little lighter. Now we'll add that Inner Shadow. I am just going to accept the default settings and click OK, and there's my first bullet hole. That looks pretty good. I am going to Option+drag or Alt+drag to create a few more, like a machine gun went after this poor InDesign document, and I'll Shift+click to select them all and I'll Option+drag or Alt+drag again and now we'll create some exit holes.
I'll double in the Effects panel and select Bevel and Emboss, and now we'll choose a Direction of Up and we'll increase the Size a little just to make it a little more prominent. I might want to soften this bevel a little bit. Okay, that works for me. How about 5 pixels? I'll click OK. So there I have some regular bullet holes. I can also enhance the effect by creating a little jagged shape with the Pencil tool that looks like the paint peeled off the surface when the bullet hit it. So I'll take my Pencil tool and click and drag to draw a little jagged shape and I'll hold Option or Alt to close the path when I am done.
In the Swatches panel, I'll give it a light tint of black. How about 20%? And I'll remove the stroke. I'll go to the Effects panel and I'll give it a really small Inner Shadow just to give me the sense that there's a little depth between the paint and the metal. I'll decrease the Distance and I'll also decrease the Size. Let's see how that looks. That's pretty good. I'll click OK and now I'll move one of my bullet holes over it.
I'll Option+Drag or Alt+Drag and bring that to the front by choosing Object > Arrange > Bring to Front and I'll darken the fill color of the bullet hole a little bit. I'll select its fill and drag the Tint slider up. Then I'll deselect. Now that looks pretty good, but if I want to, I can also warp this shape with the Pencil tool. I'll zoom in a little bit, I'll get my Pencil tool, and I'll select the circle.
In case I didn't want it to be a perfect circle shape I can click and drag to reshape this hole, and I can go over it again until I am satisfied with the effect. Okay, that looks pretty cool. Let's zoom out and deselect and that's a pretty good bullet hole. Now let's see if we can create some burns inside InDesign. Here I have some text frames that look like they are pages that were burnt. They are singed around the edges.
I did this with the combination of two shadows. An Inner Shadow and a Drop Shadow. Let's try it out. So here I have just a light colored frame and two text frames and I am going to start by taking my Pencil tool and I am going to drag to create some jagged edges on this light colored frame. Again, I am not trying to be smooth at all, just trying to create some jagged shapes where I am going to add the burn effect, all the way down to the bottom and all the way across the top.
That looks pretty good. Now I'll select one of the text frames, copy it, choose my jagged frame, and choose Paste Into from the Edit menu. Now I can select the content in the Control panel and click and drag to fill this jagged shape with text, and I'll reposition it. I'll select the jagged frame and apply some effects. First I'll apply an Inner Shadow. I'll reduce the Opacity to 60% and I'll increase the Distance to 10 pixels.
I'll increase the Size to 14 pixels and give it a Choke of 30% just to make it a little darker. I'll also add a little bit of Noise, say 5%. Next I'll add a Drop Shadow. I'll reduce the Distance down to 3 pixels and I'll change the Angle so the Drop Shadow comes out of the top-left corner of the jagged shape. And the Opacity is a little too dark for me. I am going to take that down a bit, just say 50%.
And of course, add a little bit of Noise and click OK. Now I am going to Option+drag or Alt+ drag this page to make a copy of it and right now I have two identical copies and that seems really unlikely. So I am going to take the Pencil tool and I am going to click and drag to reshape the jagged edge. Just want it to seem unique. Not like it's a carbon copy of the one beneath it. I'll do that edge and I'll go down the side and make some changes there and down here.
There we go, and there's my burned effect with singed edges. You can do all kinds of interesting things with the irregular shapes you can draw with the Pencil tool. For bullet holes, add Bevel and Emboss and Inner Shadow. For burns, add two shadows, a Drop Shadow and an Inner Shadow to create the singed edges.
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