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InDesign FX
Illustration by John Hersey

048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes


From:

InDesign FX

with Mike Rankin

Video: 048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes

All InDesign frames, no matter what content they contain, are vector objects. You can reshape these objects using tools like the Direct Selection tool and the Pen tool, or you can use a script that comes with InDesign to quickly reshape paths into interesting shapes. The script is called PathEffects, and with it you can instantly create complex shapes that would be tedious or impossible to make using InDesign's path manipulation tools. Let's see how it works. Here I have a set of squares and circles that I'm going to apply the PathEffects script to.
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  1. 8h 7m
    1. 000 Welcome to InDesign FX
      2m 42s
    2. 001 Blurring Objects with Drop Shadows
      6m 26s
    3. 002 Creating Interlocking Objects
      3m 46s
    4. 003 Exploring the Effects Panel
      8m 43s
    5. 004 Creating Long Text Shadows with Type on a Path
      4m 23s
    6. 005 Making Shiny Effects
      4m 46s
    7. 006 Producing Slime
      6m 22s
    8. 007 Exploring Bevel and Emboss Settings
      5m 34s
    9. 008 Exploring Inner Glow Settings
      2m 9s
    10. 009 Building Better Bevels
      3m 16s
    11. 010 Punching Holes
      4m 26s
    12. 011 Exploring Basic Feather Settings
      2m 52s
    13. 012 Exploring Directional Feather Settings
      5m 15s
    14. 013 Getting Effects into Print
      8m 10s
    15. 014 Getting Effects into Ebooks
      4m 32s
    16. 015 Simulating a Polaroid Effect
      3m 15s
    17. 016 Creating Metallic Strokes
      3m 18s
    18. 017 Exploring Inner Shadow Settings
      3m 50s
    19. 018 Exploring Drop Shadow Settings
      6m 15s
    20. 019 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 1
      3m 59s
    21. 020 Simulating Multiple Strokes, Part 2
      3m 29s
    22. 021 Creating Metallic Chrome Effects
      3m 56s
    23. 022 Creating Glass and Plastic Effects
      4m 49s
    24. 023 Exploring Satin Settings
      6m 57s
    25. 024 Exploring Gradient Feather Settings
      3m 51s
    26. 025 Simulating Carving and Chiseling
      6m 42s
    27. 026 Understanding Transparency Blend Space
      8m 2s
    28. 027 Drawing Extrusions, Part 1
      5m 25s
    29. 028 Drawing Concentric Shapes
      3m 17s
    30. 029 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 1
      5m 29s
    31. 030 Creative Blend Mode tricks, Part 2
      4m 6s
    32. 031 Drawing Star Bursts
      6m 7s
    33. 032 Scaling effects
      3m 0s
    34. 033 Learning Pathfinder Tips and Tricks
      9m 10s
    35. 034 Learning Transform Again Tips and Tricks
      6m 39s
    36. 035 Creating Cast Shadows, Part 1
      5m 27s
    37. 036 Exploring Outer Glow Settings
      6m 45s
    38. 037 Understanding Perspective Drawing
      4m 38s
    39. 038 Drawing 3D Banners
      3m 23s
    40. 039 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 1
      6m 41s
    41. 040 Shearing to Create 3D Effects, Part 2
      6m 20s
    42. 041 Simulating a Ripped Background
      1m 53s
    43. 042 Creating a Breakthrough Effect
      2m 10s
    44. 043 Creating Spotlight Effects
      2m 22s
    45. 044 Backlighting an Object
      6m 8s
    46. 045 Simulating Stickers and Tape
      4m 23s
    47. 046 Creating Burnt Edges
      6m 26s
    48. 047 Creating Seamless Patterns
      8m 39s
    49. 048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes
      6m 40s
    50. 049 Simulating Liquid
      2m 48s
    51. 050 Creating Editable Knockout Text
      5m 52s
    52. 051 Making Peeling Stickers
      5m 42s
    53. 052 Tips for Text Stroke Effects
      6m 44s
    54. 053 Creating 3D arrows
      3m 37s
    55. 054 Creating personal buttons
      4m 22s
    56. 055 Simulating leather with bevel and emboss
      4m 17s
    57. 056 Creating the effect of a magnifying glass
      4m 20s
    58. 057 Simulating a college notebook
      6m 11s
    59. 058 Using multiple effects to create plastic type
      3m 58s
    60. 059 Achieving a rough-hewn look
      2m 28s
    61. 060 Creating speech bubbles
      2m 41s
    62. 061 Creating buttons for interaction
      4m 37s
    63. 062 Creating wraparound headings
      5m 46s
    64. 063 Creating picture frames
      3m 24s
    65. 064 Customizing stroke styles
      5m 19s
    66. 065 Creating photo corners
      3m 44s
    67. 066 Making new shadow effects
      3m 19s
    68. 067 Making 3D type
      3m 15s
    69. 068 Making a 3D object
      5m 13s
    70. 069 Making translucent objects
      3m 10s
    71. 070 Mocking up a film strip
      4m 53s
    72. 071 Showing graphics as tiles
      3m 41s
    73. 072 Simulating chalk
      3m 7s
    74. 073 Using drop- and inner-shadows to create a cutout effect
      4m 30s
    75. 074 Applying multiple strokes with layers
      7m 1s
    76. 075 Enhancing design with skewed text
      3m 59s
    77. 076 Creating and revealing hidden objects
      3m 33s
    78. 077 Setting text vertically
      2m 51s
    79. 078 Achieving a developing Polaroid effect
      3m 38s
    80. 079 Creating ornamental frames
      5m 54s
    81. 080 Framing photos in letters
      4m 19s
    82. 081 Creating effects with paragraph rules
      3m 30s
    83. 082 Putting curved shadows on paper
      2m 40s
    84. 083 Building a puzzle
      2m 16s
    85. 084 Applying a gradient to text
      2m 2s
    86. 085 Creating a theater marquee
      4m 38s
    87. 086 Centering type on a curve
      2m 33s
    88. 087 Creating looks without fill
      2m 31s
    89. 088 Creating spiral patters from random lines
      3m 11s
    90. 089 Creating highlights at top and bottom
      3m 24s
    91. 090 Combining stroke styles
      2m 11s
    92. 091 Making a bottle cap
      1m 47s
    93. 092 Creating a 3D bevel effect behind a cover
      3m 30s
    94. 094 Making trading cards
      4m 43s
    95. 093 Creating custom frames
      2m 11s
    96. 095 Revolving an item around an object
      2m 44s
    97. 096 Creating old-fashioned spotlights
      2m 12s
    98. 097 Creating a rust effect
      1m 44s
    99. 098 Creating sparkle
      1m 54s
    100. 099 Double beveling text
      2m 24s
    101. 100 Creating a 3D pocket with bevel and gradient
      3m 2s
    102. 101 Creating metallic text
      3m 7s
    103. 102 Creating stained glass
      2m 53s
    104. 103 Bobbling a photograph
      4m 47s
    105. 104 Creating a lighted sign
      3m 9s
    106. 105 Creating a blue ribbon NEW
      12m 58s
    107. 106 Putting items on a shelf NEW
      6m 11s
    108. 107 Creating a shredded-document effect NEW
      4m 12s
    109. 108 Simulating a train-station display board NEW
      9m 54s

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InDesign FX
8h 7m Intermediate Aug 04, 2011 Updated Jul 08, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Subjects:
Design Design Techniques
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Mike Rankin

048 Using Scripts to Create New Shapes

All InDesign frames, no matter what content they contain, are vector objects. You can reshape these objects using tools like the Direct Selection tool and the Pen tool, or you can use a script that comes with InDesign to quickly reshape paths into interesting shapes. The script is called PathEffects, and with it you can instantly create complex shapes that would be tedious or impossible to make using InDesign's path manipulation tools. Let's see how it works. Here I have a set of squares and circles that I'm going to apply the PathEffects script to.

I'll click and drag to select some and I'll open the Scripts panel. PathEffects is located inside the Scripts panel in the Application, Samples, and then inside either the JavaScript folder or the AppleScript folder if you're on a Mac. I'll scroll down and double- click to run the PathEffects script. In it I see there are several different effects I can apply and a few options. One called the Offset and another to make a copy of the path if I don't want to change the original. I'll leave those at their defaults and I'll apply the Punk effect.

I'll click OK and we can see it made a pretty dramatic change in my square and circle. Let's zoom in to see what happened. I'll switch to my Direct Selection tool and drag over an anchor point and I can see what the script did. It added direction handles pointed towards the center of the object and the length of the direction handle was derived from that Offset value. It's 50% from the anchor point to the center of the object, because I had a 50% Offset value. The script didn't add any new anchor points.

It just added direction handles to existing anchor points and they all point to the center, and what this does from the Punk effect is it pushes in all the sides of the object. Remember, this was a square starting out. This one was a circle. it only looks different because the anchor points on a circle are in a different place. They're at the top and bottom and on the sides, but the script did the same thing. It added the direction handles pointed towards the center, 50% of the distance from the anchor point to the center of the circle.

I'll zoom out and I'll run a different option in the PathEffects script. This time I'll choose Bloat. I'll click OK and zoom in to see what Bloat did. I'll drag over one of the anchor points. And again, I have direction handles that have been added, but this time they're pointing away from the center of the object. So Bloat is sort of the opposite of Punk. Where Punk pushes the sides of an object in, Bloat will push the sides of an object out. And again, that Offset amount of 50% means the length of the direction handle is 50% of the distance from the anchor point to the center, making for a puffy object.

I'll select another square and circle and run the script again. This time I'll choose PunkBloat. This is going to combine the Punk and the Bloat functions and give me direction handles pointed both away from and towards the center of the object. The direction handles are connected, so if I click and drag one, they both move. This gives me a sort of a twisty effect. I'll select another square and circle and run the next option, BloatPunk.

I'll bet you can guess what this one does. It does the same thing as PunkBloat but in the opposite direction, so it was as if I twirled this handle around. Again, one direction handle points towards the center and one points away and they're both connected. I'll run the script again. This time I'll choose Twirl, select an anchor point, and now I have independent direction handles, one pointed towards the center of the object and one pointed slightly away but almost tangent to the curve here on all the four sides.

Again, it gives me a twisted effect, but now the corners are sharp instead of rounded. I'll select another square and circle and run AntiTwirl. AntiTwirl does the same thing as Twirl does but in the opposite direction, so the anchor points are twisted and you get this loop-de-loop effect around all the anchor points. Let's see how you would use one of the PathEffects scripts for a real project. Here I have some text set with a Chrome Gradient fill to make it look like it's made out of metal.

I made a copy of it, flipped it, and then used a gradient feather to make it seem like it was reflected off of a shiny surface. A really cool effect. But I like to take it all the way to the edge, and for that I want a little light burst effect to pop off of one of the edges of the letter, say up here. This is the perfect use for the Punk effect. What I'll do is I'll start out with a polygon. I'll click my Polygon tool, click in the document, and I'll accept these settings. Width and Height of 100 pixels, 6 Sides, and a 70% Star Inset, and click OK.

There's my polygon star. I'll give it a fill of Paper and a stroke of None, and this is going to be the basis for my light burst. Next I'm going to run Scripts > PathEffects. I'm going to choose the Punk option, and for the Offset, I'm going to set it to 0. I want those direction handles pulled all the way to the center and have a really dramatic effect on my polygon. Okay, and zoom in and I'll deselect, and there we can see what the Punk effect did.

It pulled all the edges all the way towards the center and made for this really cool looking light burst effect out of my original six-sided polygon. I'll zoom out, take my Selection tool, and move it in place at the top of the L. Now one more thing I'd like to do is to just give it a little bit of an outer glow effect, just to add to the light coming off of this. So with the Polygon selected, I'll choose Effects, double-click on it, and choose Outer Glow. I'll set the Opacity to 100%, I'll leave the technique at Softer, but I want a big glow, so I'm going to change the Size from 7 pixels to 60.

I'll add just a little bit of Noise, 1%, I'll add a little bit of Spread, say 7%, and deselect. And there I have my cool light burst effect, courtesy of Punk in the PathEffects script. Being able to draw and edit paths manually with the Pen tool is a great skill to have, but sometimes you'll get better results faster by just letting the computer do the work for you. In this case, we let a script called PathEffects reshape objects by moving direction handles towards the center of the object and we changed the polygon into a cool looking light burst effect.

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Q: For some movies, why are there both INDD and IDML versions of the exercise files?
A: For CS4 and older versions of InDesign, please use the IDML exercise files.
 
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