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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.
Hi! I'm Mike Rankin and welcome to InDesign FX. In this week's effect, we'll take a look at how to make custom stroke styles. InDesign comes with a bunch of built-in stroke styles that you can use to create different stroke effects on your objects. You can also create your own unique stroke styles when none of the built-in styles gives you the look that you want. In this video, we'll take a look at the kind of cool things you can do with custom dashed strokes. We'll make strokes that appear only at the corners of objects like this one. We'll make strokes that appear only on the sides like this one, sort of looks like brackets. And we'll make strokes that even look like these valentine hearts here.
This is achieved with a custom stroke style. So I'll switch over to my other document, I'll take my Rectangle Frame tool, click in the document and I'll make a new rectangle that's 40 picas wide by 30 picas high. I'll give it a 10 point stroke up in the Control panel, and over in the Stroke panel I'll align that stroke to the inside. In the Stroke panel menu, I'll choose Stroke Styles, I'll click on New to create a new stroke style, and we'll do the corner one first, call it Corners. I'll click OK, and I'll also click OK to get out of the dialog box, because right now I want to apply that stroke style to that frame I just created.
So as we change the settings in the dialog box, we can see that reflected on the frame. So I'll choose Type > Corners, my new stroke style, and then I'll go back to the panel menu and edit the style. So I have Preview selected, and I can see the effects of the changes that I make right now. So in the dialog box, I can click and drag to change the length of the dash, or I can adjust the values here by changing the numbers of the dash, or the overall Pattern Length. Now for this Corners stroke style, I'm going to have a very large Pattern Length because I only want dashes right in the corners.
So I'm going to choose 45 picas for the Pattern Length. And you notice what happened here in the dash length that stayed half the width of the overall pattern. I'm going to change the Corners from Adjust dashes and gaps to Adjust gaps. And I'm going to decrease the length of the dashes themselves down to about 12 picas, and that gives me nice corner dashes. All right, let's create that bracket stroke style. So again, in the Stroke panel menu, I'll choose Stroke Styles > New > Dash, and we'll call this Brackets, we'll click OK, get out of the dialog box and again I'll apply it to my frame, choose Brackets and then we'll edit the style.
Now for this one, I want a very long Pattern Length, I'm going to go all the way up to 60 picas, and there you can see the brackets, but I want the top and the bottom to be a little bit shorter. So what I am going to do is change Corners from Adjust dashes and gaps to Adjust dashes and that trims off the top and the bottom here. I'll click OK. One thing to note about this custom stroke style is the fact that it works depends on the exact size of the frame here. If I take my Selection tool and I click and drag one of the control handles, you can see that the bracket breaks as soon as I go beyond a certain height.
And if I change the Width, then the top and the bottom get crunched in a little bit there. I'm going to undo. So how can you fix this problem? Well, there's two ways you can do it; one, you can go back and change the settings in the custom stroke style or you can actually scale the frame. But if you scale the frame, you first have to make sure that you have your preferences set the right way that will preserve this stroke style. I'm going to press Command+K or Ctrl+K on the PC to bring up my Preferences dialog box and in General preferences, I want to have Adjust Scaling Percentage selected. Click OK.
Now I can hold down Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift to constrain and I can drag a corner of this frame and my stroke style stays in tact. The bracket doesn't get broken. The one thing to note though is that as I make it larger the width of the stroke gets larger or if I make it smaller, the width of the stroke gets smaller. So that's the tradeoff you have in order to be able to scale this without having to change the stroke style itself. I'm going to undo that to get my original size of this frame. And we'll make the valentine heart stroke style now. Back in the Stroke Style menu > New > Dash and we'll call this Hearts, click OK, apply to the frame and I want these hearts to be pretty big.
So I'm going to go up to the Control panel and I'm going to increase the Width of the stroke all the way to 60 points. Now go back to the Stroke panel and edit it. For our Pattern Length, I want 45 picas, for the length of the dash I'll go to 11 picas, and in the Corners, I want to adjust the dashes. Now those don't look like hearts yet, but if I change the Cap setting to rounded, voila! Hearts. Click OK. Now let's make them red, so go to the Control panel and change the color of the stroke to red and then I'll open up my Effects panel, I'll target the Stroke, and let's apply some Bevel and Emboss.
We'll increase the size up to 3 picas and increase the Altitude to 75 degrees. That will give me a nice shiny look on these hearts. We will also add a little bit of the Satin effect for some texture. I will set the Distance to 3 picas and match that with the size and click OK. And there you have it, the valentine heart custom stroke style. So these are just a few of the examples of what you can do by adjusting the Gap and Dash settings on the stroke, and I hope they inspired you to see what cool things you can create on your own with your own custom stroke styles.
I'm Mike Rankin and I'll be back in two weeks. Thanks for watching.
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