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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 am Mike Rankin, and welcome to InDesign FX. In this week's effect, we are going to take a look at how to overcome the fact that you can only apply one stroke to an object in InDesign. If I could apply multiple strokes to objects in InDesign, we could do all kinds of complex layered effects easily. Unfortunately, in InDesign one stroke is all you get. So we have to use multiple copies of an object to create a layered effect. It's not elegant, but you can do it, and it does look cool in the end. So here are a couple of examples where I've created layered or stacked text effects by creating several copies of an object, each with its own Drop Shadow.
So let's re-create these. I am going to go to the next page of my document. I'll take my Type tool and drag out a huge text frame. I'll type the word Layers, select it and press Command+6 or Ctrl+6 to highlight the text controls in the Control panel. I'll make it large, 300 points, and center it. I am also going to track it out a bit to give myself some extra space in between the letter shapes. I will track it to 25, take my Selection tool, and in the Swatches panel I will target the text and fill it with this Pastel Violet Magenta color.
I will change the Tint down to 33%, so it's a very light tint of that magenta color. I will zoom out a little bit to give myself some more room, move it over, and let's give it a Drop Shadow. Target my effects, Drop Shadow, I will change the Distance to 0 and make the Size pretty small, just 2 pixels. I want a really small Drop Shadow just to give me a really thin layered effect here. I will click OK.
And now I want to make an extra copy of this text. So I will copy it and paste it in place by pressing Command+Shift+Option+V or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+V on the PC. I will go back to the Swatches panel, target the text and I will give it a stroke, that same Pastel Violet Magenta. But instead, I want a Tint of 66%, and I want a Stroke of 5 points. I am going to send this to the back so it's behind the original text.
Now I am going to copy again, paste in place again, again select my text controls, and this time I will give the stroke a Tint of 100%, and we will make it 10 points, and again send it to the back. So there is that nice layered effect with three separate drop shadows and three separate tints on the text. Now let's try something a little bit more ambitious. I will create a new page by pressing Command+Shift+P or Ctrl+Shift+P.
Again, take my Type tool, drag out a huge text frame, and I will type the word Stacks now. Select it and center it, I will press Command+6 or Ctrl+6, and I want a really thin font for this one because I am going to have several layers, each one progressively thicker underneath this original layer, so a super-thin font. I am going to choose Helvetica Neue UltraLight. I am going to make it huge, 300 points, switch to my Selection tool, target my Text fill and reduce the Tint down to 10% black.
I am going to convert this to outlines by pressing Command+Shift+O, or Ctrl+Shift+O on the PC, and I am going to give it a Drop Shadow, so I will use my Effects controls in the Control panel, Drop Shadow, I am going to change the Blending mode to Color Burn, reduce the Opacity down to 30%, set the Distance to 0 so the shadow is right behind the text, and increase its size to 10 pixels and click OK. Now I am going to copy this, paste it in place, I am going to give it a stroke of Black 40%, I will make the Width of the stroke 10 points up in the Control panel, and I will send it to the back.
With it still selected, I will copy and paste it in place, and for this stroke I'll increase the Tint to 60% and make it 20 points. I'll hold down the Shift key on the keyboard and just tap the Up Arrow, and again, I will send this to the back, I will press Command+Shift+Left Bracket or Ctrl+Shift+Left Bracket, and I will repeat that same process again. Copy the object, paste it in place, I will increase the Tint, this time to 80%, increase the width of the stroke to 30 points, and send it to the back, and you can see how we build up these progressive layers.
Now if I want to add some color to this, I can do it really easily by creating a separate color object. So I still have the largest object selected right now. I am going to copy it and paste it in place. Now it's sitting on top of all the others. I am going to remove the Drop Shadow just by clicking on the Drop Shadow button in the Control panel, and I am going to change this Stroke color from Black to RGB Cyan. In the Effects panel, I will change the Blending mode from Normal to Color. And now that color is applied to all the objects underneath.
So if I wanted to change the color, I can just pick a different swatch, so I can make them Green or Magenta, or if I like the Blue, I could stick with that. Now there is one more thing you can do to give this some extra pop and that's to add a separate set of objects with drop shadows on top of the color, because right now everything is going to get the Cyan color, but if you want real gray drop shadows, you need to put them on top of the Cyan object. What I will do now is go to the Layers panel, tip open Layer 1, and I can see which object I have selected here.
I am going to lock that object, so I have locked the color object, I will click and drag to select all the others, copy them, and paste them in place. So now they are on top of that color object. In the Swatches panel I will set the stroke of all these objects to Paper, and I will set the fill of these objects to Paper. In the Effects panel I'll set them all to Multiply. I'll deselect and zoom in a bit so we can see better. So now I have these nice strong shadows on top of the Cyan object.
And if you want to change the Opacity of the shadows, you can select one of the objects and make it even more prominent just to give it an extra 3D feel. In this video we saw how to overcome InDesign's limit of one stroke per object by stacking several copies of an object each with its own Drop Shadow, and we made some nice layered text effects with a lot of pop and things that are easily recolored as well. I am Mike Rankin, and I'll be back in two weeks. Thanks for watching.
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