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In this series, David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun. The course covers built-in timesaving features such as Quick Apply and auto-expanding text, but also little-known tricks, such as using the eyedropper to copy and paste character and paragraph text attributes and making accurate selections by selecting through or even into objects.
New techniques will be added to the collection every other week, so check back early and often. Find more tips and tricks at indesignsecrets.com.
Let's say you're sending this document to a commercial printer and you want them to print a spot varnish over just parts of the page, not over the whole page but a varnish over just say this vector logo and maybe this image of this photographer. How would you do that? Well, here is one way. I'll start with this picture down here. First, I am going to select him and I am going to clone him, I want an exact duplicate right on top. To do that I am going to hold down the Option or Alt key and press one of the arrow keys on my keyboard. I just pressed Option+Up Arrow.
That means make a duplicate and move it up a little bit. Now I'll let go of the Option or Alt key and press the down arrow. That puts that duplicate back where it was. So I have two images stacked one on top of the other. Next I need a clipping path and I really don't want to go back to Photoshop to make a clipping path, that would be really tedious. So instead, I'm going to ask InDesign to make a quick and dirty clipping path for me. To do that, I'll go to the Object menu, choose Clipping Path and then choose Options. When I click on the Type pop-up menu, I'm in luck because I can see Alpha Channel.
Alpha Channel means use the transparency inside this image to make a clipping path for me. I can usually get a pretty good clipping path that way, so I'll choose that and click OK. This light blue line is the clipping path, it's a vector path that's been drawn around the image for me by InDesign. It's not perfect, but it's going to be good enough for this use. Now here is the key to the whole trick. Once you have a clipping path, you can turn it into a frame, and the way you do that is by right-clicking or Ctrl-clicking with a one-button mouse.
Up comes the Context menu and you can choose Convert Clipping Path to Frame. Now we have a frame in the same shape as that clipping path and the image is inside of it. As it turns out, I don't really need the image inside that, I just need the shape. So I am going to move my cursor over here, select the image inside the frame, and hit Delete. It doesn't look like anything is different, because remember I had the original image down underneath. But I actually have two frames here, I'll click on this with the Selection Tool and you'll see the top frame, the one that's empty and then I'll switch to the Direct Selection Tool and you can see all the Bezier points around that frame.
It's an empty frame, but that's what I need for my spot varnish. The last step is I need to fill it with a spot color. I'll go up to my Control panel and I'll say fill this with a spot color. I don't seem to have one in here, so I better create one. I'll click on the fly-out menu and say New Color Swatch, and I am going to say give me a Spot color, I am going to call it varnish, you can call it anything you want as long as your printer is prepared to print that, and let's make this an RGB color, kind of a yellowy color, that will be nice, a light yellow.
Click OK and it fills that shape with my spot varnish color. Of course, there's one problem here, I can't see the picture anymore. So I'll have to go to the Effects panel and set the Blending Mode to Multiply. Now I'm set, when I print the separations for this page, I am going to get a varnish plate in exactly the right shape. Let's try the same thing with this image. I'll select it, use my little trick to duplicate it, go to Object > Clipping Path > Options, and this time I have no Alpha Channel because it's a vector image, so I am going to choose Detect Edges.
It goes through and figures out where the edges of the image are, click OK and I can see that I have a clipping path here. So I'll right-click, convert that clipping path into a frame, press Delete to delete the image that's inside the frame, select the frame that's on top, remember it's in that shape of that star, and fill it with my varnish color. Finally I'll go to Effects and set it to Multiply. Lastly I am going to prove to you that this will print on its own separation by going to the Window menu, choosing Output and choosing Separation Preview.
When I turn on my Separation Preview, and I'll make this a little bit bigger, you can see that I'm going to get Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, and varnish. And in fact, if I turn off CMYK and just look at the varnish plate, you'll see that it's printing exactly the way I want it to. There are all sorts of other reasons why you might want to convert a clipping path into a frame, especially that builds special effects like the ones that Mike Rankin talks about in his InDesign Effects title here on the lynda.com online training library, check it out.
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