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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.
Sometimes when you're prepping a file in Photoshop, you're not sure how it will actually appear on the page in InDesign. So take a little extra time to think it through, give yourself some options. For example in this document, I have one layer, but I've created a few extra channels. For example Alpha one, Body Silhouette and Floating Head. These are all alpha channels. That's just a fancy way of saying an extra channel saved with a document, besides the RGB or CMYK channels that are in the file already.
What's great though is because I have those extra channels saved in the document, I can access them in InDesign. I'll switch back to InDesign, select my image and open my Links panel. In my Links panel, I'm going to click the re-link button and I'm going to choose the image that I've been working with. In order to access those channels, I need to turn on the show imports option check box. Except, honestly, I never turn that check box on. The reason is, is if you turn it on, if you actually click that, it will stay sticky. It'll always be on for every time you click the re-link button.
I don't like that. So instead I simply hold down the Shift key when I click open. Shift Open is a little shortcut that does the same thing. It forces the image import options dialog box to open. But it's not sticky. You can use it when you want to use it. Now, I'll switch to the Image tab, and in the Alpha Channel popup menu, I'm going to choose one of those channels. I'll try Alpha 1. All of a sudden, InDesign applies that channel to this image, and what was not transparent now is. Let's zoom in here so we can see this better.
There we go, I can actually see right through that image to the color behind it. Let's try it again. Click relink, select my image, Shift Open, click on image, and then in the alpha channel pop up menu, I choose Body Silhouette. Now it takes out everything around him, and leaves me with just the body. Or, my favorite. The disembodied floating head. Let's go ahead and choose floating head alpha channel, and there it is. Just the head. And of course, this is just an image, so I can put it anywhere I want it. I can rotate it if I want to. Stuff like that.
Okay, I suppose a little floating head is kind of creepy, but you get the idea. You've heard me say it before, it's Blatner's first rule of publishing. Take a little time now to save even more time down the line a little prep work in Photoshop can give you all kinds of options later in InDesign.
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