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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 Effects. In this movie we'll see how to create an effect that looks like a mechanical display board that you might see in a train station. The kind that shows arrival and departure schedules with split flaps that turn and flip to display different letters and numbers. And while this effect doesn't move so it won't do any flipping, it's still instantly recognizable and evocative of long-distance travel the excitement of a journey. So it's a really fun effect. To begin, I'll switch to the next page of my document.
And let's create a dark background for the letters. So I'll tap the M key on the keyboard, to get my rectangle tool. Click, and let's create a new frame that's 900 pixels wide by 200 pixels tall. And in the swatches panel we'll give it a black fill and no stroke. Next, let's create the first flap, so again click with the rectangle tool. And this one will be 80 pixels wide by 70 pixels tall. And in the swatches panel we'll fill it with 80% black. And no stroke. And let's apply a slight rounded corner effect in the control panel.
So I'll choose rounded and say 6 pixels. Now, this'll be the bottom flap. To create the top flap I'll duplicate this one by holding option or alt plus shift and dragging straight up. I'll zoom in. And make sure that they are just touching. And then I want to put a little gap in between the two, of three pixels. So I'll just tap my up arrow key on my keyboard three times. I'll zoom out, shift click to select them both, group them, and then shift click to select the background. Then I'll open the align panel and choose align vertical centers.
Now to make the little rings that hold the flaps into place. First I'll zoom in, tap M again to get my rectangle tool, click, and let's make a really small rectangle this time. Just three pixels wide by 11 pixels tall. Press Shift+X to exchange the stroke and fill. So, we have a black fill and no stroke. And apply a rounded corner effect again, in the control panel. And this time, just one pixel is all you need. With the selection tool, I'll make sure this is going to be centered in between the two flaps and that looks pretty good. And then I'll make the second ring by holding Option or Alt+Shift. And dragging over to the right. Then I'll Shift+click to select both the rings and the flaps and group them.
I'll zoom out. And then to make the other flaps, I'll hold Opt or Alt+Shift, and drag to the right. And when I do that, I'll also tap the up arrow key on my keyboard eight times, to make extra copies using InDesign's gridify feature. So Option or Alt+Shift, drag to the right, and tap the up arrow key. Again I'll group all the pieces and then Shift + click to select the background. Go to the align panel, and this time choose align horizontal centers, to make sure that the flaps are fully centered on the background.
Now to add some text. I'll tap the T key on my keyboard to get my type tool and drag across all the flaps. Now I'll type something in all caps like the word departures. Select the text and apply the font Source Sans Pro Regular. To make the letters fit better, I'm going to compress them horizontally, scaling them to 75% of their original width. If you're a true lover of type, you may dislike the idea of scaling type like this. And in that case you just might want to try a different font with very narrow glyphs.
Next, I'll make the text large. Say, 150 points. And let's change the fill color of the text to 10% black. Take my selection tool, select the text frame. Zoom in a bit. And I just want to nudge it down a little bit. Just to center these letters vertically inside the flaps. I'll also nudge it over to the right a little bit. So that D appears between these two rings. That looks pretty good. I'll zoom back out, select all the text. And space these letters out by applying some tracking with a keyboard shortcut. I'll hold Option or Alt and click the right arrow key on my keyboard a few times.
'Til I get to about 180. Now let's check and make sure each letter is centered in its flap. And if not, we can put our cursor before that letter and press option or alt left arrow to move the letter to the left or option alt right arrow to move it to the right. So I'll zoom in a little bit. And check letter by letter. So that E could maybe move over to the right a little bit, so I'll press option or alt right arrow. And then I'll just use the regular right arrow key to move over to the P. Hold option or alt. Tap the right arrow key, and continue on like this through the other letters, so move that A over.
Scroll over and check the rest of the letters. Move the R a little bit. T. The U needs to come back to the left a little bit. So I'll hold Option or Alt and tap the left arrow key. And do the same for the R, pull that back to the left, move the E to the right a little bit and same for the S. Zoom out and take a look. And that looks pretty good. Remember because this is all live text you can go back at any time and tweak it if you want to. And finally to add some shading to the top flaps, and the line dividing the top and bottom flaps, tick the rectangle tool, again.
Press the letter M on your keyboard. Drag over the top flaps and zoom in. And you want to make sure that this rectangle is sitting directly on top of that bottom flap. So I'll click and drag and make sure that it snaps right into place there. I'll go to the stroke panel, make sure that the stroke is aligned to the inside, and give it a weight of about three points. And zoom in. Snap it right to the top, there. And if I need to, I can press command or control + shift and the down arrow key to nudge this in a very small increment.
Just like that. I'll zoom out. And I can apply a fill of twenty percent black, in the Swatches panel. So target the fill, black, 20%. And use the blend mode menu in the effects panel to set the fill to multiply. So I'll chose window, effects, and switch from normal to multiply. And that just darkens up those top flaps a little bit and adds a little shading. You can also experiment with different colors for the letters.
So if I select the text frame, go to the Swatches panel, target the text, and I could try something like yellow with a tint of 70%. Or red, or even green. Here we saw how to create the look of a display board that you'd find in a train station. We did it just by creating flaps for the letters, with rounded rectangles and the gridify feature, plus some compressed text. Manually turned to be centered on each flap. I'm Mike Rankin, thanks for watching InDesign Effects.
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