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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.
See this word design? I'd like to spice that up a little bit. Maybe put a gradient inside of it. Let's zoom in on it by pressing Cmd+ 4 or Ctrl+4 on Windows. And then I'm going to make a gradient swatch that I'll apply to that text. Before I make my swatch, I'm going to deselect everything on my page so I don't accidentally create the swatch and then apply it to the selected object. To deselect everything I press Cmd+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A on Windows. Then I'll open my Swatches panel, go to my Swatches panel menu, and choose New Gradient Swatch.
Now this swatch is going to go from magenta to black, so I'll just type that in, magenta to black. But of course doesn't help me, I need to specify exactly what colors I want. So, I'll come down here and click on this color stop right underneath the gradient ramp. Now I can specify what color I want on that side, and I'm going to make it 100% magenta. Over on the right side, I'll click on the color stop, and I'll set this to black. When I click OK, InDesign adds it to my color swatches panel, and now I can apply it to this object. I'll select the object, I'll click this little T button so that InDesign knows that I want this color swatch applied to the text, not the object itself, not the text frame.
And then I'll scroll down and click on that swatch. That's kind of interesting but I'd like to rotate the gradient. So, I'll go to the Gradient panel and I'll set the angle to, say, minus 90 degrees. Then I'll hit Enter. All right, now this is looking good. Except for one thing. And that is, it's all kind of gray and blacky looking. It's kind of a muddled gray area in the middle. It goes from magenta to black. But this middle area is just gross, so what do you do? How do you get a great looking gradient? Well, instead of going from magenta to black, you want to go from magenta to a rich black.
Let's head back to the Swatches panel, and I'll show you how. I'll right click on this Color Swatch, and choose Swatch Options, that's what they call the edit swatch feature. Now, in order to make this the rich black, I'm going to click on that little color stop. And I'm not going to use the swatch called black. Instead, I'm going to change the Stop Color pop-up menu to CMYK. And now I'm going to boost the amount of magenta in here to, let's say, 80%, or 85%, something like that. So, now this gradient is going to go from 100% magenta to 100% black plus 85% magenta.
It's a rich black. It has color inside of it. It's dynamic. Let's click OK and see how it looks. That's looking much better. We've lost our angle so I better go in here and change that again. Minus 90. There we go. So, this is looking much better. It's a nice rich magenta all the way to a nice rich black. The balance is a little bit off. I need it to be a little bit darker at the bottom, and I can do that here in the Gradient panel. I'll just change this midpoint slider, pull it to the left a little bit, and now that gives me more black on the bottom and less magenta at the top, and that looks much, much better.
Just remember, black is not usually solid black. It's more of a charcoal gray, so if you really want rich colors, you need to make a rich black. That is, black with some other color mixed in. And boosting the gradient with more color is a super easy fix for boring blends. And it so easy to do.
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