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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, the print and interactive page layout application from Adobe, in InDesign CS5 Essential Training. The course shows how to create new documents with strong and flexible master pages, precisely position text and graphics, prepare documents for print, and export designs as interactive PDF or Flash SWF files. Exercise files are included with the course.
In the last movie, I talked about how to make a gradient swatch in the Swatches panel. Now let's look at applying gradients to stuff on your page and how to fine-tune those gradients. Because I reverted my file at the end of the last movie, I'm going to have to create a new gradient swatch now. That's no problem, easy to do. Choose New Gradient Swatch and why don't we choose these from swatches that I already have in here. I'll do maybe this orange to a yellow color that I've got here. Here we go. A linear swatch from orange to yellow, and I'm going to call this sunrise, click OK, and it adds the sunrise gradient to the bottom of my Swatches panel.
Let's go ahead and apply that to this object back here. Looks pretty good. However the gradient goes from orange on the left to yellow on the right. That's not what I want. I actually want it to be orange on the bottom, and yellow on the top. How do I do that? Well, I need to apply local gradient formatting to this object. To do that I need the Gradient panel right here. The Gradient panel lets me control all kinds of local formatting for gradients including the type. I can change this from Linear to Radial if I want to.
Now it's a little bit hard to see here, but it's orange in the middle and yellow on the outside. I don't need that. I'm going to set it back to Linear. I can also reverse the order by clicking on the Reverse button. Now it's orange on the right and yellow in the left, but that again is not what I want. So I'll choose it again to set it back to the way it was. What I want is to rotate the angle inside that frame. To do that, I change the Angle value. Right now it's 0 degrees. I'm going to set it to 90 degrees. That means rotate the right edge of this up 90 degrees, so that it goes straight up.
Let's press Enter or Return and see if it worked. It did. Orange is now at the bottom and yellow is now at the top. So I've applied some local formatting to this object with the gradient. Let's make some more changes here. I'd like that orange to be a little bit darker at the bottom, so I'm going to click on that gradient stop on the left side here and change its color. To do that, I need the Color panel. So I'll go to Window > Color > Color, there is the Color panel, and now I can choose either a tint out of here, but that's not going to help me because I want it darker.
So I'll choose CMYK and I'll just darken this color up a little bit. This could have a darker color there. You can see that as I make this change here, it's making it darker at the bottom of my frame. That looks pretty good and now at the top, I'd like it to be kind of a lighter yellow, so I'm going to click on this end of the Gradient Ramp, change this to CMYK, and let's make it a little bit more pure yellow. There we go. That's a nice almost pure yellow. How about if we go all the way pure yellow at the top and sort of dirty orange at the bottom? So I've set up my own custom gradient here.
I could even add additional color stops if I want to, or change the mid-point slider if I want to. How about if we do that? That looks pretty good, but once I have done all of this work, it would be nice if I could save this as a new gradient swatch, after all I might want to use that later. To do that I need to show both the Gradient panel and the Swatches panel at the same time. So I'm going to drag the Gradient panel out to float it. Now I can see the Gradient panel and the Swatches and to add this gradient to the Swatches panel, it's as simple as drag-and-drop.
I'm simply going to drag this little icon here to the bottom of the Swatches panel. As soon as I see that dark black line, l let go and there it is. Now, it gave it a dumb name, New Gradient Swatch, so that's not helpful. I'll right-click on that or Ctrl+ Click with a one-button mouse, and that opens the Gradient Options dialog box, and I'll give this another name. I'll say sunrise 2. It's not a very descriptive name, but you got the idea. Click OK. I now have a second gradient swatch in here. But when I did that, what happened to my gradient? It reverted back to Linear left or right. How about that? Gradient swatches are always left to right.
It's a frustrating thing about InDesign's gradients in my opinion. I wish that it would remember the angle inside my swatch, but it can't. So I'm going to close the Swatches panel, move this out of the way so I can see it better, and once again change this to 90 degrees. There we go. Now I've got my 90-degree angle again. So the angle is always a local format. That is, it is always applied to a single object. It cannot be saved in a gradient swatch. Now there is another feature you can use to fine-tune gradients, and that's the Gradient tool here in the middle of the Tool panel.
If I choose the Gradient tool, I can really fine-tune exactly the way I want my gradient to be inside this frame. For example, I could say start at this point here. I'm going to click there and hold-down the mouse button, and drag up to end it here. And when I let go, it re-does my gradient from here to here. Let's try it again in a different angle. How about from here to here? You get the idea. You can very quickly make all kinds of interesting effects just by clicking-and-dragging with your Gradient tool.
The Gradient tool is also very useful when applying gradients to text. Let me show you what I mean. I could apply my gradient, my sunrise gradient, to this text here by selecting the text, and then going to my Swatches panel, and clicking on sunrise. I'll deselect this so you can see that it's now orange on the left and yellow on the right. Now the way gradients work in text frames is kind of a little obscure, so I better explain it to you. It is always based on the width of the frame, not the text that you've selected.
For example, if I make this text frame wider, I'm going to get a very different effect. The blend inside the text has changed, so that I'm mostly seeing the yellow, not so much the orange. The orange is going to be on this side of the text frame, which we don't even see. Let's go ahead and make that smaller again. If you want to fine-tune the gradient inside of text, first select the text that you want to apply it to. For example, I'll just choose these two words up here. Then grab your Gradient tool, and then drag over your selection. For example, I'm going to go from the bottom to the top here.
I held down the Shift key to make sure that it was perfectly vertical. When I deselect, you can now see that the gradient inside this text is vertical, and this is horizontal. These kind of blends are certainly the trickiest color feature in InDesign to get right, but practice fine-tuning them using the Gradient tool and the Gradient panel and you'll soon become a blend master.
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