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Author David Blatner provides in-depth training on InDesign CS5, Adobe's print and interactive page layout application, 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.
Sometimes, you need to colorize an image, i.e., apply a color to an imported image. Now you can do this in InDesign, but there are three conditions. It must be a pixel-based image, i.e., no Illustrator vector files. The image must be saved in a grayscale mode. It can't already in color. Third, there cannot be any transparency in the image. So, it has to be a flattened, grayscale image, saved like a TIFF or a PSD file. Let me show you how it works. I've imported this image into the background of this order form and I'd like to colorize it.
So, I'll select it with the Selection tool, go to the Swatches panel and click on a color. Does that look good to you? Because it sure doesn't look good to me. This is what most people do when they try and colorize an image. They select the graphic file and apply a color. Well, this actually fills that frame with a color and then puts the image into the color. It's hard to explain technically, but it's always ugly. It's just not a good thing. So, let me undo that, Command+Z, and instead let me show you the real trick for colorizing an image.
I'm going to place my cursor over this image. Click on the content grabber in the middle. That selects the image not the frame. I could do the same thing by clicking on the image with the Direct Select tool. In either case, it selects the image inside the frame and now I can apply the color. I'll click on Spot Green and now every pixel in the image that was black is now green instead. That's the effect that most people want. It's a little bit too strong. So I'm going to ghost it back a little bit by coming up here to the Tint field and changing this from 100 % down to let's say 40%.
Hit Enter or Return. That's looking much nicer. I have now colorized an image. I can't tell you how many people have emailed me, saying they can't figure out how to achieve this effect. Now you know, just use the Direct Selection tool or click on that Content Grabber to select the image inside the frame.
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