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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.
Gradients, blends, vignettes. Whatever you want to call them, they can be beautiful, or they can make your life a study in frustration. I'm going to show you how to make them in the Swatches panel first and then in the next movie, I'll talk about how to apply and customize them. To make a gradient swatch, go to the Swatches panel menu and choose New Gradient Swatch. By default, we get a gradient that goes from white to black. That's not very exciting, so let's go ahead and change that. To choose different colors, click on these gradient stops at the bottom of the Gradient Ramp.
I'll click on the one on the left and I'll set it to cyan. Now I'm going to click on the gradient stop on the right, this black one. Notice that it switches to a list of all my swatches. I don't know why it does that. For some reason it always does, but you can change it back to CMYK by changing the Stop Color pop-up menu to CMYK, or any of these other modes. In this case, I'm going to leave it set to Swatches and simply choose my yellow swatch. So I now have a gradient that goes from cyan to yellow. If I want to add another color to this, it's easy to do.
I simply click on the bottom of the Gradient Ramp to add a new color stop. Let's make this one kind of dark and mysterious, kind of a darker blue color. Now I can change this and position it exactly where I want it. So I've created a blend that goes from cyan to dark blue to yellow. And I want to give it a name. It's good to give it a descriptive name. How about cyan to blue to yellow? That's easy enough, and then click OK. You can see that it adds my gradient swatch to the bottom of the Swatches panel.
Let's go ahead and create one more gradient swatch. I'll choose New Gradient Swatch and you can see that the Gradient Ramp is all setup with the last gradient I created. But I don't want it to look like this. I only want two colors, one on either end. So to get rid of this gradient stop that I added there, all I have to do is click on it and drag it away. Now it goes from cyan to yellow again, but I'm going to change this to some other color. I'd like to have this violet color to something else. How about we change this to CMYK, then how about to green.
So we've got sort of a violet to a green color, and in this case, I want it to be not a linear blend, but a radial blend, kind of as a circle or an ellipse. I'll give it a name, violet to green. You can call it anything you want, but that's what I'm going to call mine and I'll click OK. At the very bottom of the Swatches panel there are series of buttons and those are filters to help you when you have a lot of swatches listed here. The first means show me all the swatches, the second one means show me just the solid color swatches, not the gradient swatches, and the third one means show me only the gradients.
So that's kind of handy when you have a lot of different swatches in there and you need to find just the one that you wanted. Let's go ahead and try and apply these gradients just to see what they look like. I'm going to select this text frame and click on the first one we made, and you can see that it's a three-color linear blend. I'll click on the second one, and you can see that it's a circular violet to green with violet in the center. To edit the gradient swatch, I right- click on it and choose Swatch Options, and up comes the Gradient Options dialog box and I can change this to anything else I want.
For example, instead of green maybe I'll make it-- how about red instead? I better change this name so it reflects the reality of this color swatch, and you may notice in here that there is no option for changing that opacity. For example, you can't fade a blend from violet to transparent. If you need that effect, take a look at the movie in an earlier chapter about the feathering transparency effects. That's how you do that. I'll click OK and you can see it updates on my page.
Now that you know how to make a gradient swatch, it's time to learn some of the ways that InDesign lets you fine- tune those swatches, and even apply them to text.
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