Viewers: in countries Watching now:
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.
- This is a really trendy effect called a long shadow. It's different than a normal InDesign drop shadow, which is soft-edged. This one is flat, which some designers like, and it extends diagonally for a long distance. I'm gonna show you how you can make these directly in InDesign, and then I'm going to show you a shortcut that results in an even better effect, but does some of the work in Illustrator. First, the InDesign method. I'm gonna zoom back and grab this other frame down here and zoom back in with a Command two or a Control two on Windows. That's just the letter S in a text frame.
To make my shadow, I'm first going to clone it, that is, go to the Edit menu and copy it, and then go back to the Edit menu and choose Paste in Place. That makes an exact duplicate right on top of the other. Then, I'll go to the Type menu, and choose Create Outlines. It looks like text, of course, but I can see the outline by pressing the A key on my keyboard, which selects the Direct Selection tool. There's the points. I don't need those right now, so I'll go back to the selection tool by pressing V. To make my long shadow, I'm going to go back to the Edit menu and choose Step and Repeat.
I'm gonna be using Step and Repeat to make a whole bunch of these, very close to each other. For example, I'll go into the vertical and set it to, say, point five points. And then horizontal will be the same. Point five points. Now, how many of these do I want? I want a lot of 'em. Let's say, 200 of these. And I click OK. I now have 200 duplicates, each a half a point to the right and down of the previous one. I don't want 200 objects, I want one long shadow. So I'm going to merge all of those together by going to the Object menu, going all the way down to Pathfinder, and then choosing Add.
Now, this sometimes can take a long time, depending on the speed of your computer and how many duplicates you made. But, when it's done, you get a single vector object that you could do stuff with. For example, I'll go to the Swatches panel, and I'll change the color here to, say, cyan. Now I'll go to the Object menu, choose Arrange, and Send to Back. Now technically, there's one more thing I should do, and that is select that S sitting on the top. I'm gonna deselect everything with Command Shift A or Control Shift A on Windows, and then select the S that's sitting on top.
That's the frame that I originally used for the Step and Repeat. It didn't get added to all those others. So, I can delete that. Now I have the text frame with the S in it, and that shadow behind it. If I want to, I could select both of those, go to the Object menu, Group them together, and then Cut them out, drag out a frame, and use Edit, Paste Into. Obviously I need to readjust that a little bit, so I'll double-click to select the group inside, and just move that up to fit. So this is terrific, but there's only one problem.
And that is, if I zoom in on the upper right corner of this, I can see that that long shadow, that vector object, has a very jaggy edge. If I printed this on newsprint, it would probably look just fine. Or if I show it on screen at 100%, looks great. But if I want a really clean edge for a high-quality output, well, I might want to use a different technique. And this one's going to use Illustrator. I'll zoom back to 200% with Command two, or Control two on Windows, and I'm going to grab that text frame, I'll double-click on it, double-click again, now I've got the frame, and now I'm going to copy this to the Clipboard with a Command C or Control C on Windows.
Let's drag this over a little bit so we have some room to work with. I can paste this in if I want to and I can see that, indeed, I have that original text frame. To get my long shadow now, I'm going to use Adobe Illustrator. So I'll switch over to Illustrator and paste that same S in. Sometimes when you copy and paste from InDesign into Illustrator, you get more than you expected. In this case, I got not just the S, but also a clipping mask around it. That's what this big rectangle is. I can get rid of that by going to the Object menu, choosing Clipping Mask, and then Release.
Now all I have to do is drag over an edge of that and hit the Delete key, so the only thing that's left on my page is that S. Now let's make that shadow shape. I'll go to the Effect menu, choose 3D, and then choose Extrude & Bevel. Extrude & Bevel is an awesome way to make three-dimensional effects right inside of Illustrator. In this case, I'm going to set the first setting to one degree, the second setting to one degree, and then the third setting to zero degrees. I also don't want any Perspective on this. In order to get a longer shadow, I'm going to set the Extrude depth to the maximum amount, 2000 points.
And then finally, I'm going to set the Surface to No Shading at all, just flat. I'll click OK, and you can see that I now have something that looks like a long shadow. So all I have to do is copy it, with a Command C or Control C on Windows, go back to InDesign, and paste, Command V or Control V on Windows. I'll move that out of the way and I don't need that text frame any more so I'll select it and delete it. The easiest way to see what's happened here is to go back to my Direct Selection tool, the white arrow tool, which again, I can get by pressing the A key on my keyboard.
Now, when I select this, you'll see I have one shape for the top, and then I have a lot of smaller shapes too. In this case, I'm going to go back to the Selection tool, and then double-click on that group to select just that one shape, the big S. And I'll change that color. Let's make this cyan. So now I have a very similar effect, but it's much smoother along the edge. Let's take a look. I'll zoom in, switch back to my selection tool, select that edge, and you can see that I now have a perfect, sharp edge down the side. So as you can see, there are lots of different ways of making these long shadows, either just within InDesign or using Illustrator.
And this ability to copy and paste vector shapes between InDesign and Illustrator is so helpful, especially when creating special effects like this.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign Secrets .
Here are the FAQs that matched your search "" :
Sorry, there are no matches for your search "" —to search again, type in another word or phrase and click search.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.