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David Blatner brings his knowledge of and passion for InDesign to the latest release of this state-of-the-art publishing program, showing how to harness its power and functionality. InDesign CS4 Beyond the Basics covers the process of publishing with an eye on the program's latest nuances: optimizing page layouts, automating InDesign with Data Merge and XML, exploring interactive documents (including making movies), and exporting publications to a variety of formats. Exercise files accompany the course.
Everyone knows how to make a frame in the shape of a circle. You just use the Ellipse Frame tool and drag out of shape and hold down the Shift key while you are dragging to make sure it constraints to a circle. I can't see it because it doesn't have a fill or a stroke right now. So I will go to the Swatches panel, let's say I will give it a fill of some bright color, maybe magenta, it looks good, but how do I make a shape of a donut, or if you are cutting down on sweets, let's say a bagel, how do you make a hole in the middle of an object? Well, the trick is to make a compound path, a path that actually contains more than one path. Now we talked about compound paths a little bit in the Essentials Training Title and I showed you how you could use the Path Finder features to put a hole in something.
For example, I will draw another circle on top of this one. I will select both of those with the Selection tool and now I will go to Object > Path Finder > Subtract. This puts a hole in the bottom, it actually knocks that first object through the bottom and I can see right through it. This works because it's actually two paths. If I switch to the direction Selection tool I can see that there is a path on the outside and the path on the inside. You can actually select each of those paths independently. I will deselect by clicking off on the pasteboard and now I will select that first inner path there just by clicking on its edge and you will see that the inner is selected.
I can even drag this segment out and make a weird shape in the middle here by just dragging this segment or a point. I will undo that by pressing Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows a couple of times and I want to show you how I can move this whole path. The way you do that is hold down the Option key or Alt key on the Windows and click on the path. This selects all the points on the path. They are all selected now, not the outside path, but just the inner path that I clicked on. Now I can drag that around and you can see that it's actually changing it.
I can even drag it outside here and you get a really strange effect where this area here in the middle is invisible. It's basically a hole, but the outside areas are not. Let's put this back into the middle again. Now there are several other ways to make compound paths as well. Let's move this over to the side and I am going to zoom in on this word Magazine. If I select this word, oh, I need the Direct Selection tool here to grab just that text frame here, I will select this text frame with the word Magazine in it and I am going to convert it to outlines by going to the Type menu and choosing Create Outlines.
Now each one of these is a separate path, but they are all part of one very complex compound path. I am going to zoom in even closer here, so we can really see each of these paths and I want to show you how you can release one of these paths from the rest. For example, let's say I wanted to just select one and move it out or delete it or change it in some way. Well, I will select the whole object with the Selection tool; I will go to the Object menu, go down to the Path submenu and choose Release Compound Path. Now each one of these characters is a separate object in InDesign. Even the counters inside these A's, those little things that used to be holes. I will deselect everything with Command+Shift+ A or Ctrl+Shift+A on Windows and you can see that these things are actually separate objects too. They are not holes inside the A anymore. So we better fix those. I will select that one and select the background part of the A and then go to the Object > Path Finder and Subtract, just like we did before. Now you can see that you can see right through the A to the color behind it.
Let me show you one other way of making a compound path. I am going to select that counter and that background path of the A. I will go to the Object menu, choose Paths this time and choose Make Compound Path or you could press Command+8 or Ctrl+8 on Windows. Now in this case I have made a compound path, it's still two paths, like I will show you that with the Direction Selection tool, it's still two paths but it doesn't look the same as this way. Why? Well, the answer is a little bit technical and it has to do with path direction. Every path in InDesign has a direction, either clockwise or counterclockwise and in order to make a compound path with a hole in it, those directions have to be the opposite. It's weird and the biggest problem is there is no way to tell when you look at a path if it's clockwise or counterclockwise. So what do you do? Whenever you have a situation like this where you have a compound path that's not acting that way you want, that is you are not getting the hole in the middle, just select one of those paths. I am just going to deselect off that for a moment and then I will click on top of one of those paths or Option-click on it to select all the points on that path alone, then go to the Object menu, go down to Paths and then reverse the Path.
Reverse Path only makes sense when you have a compound path and you are not getting the effect you want. You reverse the order, so it was clockwise and it turns to counterclockwise or the way around, I am not sure which, but the important thing is you are getting the hole in the middle of the A there, just the way you would want it. So this whole thing is now one compound path with a hole in the middle. Compound paths can be tricky and they can be technical, but sometimes you just have to dig in and work with them to get some effect that you are trying to achieve.
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