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Not only can InDesign read the transparency in your images, it can even see the layers inside your files too. That means you can actually turn on and off layers in your files from within InDesign without ever going back to Photoshop or Illustrator. It's very cool. Here is how it works. In this file I have a very large image that takes up the entire background. I am going to select it and right click on it, choose Edit Original, and see what this looks in Photoshop. Here it is in Photoshop, and you can see in the Layers panel that I've a number of layers.
I've got five different layers in this file, including a Title that has some effects on it, like a Drop Shadow. I have a hidden layer, which is this image with a bit of a glow around. I leave that hidden. I have got a ghosted back box, it's kind of white ghostly looking thing. And I have two different backgrounds. A background and an alternate background. So I have set up this file with all of these different layers in them. Now I am just going to close that and go back to InDesign. I won't save my changes that I've made there. I am just going to go back InDesign, and will see that I can turn on and off those layers from within in InDesign.
Once it's selected, I go to the Object menu and choose Object Layer Options. Look at this. All the layers that we saw in Photoshop are listed here in the layers list. There is the title, the inlay coast image which is currently hidden, the ghost box, and so on. And because the Preview checkbox is turned on, I can actually turn these things on and off by clicking on that little eyeball, and see what it's going to look like in InDesign. I don't even need to have Photoshop running to do this. InDesign itself is smart enough to show and hide any of these layers.
For example, we might want to change to the other background, the original background, looks good, click OK. And now when I print this document or make a PDF, I am going to get this background instead. Okay, I am going to open the Object Layer Options dialog box one more time, because I want to point out two other things. First, the Update Link Options, currently this is set to when updating link: Keep the Layer Visibility Overrides. Now this feature has to do with, what should InDesign do if the Photoshop file changes? Let's say somebody goes in and edits the Photoshop file, and it shows up as modified in InDesign's link panel.
When you update it, InDesign needs to know what you want to be done with all of the changes that you've made in this Show Layers list. If you've turned layers on or off in here, what should happen to those changes? By default keep layer visibility overrides means that InDesign will remember what you did in this list. But if you changed this to Use Photoshop's Layer Visibility instead, then each time you update the modified file, it will throw away any changes that you've made here. So that option is up to you.
I usually leave this set to the default. I want to keep my layer visibility overrides. Now the last thing I want to point out here is the layer comps. Photoshop has a feature called layer comps. It's actually a panel inside of Photoshop, and it lets you save different permutations of your file. For example, you can choose to have some layers on some layers off, and then save that in a little layer comp. You can also move things around your file. For example, move this title to a different place on the page and then save that in the layer comp. Now layer comps are a wonderful way to create a whole bunch of different images and store them all in a single PSD file, a single Photoshop file, it's really cool.
Anyway, the important thing is that if you've done that, InDesign can read them. We can see all the layer comps that were stored in that Photoshop file here in this pop up menu, and we can choose one of those. For example I'll change this to Title lower left, and when I do that, InDesign turns on and off the layers to match the layer comp. I'll change another one to Title in center, and then I'll try third one, which is Title upper left. You can see if I move this out of the way that this has turned on and off different layers, and even moved the objects on the layers.
The typed object, the image object, and so on and so on. So again, a great way to create a bunch of different comps, and then once they are in InDesign, I can choose which one I want. I'll go ahead and click OK here. There are so many great ways to use this feature. For example, you know I write a lot of computer books, right? They have a lot of before and after images. So now, instead of creating two different images, I just save a before and an after as two different layers in one file. I import that one file, I duplicate it, I change which layers are visible in each one.
And so now I keep track of half the number of files that I use to, and it's much easier to go back and make changes when necessary. I just love this Object Layer Options feature.
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