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I talked about how much I hate making clipping paths back in the Essential Training Title. I mean, there is adherently wrong with clipping paths, except they are real pain to draw and they always have sharp edges so they look unnatural. However, there are a few times when using a clipping path may be useful. So let's take a closer look at them and especially on how you can make your own and edit them right in InDesign. I am going to select this image in the middle of the page and zoom into 200% by pressing Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows and I am going to go to Object menu, choose Clipping Paths and then choose Options. We can see in the Type pop up menu that there is no built-in Photoshop path here. So I am going to ask InDesign to build a clipping path for me.
I will choose Detect Edges and we can see a couple of things. First of all InDesign switches to the Direct Selection tool in the Tool panel automatically for me and secondly I can see the clipping path around here. I even see the Bezier points along the paths. I can adjust which part of the image gets clipped and which part doesn't by changing the Threshold amount. The higher it goes, the more it gets clipped out, the lower it goes, the less gets clipped out. In this case, I want to find a nice balance between the two. The Tolerance setting let's me control how many Bezier point are going to be on that curve.
The smaller the number, the more points go on the curve. Here it is very few, here it is just way too many and it looks really strange. So I am going to try and find a Tolerance that really clips off most of the white part. I don't have to worry too much because the third setting in here, inset frame let's me choke the sides down; basically shrink it down to get rid of anything along the side. I am going to increase this to maybe half of a point. Now when I press the Tab key, it takes effect and I see that it's just choked out a little bit more.
Let's take it little bit more than that, maybe up to eight, you can see that it got a little bit smaller, taking away some of that white. I will go ahead and click OK and zoom it on this and see if it has worked well enough. I still have a little bit of white along there. Now this looks pixilated, so I better go into High Quality Display Mode. I go to View > Display Performance > High Quality Display and this gives me a much better and much more accurate view of the pixels that I am editing. In this case, I am going to add an additional point along here, by switching to the Pen tool, clicking and dragging right along the clipping path and you can see that I have added a new Bezier point along that edge.
Now I will go back to the Direct Selection tool and just move this over, just a little bit, maybe I'll move this over just a little bit as well. There we go. That's starting to look much better. I will go back to 200% view, by pressing Command+2 or Ctrl+2 on Windows and I will deselect everything by pressing Command+Shift+A or Ctrl+Shift+A and I can see that that's looking pretty good. Now I have to tell you, I rarely use Detect Edges on final images. I will use it for a quick comp that I am doing for a client or something, but the quality is usually not good enough. It's much better to do this thing in Photoshop, but for a quick comp or something you are throwing together, it can work pretty well. There is one other reason why you might want to build a clipping path in InDesign and that is to create a special effect.
For example, I can select this image and I will switch to the Selection tool to get the whole image there, I will click on that, I will copy it to the clipboard and then I will switch over to Illustrator. Now I am going to create a New Document here and I will paste that image in with Command+V or Crtl+V and zoom in on this. Now when you paste an image, into Illustrator that came from InDesign, it comes along with a clipping mask and that can cause problems. So I am going to release that clipping mask by going to the Object menu, choosing from the Clipping Mask Submenu, Release. If choose to view outline, I can actually see that clipping mask outside here. So I am going to select that clipping mask with the Direct Selection tool and delete it, then why don't I get rid of that image as well? There we go, I will get rid of all of that stuff, so the only thing that's left is the clipping path itself. I am going to select that and I can see that it has no fill or stroke, so I can't see it at all if I come out of outline mode.
I better hit the D key to give it at least a default black one point stroke. Now, I will go back to preview mode and I can see there is the path that I created in InDesign. Here I have it right in Illustrator, so that's cool. Once I have it in Illustrator I can apply cool effects to it. For example, I will go to Effect and Offset a little bit to make it go a little bit further out, maybe four points. That looks good and then I will go to Effect and maybe I will roughen it up a little bit. This could be fun, maybe just a tiny bit, half of a percent, maybe a lots of detail in here, click OK. That's that.
Really cool, rough effect. Now when I do that, I don't need that inside edge, but that's okay, I will copy it anyway. Copy that, come back to InDesign and paste and you can see that I have that effect that I created in Illustrator, but I now have it in InDesign. Now when I bring it back into InDesign, I actually have two separate objects. In this case, I have a fill object, which is white, and a stroke object, which is just that black stroke. So I am going to get rid of that by ungrouping those. I just did a Command+Shift+G and I will select the top object and delete it. Now you can see that just the stroke is left behind. In fact, I will get rid of that inner stroke that now I have it there by Option-clicking on that inside stroke with a Direction Selection tool and then pressing Delete. There we go. Now the only thing that's left, is that outside path. I will zoom in here so we can see this, press W to go into preview mode and you can see I have a really cool effect, but there is no way I could have created in InDesign, but I could get it by making a clipping path and using that clipping path in Illustrator to make that wacky effect.
However, ultimately now that I have this cool rough line around here, I probably don't want that clipping path anymore. I would rather get rid of the clipping path that sharp edge that actually isn't looking really good down at the bottom here anyway, I would rather get rid of the clipping path and use a true Anti-alias soft edge to blend into the background and that's what I am going to talk about in the next movie.
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