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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.
We talked about drop shadows and glows and other transparency effects in the Essential Training title. Now it's time to go deeper, exploring some of the more obscure, but important features in the Effects panel, plus it's time to play a little bit. That's where you really learn the best stuff. I am going to jump to the second page of this document by pressing Shift+Page Down and I am going to grab this text frame and drag it down on top of this image, so we can see that it's in text inside of a white frame on top of the image. Why don't I zoom in little bit just by pressing Command+Plus or Ctrl+Plus on Windows a little bit, move this up. We can see the white frame, but we would like to see through the white frame a little bit, so I better go, grab the Effects panel. In the Effects panel, I can change the Opacity to let's say 80%, but the problem with this is it changed the Opacity of both the background fill and also the text. So that's not what I want to do.
Let's change this Opacity back to 100%. Instead I want to change the Opacity of just the Fill, so I will select Fill in the Effects panel and change the Opacity here to 80%. Now the white has become 80%, but the text is still at full strength. Now let's go and add a drop shadow to this. I will jump to the effects pop menu, choose Drop Shadow and while the Preview checkbox is turned on, I can see that my Drop Shadow is going to show up right behind that fill. Let's adjust the settings for this a little bit. I will leave this at Multiply because that's usually the best setting for the Drop Shadows. I am going to bring the Opacity down just a little bit to 70% and set the distance a little bit smaller, maybe down to two millimeters. I am just using the Arrow keys once I click inside of a field to adjust that, so that's a little fast way to do that. May be I will make this a little bit smaller Drop Shadow as well, by changing this size to one millimeter and I am going to increase the noise.
I always like adding a little bit of noise because that makes Drop Shadows more realistic, really because real shadows have noise in them, so our InDesign Drop Shadow should also have noise in them. Now what about this Spread feature? Spread controls how far out the Drop Shadow should be at its full strength. So full strength here is 70%. So the Spread amount will control how far out from the object, will it be 70%. I am going to give it a little bit of a Spread, just to make it a little bit stronger, more robust Drop Shadow here.
Now let's talk about Object Knocks Out Shadow and Shadow Honors Other Effects. These are features that you are not going to use that often, but it's good to know what they do. Object Knocks Out Shadow has to do with a situation where you might see the shadow through the fill. Object Knocks out Shadow lets you control whether or not you can see the Drop Shadow through a transparent object. For example, right now we cannot see any Drop Shadow behind this white because the object is knocking out the shadow, but if I turn that off, you will see that everything got a little darker, you can kind of just get a glimpse of what's going on there, there is a Drop Shadow behind that object which is in this case is not being knocked out, so that's what's going on there. It's good to know; typically you want that turned on.
Shadow Honors other Effects usually does nothing. You can turn it on or off and you won't see any change unless you have another Effect applied to it. For example, Outer Glow, which extends the effect beyond the edge of the normal object. So for example, without a Glow, let's set this to normal and I am going to change the color to something like bright yellow. So I just clicked on this little Swatch to change its color. I am going to boost up the Opacity to something let's say all the way to 100%, really solid Opacity and make this even bigger, big, maybe nine or ten millimeter, glow around here, without Noise, so just a couple of percentage of Noise will help a lot and then let's Spread it, let's get this, push it all out from the side of the object. If we bring this up to 50%, that means the densest part of our glow will reach 50% out from the edge to the nine millimeter. So all the way, about four-and-a-half, five millimeters out, will get a really nice dense glow. So that's a very bright glow.
Now, let's go back to Drop Shadow and look at Shadow Honors Other Effects. Right now the Drop Shadow is now being obliterated by that glow. So if that's what you wanted it to look like then that's great, but if you wanted the Drop Shadow and the glow, you could turn on Shadow Honors Other Effects. Now see what's going on. We are getting the glow and the Drop Shadow over the glow. I am not sure why you would want to do that, this is why I said that Shadow Honors Other Effects is pretty rare and it's rare that you want to turn that on, but just in case you want something incredibly horrible looking, you have the option in InDesign to make it as bad as you want it to look.
Okay let's click OK here and get rid of some of those effects and look at some other glow thing. I am going to go to the fly out menu of the Effects panel and choose Clear Effects. Of course I have the two options here, Clear Effects and Clear All Transparency, but I still want that semi opaque background, so I don't want to clear all my transparency, in this case I just want to clear those effects that I applied. Okay let's look at something else you can do in the Effects panel, cool thing here. What if we wanted a ghost effect applied to this text, not such sharp edges on the text, but make it ghostly, blurry edges instead, can we do that? Sure we can, but you just have to tricky about it. First thing I am going to do is go to the Swatches panel and I am going to set the Fill of the text, not the frame itself, but the fill of the text. So I click on that little t and then I am going to swap the colors, so I filled it with no stroke, and I am going to fill it, not with that green color, but with paper, so I filled the text with that paper color, all right, so that's interesting. Now let's go back to Effects and we see that it's all grayed out. This is a bug in InDesign, CS3 did it sometimes too, I am not sure why. Sometimes when you move back and forth between Swatches and Effects it just grays out. All you have to do is Deselect and then select it again and the Effects panel kicks in.
So now the Effects panel is showing us everything set to 100% except the Fill for this. We are going to change the Text. So I am going to click on the Text and I am going to give it a Drop Shadow. So let's jump over to Drop Shadow here. I am going to say give it a Drop Shadow, maybe 100% Drop Shadow and I am going to set the Distance to zero. So that the Drop Shadow sits actually behind the text, and just peaks out on all four sides of the text. I like that effect here. I want to make that a little bit bigger, little thicker there and of course add some Noise, don't forget to add Noise and them I am going to Spread this more, let's say about 20%-30% something like that. This is looking pretty cool. We are getting a nice blurry looking effect around the edges of the text, but we want the text to disappear.
How do we get the text to disappear? Well, to do that, we need the change to Blending Mode of the text in the Effects panel. We have selected the Text in here, I go to the Blending Mode pop up menu and I choose Multiply. Multiply is an interesting effect because it takes anything that's white and makes it disappear. White just goes to transparent and that's cool. So we can actually see through that white text now to the image behind it. I will show you this even more clearly by setting the background of this frame to none. Now you can actually see that you can see right through that text to the image behind it.
So it's a stencil effect. Notice it's interesting. In this case that's not what I wanted. I want the white background there, so I am going to undo that with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows and I want not the transparent text, but actually just the blurry text effect. So I am going to make the text disappear entirely. I don't even want to see the stencil effect. How do I do that? I go to Effects, go back to text, double click on the Effects icon here, remember that icon, if you double click on it, it reopens the Effects dialog box and then our friend Object Knocks Out Shadow, turn that off and it disappears entirely, all right, because the text itself is no longer knocking out the shadow.
So we have our blurry ghostly effect here and this probably a little bit too much of a Spread or too much of a Drop Shadow so you could barely even read it there, but let's increase the Noise and see what happens there. What if we really boost that up high like 50%-60%? Now you get a smug, almost like a charcoal effect in there and you can really have a lot of fun playing with all these settings. Don't be afraid to play and twist and push them to their extremes until you get the effect you want. I mean, sure InDesign is a page layout program, but it's also a designer's playground and the more you play, the more you will find yourself amazed that what you can accomplish with these transparency effects without ever having to switch to another program.
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