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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, January 03, 2013

InDesign FX: Creating paper cutout letters

In this week’s InDesign FX video, I show how to create the effect of letters cut out of paper.

The final effect of letters cut out of paper.

The key elements to achieving this look include a combination of two transparency effects (Drop Shadow and Inner Shadow), a bit of vector masking courtesy of the Paste Into command, and your own creativity in scattering the letter shapes for some carefully composed “randomness.”

The cutout effect begins with a simple line of text.

The effect begins with a simple line of text.

The text is then converted to outlines and filled with a photo to simulate a surface beneath the paper. In this case, I chose a wood-grain texture. A small Inner Shadow applied to the letter shapes creates the effect of looking through the cutout letter shapes.

The text is converted to outlines and filled with a photo.

Adding a small inner shadow to create the cut out effect.

A second copy of the text outline is filled with a light black tint and given a small drop shadow. Then everything is placed atop a large frame filled with the same black tint to simulate a sheet of paper.

Fill a second copy of the text outlines with black and a drop shadow.

Close-up view of the second copy.

The final step of this effect is where you get to exercise the most creativity—scattering the letters by moving and rotating them.

Get creative with how you scatter the cut out letters.

Another nice thing about this technique: you can use it with any vector shapes you have or bring into Adobe InDesign from another application (like Adobe Illustrator).

Using any vector shape with this cut out effect.

I also have a member-exclusive movie in the lynda.com library this week called Applying multiple strokes with layers. In this video I show two variations on how to create multilayered text by applying combinations of varying strokes and shadows.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

Applying multiple strokes with layers.

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect!

Interested in more? • The entire InDesign FX biweekly series • Courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com • All lynda.com InDesign courses

Suggested courses to watch next:InDesign Secrets weekly seriesInDesign CS6 Essential Training • InDesign CS6 New FeaturesDeke’s Techniques

Learn it from the experts.

With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.

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