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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, July 12, 2012

InDesign FX: How to simulate liquids

Water, water everywhere…better not spill any on your keyboard. While liquids and computers are not a very good combination in real life, there’s nothing preventing you from using InDesign to make a liquid effect in your documents. As I show in this week’s InDesign FXtutorial, the trick is to use Bevel and Emboss in combination with a blending mode trick or two.

The key to liquid effects is getting the highlight part of the bevel correct so that an object or text looks wet. To get that highlight just right, you’ll usually have to experiment a bit and adjust the Angle, Altitude, and Size of the bevel until you get it looking the way you want it. Once you get the highlight right, then you only need to change the fill color to switch from a wet paint effect…

InDesign Text that looks like it is made out of wet paint.

to a gooey, melted chocolate effect…

InDesign Text that looks like it is made out of chocolate.

to a blood effect that might tempt a vampire to sink his fangs into the page.

InDesign Text that looks like it is made out of blood.

To simulate plain water, you have to apply the Hard Light blending mode and it’s important to always use a background object or texture.

Realistic InDesign water text created with Bevel and the Hard Light blending mode.

From there, you can vary the fill color to simulate other translucent liquids, like the maple syrup letters you see below.

InDesign text that looks like maple syrup.

For lynda.com members, I also have another new member-exclusive video this week in the lynda.com library called Creating Editable Knock-out Text. In the video, I show how to use InDesign’s Knockout Group feature to make live text that you can see through. Then, by varying the opacity of the text frame’s fill, I show you how to use this technique to create different effects, including blending the fill of the frame with the image that is beneath.

Using InDesign's Knockout Group feature to make live text that you can see through.

I also show you how to achieve a more dramatic effect by making the frame’s fill opaque and using the text as a mask for underlying objects.

Using InDesign's Knockout Group feature with an opaque fill that makes the effect more dramatic.

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

Interested in more? • The complete InDesign FX course • All InDesign courses on lynda.com • All courses by Mike Rankin on lynda.com

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