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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, June 06, 2013

InDesign FX: Revolving an item around an object

When it comes to graphic effects, sometimes your most impressive creative work isn’t visible on the page—it’s in the technique that made what’s on the page possible. That’s the case with this week’s FX video on using the Adobe InDesign animation tools.

In the video, I show how to make it look like one object is revolving around another. It’s a simple example with a red circle that crosses in front of a black rectangle, then reverses direction and goes behind the rectangle.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Or does it? In truth, you can’t control the stacking order of objects with the InDesign animation tools. But you can fake it by using two copies of the rectangle. Basically, the effect is created by sandwiching the red circle in between the rectangles.

Figure 3

The top copy of the rectangle is animated to disappear just before the red circle passes over it coming from the right.

Figure 4

Then, when the circle is all the way to the left, the top rectangle reappears so it covers the red circle on its path from left to right.

Since the two copies of the rectangle are identical, it looks like there’s only one, and the illusion of the revolving red circle is created.

I also have a member-exclusive movie in the library this week called Creating old-fashioned spotlights.

Figure 5

I got the idea for this effect from an LP cover from the 1950s, and I think it evokes a fun, midcentury jazzy vibe.

Figure 6

See you here again in two weeks for more InDesign FX!

Interested in more?

• Start a free trial membership at • The entire InDesign FX biweekly series • Courses by Mike Rankin on • All InDesign courses on

Adobe and InDesign are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or countries.

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