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By Mike Rankin | Wednesday, October 12, 2011

InDesign FX: Exploring Basic Feather settings

InDesign’s Basic Feather effect gives you the ability to blend the edges of an object with what’s behind it, creating soft transitions instead of sharp edges.

Perfectly sharp edges can make things look a little too sterile and digital, so this effect can be helpful for making objects seem a little more natural. In this week’s video, I lead a tour of the refreshingly simple Basic Feather dialog box, showing you how to control the shape and width of the feather as well as how to use Choke and Noise settings to tweak the transitions.

While Basic Feather works just fine on relatively simple shapes, I show why you might want to avoid using it on complex, small shapes like letters, where it can be difficult (if not impossible) to find a combination of settings that won’t break down the shapes entirely.

In the video I also show how to deal with one potentially frustrating aspect of working with InDesign FX: the fact that you can’t hide the frame edges of a selected object. This can make it hard to clearly see an effect like Basic Feather as you adjust the settings. The fix? Open a second window showing the same spread. In one window, select the object you’re feathering. In the other window, make sure the object is de-selected.

Target the window where the object is selected and open the Effects dialog box. Then, as you adjust your settings, preview the effect in the other window. It’s easier than it sounds, and it sure beats making repeated trips to the Effects dialog box.

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® on one of Basic Feather’s more sophisticated cousins, Exploring Directional Feather Settings.

And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

• InDesign FX complete course • courses on InDesign in the Online Training Library® • courses by Mike Rankin in the Online Training Library®

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