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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, August 18, 2011

InDesign FX: Exploring The Effects Panel

InDesign’s FX can be so much fun, it’s tempting to just dive right in and start working with them, even if you’re not all that familiar with the controls. You can certainly accomplish a lot armed with nothing more than curiosity and patience, but to really get the most out of these tools you should spend a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them. That’s the purpose of this week’s free InDesign FX video. You use this information every time you work with InDesign’s effects. When you know where everything is and how to use it, you’ll naturally have a more enjoyable and productive time.

The video starts with a tour of the Effects panel controls. You’ll see all the places where you can adjust blending modes and opacity. I’ll show you where and how to target FX to the various levels of an object to produce different results.

Cool effects

There are also some nifty efficiency tips in the video. After watching it, you’ll discover how to tell which effects have been applied to an object without opening the dialog box. You’ll also know how to save time and effort by copying FX from one object to another with a simple drag and drop.

I also demystify two settings that have puzzled many InDesign users over the years: Isolate Blending and Knockout Group. They both are used to limit the effects of blending modes to specific objects on a page, and they’re well worth mastering.

Finally, I demonstrate the workings of Global Light. This is an important tool for making your effects consistent throughout a document by giving them the same light source via Angle and Altitude settings.

Global Light

Getting a handle on Altitude in particular is the key to mastering the Bevel and Emboss effect. You’ll also understand how Global Light can sometimes cause objects with effects to unexpectedly change when you move them from one document to another (and how to prevent this from happening).

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week exclusively in the Online Training Library® on how to create long cast shadows using Type on a Path. And I’ll see you here again in two weeks with another free 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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