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By Mike Rankin | Thursday, January 12, 2012

InDesign FX: Exploring the Satin effect

InDesign’s Satin effect allows you to blend colors by combining objects that act like two inner shadows. By default, where the shadows intersect, they knock each other out, creating a kind of highlight.

InDesign's Satin effect blending colors

You can also invert the effect so a shadow is created only where the inner objects overlap. You can change the position of the objects and apply a blur to blend the colors.

InDesign's Satin effect creating shadow only where the inner objects overlap

The effect can be somewhat like beveling, but with intricate shapes, the highlight can zig-zag to follow all the edges of the shapes and create complex blends that you cannot make any other way in InDesign.

In this week’s video, I will show you how to simulate flames by combining a number of effects including Basic Feather, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, and the real key to capturing the shifting nature of flames, the Satin effect. Here’s a comparison of the flames with and without Satin:

Flames with and without Satin effect

You can see that without Satin, the flames are filled with a plain old linear gradient, but adding Satin introduces a randomness that completes the effect in a very satisfying way. I also show how Satin can help you make ice as well as fire:

Ice made with Satin effect

Expect that it may take a little while to get the hang of using Satin, and remember that a little bit of Satin goes a long way as it’s easy to overdo the effect and create something gaudy. My advice is to be subtle when using Satin. Use it in combination with other effects. Keeping the opacity low, blend with dark colors, and match the Size and Distance values for a good-sized blur. Then try it on some complex shapes to test the unique power of Satin.

For lynda.com members, I have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® that discusses Exploring Gradient Feather Settings, including how to use gradient feather to enhance a shiny reflective effect, like the one seen here:

Exploring InDesign's Gradient Feather Settings

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

Suggested courses to watch next: • InDesign CS5 Essential TrainingInDesign SecretsInDesign Styles in Depth• Photoshop for Designers: Color

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