- We often take the layers panel for granted and don't think about it too much, but actually, the layers panel is a really important part of working with InDesign animations. I've rearranged my workspace, here, so that we can see the layers panel more clearly. Now, you probably know that images in your file will show up in the layers panel by their name. It's pretty easy to tell that that's this image. Our text also shows up in the layers panel with the text, itself, showing in the panel. Again, no cause for confusion there.
But many other objects in InDesign have these really generic names, and it's very hard to know what's what. For example, I have four lines here. Which one is which? Oh, this is the bottom line. If I click on these proxies, I can select the line on my page, and that's that line. But, otherwise, the description is completely vague. Likewise, if I click on a grouped item, I only get the name group. Or, what about this number, which is an outline? It just says path.
Now, this becomes important in animations partly because the name that is used in the layers panel is the name that shows up in the timing panel once you animate an object. If you don't know which line is which, it's going to be really hard to order it in the timing panel. Let's take a look at how this file is animated. I'm gonna go to page two, where I have the same layout and the same information in the layers panel, but I've simply selected everything and set it to fade in. Let's take a look.
Oh, dear. That's not what I wanted. Everything is coming in in kind of a crazy order and it doesn't make any sense at all. So, even though everything's animated, I'm definitely going to need to re-order it in the timing panel. So, while these generic labels in the layers panel might be fine in a print or PDF project, they really are not very helpful in this animation project. If we look at the timing panel, we can see that the same names are used in the timing panel that we have in our layers panel.
This demonstrates why it's really important to name objects as you animate them. Because in addition to the naming conventions, there's some other interesting relationships between the timing panel and the layers panel. For example, if I double click on something in the timing panel it does a couple of things. First, it selects it on the page. And that's helpful because I can see, for example, what animation is applied to it. But it also highlights it in the layers panel. So, that's handy. Unfortunately, the reverse isn't quite true.
If I click over here and click an item on my page, it is selected in the layer's panel but it doesn't automatically select in the timing panel. But, at least part of the relationship is there, and we can double click items in the timing panel and select them on the page. So now, we need to rename some of these items, and I'm gonna double click on this group again. When it comes to renaming them, there are two ways that I can do it. First, as soon as you select an item, its name shows up in the animation panel. So, I can change this name group up here.
And I know immediately that's not useful. I'll name it to 1-data because it's the data associated with the number 1, here. As soon as I change the name, here, it changes both in the layers panel and in the timing panel. The other way that I can rename things is, of course, just to rename them in the layers panel. If we click on this data group, here, which is selected here, I can come right into the layers panel and click on the description group and change it to 2-data.
When I change the name here, it changes in the animation panel and it also changes in the timing panel. So, that's pretty cool. Let's take a look at this completed file, which has all of the items named properly, so we can see clearly in both the layers and the timing panel what's what. I'm gonna turn to the next page of this file and, here is my layer's panel. Everything has been named. All of the numbers have been given the name of the number. We see it here in the timing panel.
And everything is really clear. Let's play the animation. I'm gonna preview it in the preview panel. It's coming in in the order that makes sense. All of the items across each row are coming in. And even my generic lines are coming in together with the numbers, here. So we can see, here, that, first, the ship icon comes in, then our graph. And then we have linked the number 1 and the number 1 line underneath.
If we double click this little bracket, they get selected. Everything is nice and clear, and I think you can see that it wouldn't have been possible without working with the timing panel and the layers panel in tandem. So try to develop the habit of naming objects that are generically named. And use the layers panel along with the timing panel on any animation with more than one object. The two panels really are the best of friends.
- Setting up an animation workspace
- Working with the Animation panel
- Viewing and editing animation presets
- Working with rotation and scaling
- Creating motion paths
- Adjusting timing
- Animating type
- Animating infographics
- Adding buttons and sounds
- Building more complex animations
- Exporting animation
- Creating, saving, and sharing custom motion presets
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 03/23/2016. What changed?
A: We updated the video "Supported format overview" and added a new movie, 'Using animations with Publish Online."