InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations

with Michael Ninness
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InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations
Video duration: 0s 4h 58m Intermediate


In InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations, Adobe product manager and designer Michael Ninness shows print designers how to use InDesign by itself and in conjunction with Acrobat and Flash Professional to lay out and design a wide range of digital documents. Michael provides a tour of digital publishing trends, showing real-world examples of what can be achieved through InDesign. He creates a slide presentation with transitions and live hyperlinks, and then builds an interactive portfolio that can be used with prospective clients. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Configuring a custom InDesign workspace for designing digital documents
  • Building slide navigation buttons for interactive presentations
  • Adding reflection effects to images within a presentation
  • Using InDesign to build an interactive mood board
  • Creating an interactive digital spiral-bound portfolio
  • Using InDesign and Flash Professional to build and animate a digital magazine
  • Adding a video file to an interactive document
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(Music playing.) Hello! I'm Michael Ninness, a Product Manager and Product Designer at Adobe. In my role at Adobe, I get to spend a lot of time with designers and one of the questions I hear them ask over and over is how can they apply their print design skills to create digital and interactive content. Perhaps you are a traditional print designer who struggled to learn how to use Flash or have been frustrated with the lack of typography in design to in typical presentation software. If so then this course, InDesign CS4 Interactive Documents and Presentations is for you. We will use InDesign, by itself and in conjunction with Acrobat and Flash Professional to layout and design a variety of digital documents including a Slide Presentation, complete with Navigation buttons, Slide Transitions and Hyperlinks, an Interactive Movie board or Style guide, an Interactive Digital Portfolio that the viewer can turn the pages of to see your work and a digital magazine that includes animation and video.

Before you jump in and start the course, you should know that the first chapter is a bit different than the rest of the chapters. I'll begin by taking you through a tour of digital publishing trends, showing you real world examples of what kinds of digital documents and experiences designers and publishers are creating today. Almost all the examples you will see began their creation in InDesign. These examples are meant to inspire you and get you to think about the kinds of documents you might want to start creating yourself. Note that if you just want to get to the how to part of this course, then feel free to skip chapter 1 or come back to it when you are ready to take a break from the step-by-step projects.

My goal for you is that by the end of this course you have expanded your document production capabilities beyond print. Now, let's get started with InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations .

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Q: After exporting a portfolio in InDesign, as instructed in the tutorials, the portfolio items appear fuzzy. The letters typed into the InDesign document look fine, and the PDFs placed into InDesign look as they should, but once the items are exported, the type is fuzzy. What could be causing this?
A: The problem described occurs when a PDF is placed into an InDesign document and then scaled on the page. When the final SWF file is then exported from InDesign, the PDF graphics end up looking “soft and fuzzy” because they are being downsampled to a lower resolution.
First, be sure to update InDesign to the latest CS4 dot-release from Adobe. There was a bug in the shipping version of InDesign CS4 that caused images in SWFs to always go out as low-quality JPEGs regardless of the settings chosen in the SWF Export dialog. This issue was addressed in a subsequent release. To initiate the update from within InDesign, choose Help > Updates.

To increase the image quality of the images that end up in the final exported SWF, follow one of three options.

1. Choose PNG instead of JPEG
When images, including PDFs, are placed into an InDesign document and then exported to SWF, the images will all be downsampled to 72dpi and saved in one of two file formats, JPEG or PNG. The JPEG file format is a "lossy" file format, and depending on the image quality setting chosen, the final images quality could vary wildly. The PNG file format is "lossless", in that it does not add distracting and ugly artifacts to images.

In the SWF Export dialog, the default setting for Image Compression is set to Auto. Change this setting to "Lossless (Do Nothing)". It is unfortunate that this option is named this way. The three choices should be listed as Auto, JPEG and PNG. Adobe has changed in this in InDesign CS5, but for CS4, one has to know that "Lossless (Do Nothing)" really means “save the images as PNGs.”
The plus to using PNGs is that the images will end up looking great. The minus to using PNGs is that the file size of the SWFs will be larger because the images are not being compressed.

2. Choose High or Maximum JPEGs
If file size is a concern, then switch the Image Compression option to JPEG, but choose a higher quality setting from the JPEG Quality pop-up. The default is set to Medium. Choose High or Maximum instead. The higher the quality setting, the better the images will look, but their file sizes will be larger. That said, the file size of a maximum quality JPEG is usually smaller than a PNG.

3. Resample in Photoshop and Import JPEGs
The method that gives the user the most control over image quality and file size is to downsample the images in Photoshop to the exact pixel dimensions desired before placing them into InDesign. Open the PDFs (or any other image file formats) in Photoshop and size them to the desired pixel dimensions. If opening a PDF, Photoshop will display an Import PDF dialog first where the pixel dimensions can be set. If other file formats are used, resize them in Photoshop by choosing Image > Image Size. Then make sure the Resample Image checkbox is turned on, choose Bicubic Sharper from the pop-up menu at the bottom, and enter the pixel dimensions in the Pixel Dimensions section of the dialog box (not the Document Size section).
Once the images are the correct size, save them as JPEGs, and set the quality desired level.

After the final JPEGs are placed in the InDesign document, do NOT scale them. Place them at actual size (100%). If a JPEG goes into InDesign at 100% and nothing else is done to them, they will "pass through" to the final SWF untouched. Meaning, they'll go out exactly as they came in. This also means the JPEGs cannot be altered in any way that would cause them to be resampled during SWF Export. Examples are applying transparency effects, drop shadows, etc., to the JPEGs in InDesign.

See the examples below, where a PDF was placed into InDesign, scaled to 50% of its original size, and then various SWFs were exported, changing the Image Compression and JPEG Quality options as described in items 1 and 2 above.

Original image:




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