Join Mike Rankin for an in-depth discussion in this video 069 Making translucent objects, part of InDesign FX.
- View Offline
Hi! I'm Mike Rankin, and welcome to InDesign FX. In this week's video, we'll see how to make translucent objects like these bubbles on the bar of soap using blending modes and effects. When it comes to making translucent objects, you just can't beat the Hard Light blending mode. It allows you to hide the fill color of an object, while still showing an effect applied to that object, like Bevel & Emboss. So let's see how to make these bubbles. I will go to the second page of my document where I have the bar of soap, but no bubbles. I'll press the L key on my keyboard to get my Ellipse tool and click in the document and I'm going to create circles 30 pixels in width and height.
I'm going to press Shift+X on my keyboard to exchange the stroke and fill. So now the circle has no stroke but a fill of black. Up in the Control panel, I'll change the Tint from 100% to 50% and this is the key step for making translucent objects; that 50% black fill. The reason is, 50% black is a neutral color for the Hard Light blending mode. It just disappears when you apply Hard Light to it, but we can still have the shadows and highlights of effects that I applied to this circle stay visible. So let's do that next.
With the circle still selected, I'll go to my Effects controls and I'll choose Bevel & Emboss. I'll keep Inner Bevel Smooth and Up, I'll increase the Size to 25 pixels, make it look really round. I'll change the Angle to match the rest of the lighting in this document, which was 90 degrees where the highlights are on top and the shadows are on bottom, and I'll increase the Altitude to about 70 degrees, making for a nice shiny circle. I might want to decrease that highlight just a little bit, I'll take it down to say 50% Opacity, and I'll also take down the Shadows as well, maybe about 30%.
Now I target the Transparency and I'll change the blending mode from Normal to Hard Light. See how it makes the fill color disappear, but I can still see that highlight and the shadow at the bottom here. I'll click OK, deselect, and there's my bubble. Now if I want to make copies, I'll just hold down Option or Alt and drag around. I can also hold down Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift and drag one of the corner points and make smaller bubbles. Just see what happened to that new bubble? The highlight isn't as sharp and focused as it is on the larger bubbles, that's because of the Preference setting.
So let's press Command+K or Ctrl+K to bring up Preferences and in General Preferences > When Scaling, we want to select Adjust Scaling Percentage. I'll delete that smaller circle, and let's make a new one. Again, Option+Drag or Alt+Drag, and this time with the Scaling Preference set to Adjust Scaling Percentage, I'll get the effects scaled along with the circle. So I get that nice sharp highlight. And I can continue to drag around and make extra bubbles as many as I want, and so forth.
In this week's video we saw a key use for the Hard Light blending mode, making translucent objects. We did it by filling an object with 50% black before applying the Hard Light blending mode. This makes the fill disappear, so then you can apply effects like Bevel & Emboss, and only see those Highlights and Shadows. And Voila! Instant bubbles. I'm Mike Rankin, and I'll be back in two weeks with another new InDesign effect. Thanks for watching!