Join David Blatner for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting transparency, part of InDesign CC 2015 Essential Training.
- What's the number one, coolest, most amazing feature in InDesign? Well, XML, of course. No, no, I'm just kidding. It's transparency. We've already looked at how InDesign can import images with transparency, but now let's take a step further and look at how you can apply transparency effects to any object in InDesign. I have my magazine article file open from my exercise files folder, and I'd like to apply some interesting transparency effects to this text up here. So I'll select that text frame, and I'm gonna zoom in to 400% by pressing command four on the Mac or control four on Windows.
Now, I'm going to open up the control central for all transparency effects, and that is the effects panel over here in the dock. If you don't see the effects panel in your dock, then you might need to change your workspace or you can choose it out of the window menu. Now you can apply a transparency effect to any object on your page, whether it's a graphic frame, a text frame, a line, or whatever. The first thing we're going to do here is change the opacity. That's this control in the upper right corner.
I'll click once on the word opacity. That's just a shortcut for selecting all the text inside that field. And I'll change this down to, say, 70%, and then hit enter. Now all the text, the whole object, in fact, is 70% opaque, that is 30% transparent. I can also change this interactively by clicking on this little triangle to the right of the field. Now I can just drag to the left or to the right. Now the second transparency effect you can apply in the effects panel is the blending mode.
That's the popup menu over here in the upper left corner. Right now, the blending mode is set to normal. But you can see that we have a lot of different options here. Almost all the options from Photoshop or Illustrator show up here. So, for example, we could set this to multiply. Multiply kind of burns the effect into the background. Or we could choose screen. Screen is just the opposite of multiply. It's kind of like shining a light on a screen. Multiply always makes the effect darker, and screen always makes it lighter.
I should point out that if you want to see your transparency effects as best as possible, you should go to the view menu, come down to display performance, and then make sure you're set to high quality display. That way you could always see the high resolution images and the high quality transparency effects. This won't affect how it's going to print out, of course, but it does make them look better on screen. All right, that's looking pretty good. Now I want to change the transparency of a different object on the spread. I'm gonna zoom back to fit the page in the window by pressing command zero or control zero on Windows.
I'm gonna choose this text frame down here, this caption, and I'm gonna zoom in on it by pressing command four or control four on Windows. This white frame with this black text looks pretty good, but I'd like to see through the white a little bit. Now I could select this whole frame, go up to the effects panel, and change the opacity to, say, 70%. But the problem with this is that it makes the entire object 70% opaque. That is, I can see through the background, but I can also see through the text.
It made the black text kind of dark gray text. I don't want to do that. So let's go ahead and set this back to 100% again. Instead, what I want to do is change the opacity of the background fill but not the text. Fortunately, the effects panel lets me do that. It all has to do with what is selected down here in this list. Right now, object is selected, which means that the opacity and the blending modes are going to be applied to the entire object. But I only want to change the opacity of the fill, so I'll click on fill here.
Now any change I make inside the effects panel will only affect the fill of the object. So again, I'll come up here and change this to 70%. You might not see a big difference here on screen, but believe me, it makes a big difference. The background fill is transparent, but the text is nice and solid. By the way, you don't even have to open the effects panel to do all these things. Even if the effects panel is closed, you can still get to many of those effects up here in the control panel.
For example, I could change the transparency of this object from 70 up to 80%. That makes it a little bit less transparent. I can also tell InDesign what part of the object to affect in this popup menu over here. That's the same thing as selecting one of those items from the list inside the effects panel. Changing the opacity or blending mode of an object is cool, but it's just the beginning when it comes to InDesign's transparency features. In the next few movies, we'll look at some of the most common transparency effects, starting with everyone's favorite, the drop shadow.
Want to learn InDesign in just 20 minutes? Watch the first chapter, which concentrates on the most essential skills: editing text, adding graphics, moving objects, and creating PDFs. Once you're ready to move on, InDesign insider David Blatner will show you the rest of what InDesign has to offer. Learn how to navigate and customize the workspace, manage documents and pages, format text and graphics, experiment with color and gradients, draw and transform shapes, create interactive documents, package your designs for print, and much more.
- Getting started with InDesign in just 30 minutes
- Setting up a new document
- Inserting text
- Placing graphics
- Formatting objects
- Creating color and gradient swatches
- Organizing InDesign projects with layers
- Transforming objects
- Incorporating drop caps, bullets, and numbering
- Applying character and object styles
- Building tables
- Creating an interactive PDF and exporting to EPUB
- Printing and exporting
Skill Level Beginner
Q: This course was updated on 01/12/2016. What changed?
A: We added one new movie covering the revised InDesign CC interface, including the new Start workspace, released in November 2015.
InDesign: Beyond the Essentialswith David Blatner4h 54m Intermediate
InDesign CC 2014: Interactive Documentswith Mike Rankin3h 46m Intermediate
InDesign CC 2014: EPUBswith Anne-Marie Concepción4h 50m Beginner
1. Learn InDesign in 30 Minutes
2. Working with InDesign Documents
3. Creating a Document
4. Managing Pages
7. Formatting Objects
9. Frames and Paths
Creating text outlines5m 10s
10. Managing Objects
11. Transforming Objects
12. Character Formatting
13. Paragraph Formatting
16. Interactive Documents
17. Packaging, Printing, and Exporting
Next steps1m 59s
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