Section 46. Applying Effects


#46. Applying Effects

One feature that defines InDesign as a truly modern page layout tool is its built-in ability to apply raster-based effects and have other objects interact with them. There's no need to enlist Photoshop or a third-party plug-in to apply a drop shadow or feather the edges of an object. You can even apply transparency effects to an object as you would in Photoshop and Illustrator.

Spread and Noise Options

New to InDesign CS2 are the Spread and Noise options found in the Drop Shadow and Feather dialogs. The Spread option controls the area of the blur in a drop shadow, whereas the Noise option adds random artifacts to generate a rough grain in the effect. Adding noise to an effect helps it to interact more seamlessly with background objects and tends to result in less banding when printed.


Before applying an effect, it's a good idea to temporarily increase your display preview to high quality (View > Display Performance > High Quality Display) so that you have a truer preview of the effect.

To apply a drop shadow to a selected object, choose Object > Drop Shadow (Figure 46a). Select the Drop Shadow and Preview check boxes. You can then adjust the blend mode, opacity, offset, blur, spread, and noise to your liking. Choose a color from your list of swatches or select a different option from the Color menu to use a new color.

Figure 46a. The Drop Shadow dialog provides many of the options you're used to seeing in Photoshop.


The feather effect softens the edges of an object by fading them to transparent. To feather a selected object, choose Object > Feather (Figure 46b). Select the Feather and Preview check boxes and set feather width. This is the distance over which the feather fades from opaque to transparent. Then choose a corner option and optionally add noise.

Figure 46b. The Feather dialog makes it easy to apply a feather effect onto images or other artwork without having to leave InDesign.


Here are a few other points to keep in mind when working with effects:

  • Effects can be applied to any object whether it was created in InDesign or placed into InDesign from another application.

  • Drop shadows and feathers are applied to the contents of a frame including text, if the frame has a fill of none. Give the frame a fill color, and the frame will receive the effect instead.

  • These effects are flattened when printed. Although InDesign does its best to maintain the appearance you've created, it's worthwhile to use the Flattener Preview palette (Window > Output > Flattener Preview) to see which objects are affected.

  • Effects are live so you can adjust an applied effect on a selected object at any time by choosing the effect again from the Object menu.




Adobe Creative Suite 2 How-Tos(c) 100 Essential Techniques
Adobe Creative Suite 2 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques
ISBN: 0321356748
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 143

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