InDesign Eye Candy, part 1: In Gravity’s Shadow
This is the first in a series of tips for making some fun visual effects using only InDesign.
Note: This tip doesn't work in CS3 because it relies on the Gravity option for Type on a Path, which, as David previously pointed out, was broken in CS3. This tip does work in CS2, with one adjustment (noted below).
In Gravity's Shadow
Long shadows are useful when you want to convey the idea of Really Big Things, and also to add a 3D feel to your 2D media, be it a screen or TMFKAT (the media formerly known as a tree).
Start with a frame wide enough for your text to sit on the top.
Using the Type on a Path Tool, click and drag from the top left corner to the top right. I like to snap the endpoints to the top corners horizontally. Sounds weird, but they seem to snap easier that way.
If you didn't get them right the first time, take the Direct Selection tool and drag them in place.
Type your text and center align it. Use caps; descenders and serifs ruin the effect. You really don't want much of anything below the baseline, so choose a font accordingly.
Option/ALT-click the Flip Vertical button in the Control panel to duplicate the frame and flip it.
Now you have two frames, with the new, flipped frame on top.
With the new frame selected, choose Type > Type on a Path > Options... and choose the Gravity effect.
You get something like this.
Next, adjust the length of the shadow to taste. Select the shadow text, and change the Vertical Scale value in the Control panel.
Then adjust the skew of the shadow by clicking and dragging the top of the flipped frame with the Selection tool. Think of that control point as the light source: the lower it is, the more skewed the shadow. Pause before you start dragging to see the effect live.
Fade the shadow with a Directional Feather applied to the flipped frame. Apply it to the top of the frame, and select First Edge Only, from the Shape menu.
Note: If you're using CS2, you don't have Effects, so fill the shadow text with a gradient to feather it.
Last, stand back and enjoy (click the image below for the full size version).