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Five Adobe InDesign CS5 Tips in Five Days: Tip 5 - How to Create 3D Text Effects

By  Apr 16, 2010

Topics: Design, Adobe InDesign

When Adobe® InDesign® CS3 was released a few years back, included among its new features was an enhanced set of special effects. If you haven’t had a chance to explore these special effects and add them to your bag of InDesign tricks, you owe it to yourself to take a look. This tip will focus on using the Bevel And Emboss effect to create three-dimensional typographic elements, but there are eight other effects—each with its own set of controls—that you can apply to text, frames, pictures … pretty much anything. Although many of these effects are available in Photoshop and Illustrator, the option to apply them to InDesign objects can save time and reduce file-management overhead.

Figure 1 is the original type used to create the 3D beveled type in Figure 2. The font is Lithos Pro Black and the text has been scaled to 150% of its original height.
Figure 1.

To create this effect:

  1. Use the Selection tool to select a text frame, and then choose Object > Effects > Bevel And Emboss. You can also click the Effects button at the bottom of the Effects panel, and then choose Bevel And Emboss from the menu.
  2. Click the Preview button in the Effects dialog box so that you can see your changes as you make them.
  3. Choose Outer Bevel from the Style menu and Chisel Hard from the Technique menu. To create the effect in the example, make the same settings for all of the controls match the settings in Figure 2. Notice the Highlight color and the Shadow color. To change the Highlight or Shadow color, click the box to the right of the accompanying blending mode menu, and then use the controls in the Effect Color menu.
    Figure 2.

  4. While you’re in the dialog box, you can experiment with the various controls and see how changing the settings affects the selected text frame.
  5. When you’re done making changes, click OK to close the dialog box and apply them.

Another feature introduced in InDesign CS3 is the option to apply special effects independently to an object, its stroke, fill, or text. In Figure 3, different Bevel And Emboss settings are applied to the text and the object. (Note: The font is Impact and the text frame has a gray fill.)

Figure 3.

If you look closely at the topmost version of the Effects dialog box in Figure 3, you’ll see that Text is selected in the Settings For menu at the top left of the dialog box. This version of the dialog box shows the Bevel And Emboss settings that were used to create the Emboss effect that’s applied to the Text. In the lower version of the dialog box, Object is selected in the Settings For menu and the settings you see are applied to the object.

Once you begin to get familiar and comfortable with these special effects, don’t be surprised to find yourself spending increasing amounts of time exploring all of the options and discovering new ways to use them.