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InDesign vs. Photoshop Smackdown: Who Will Be the Winner?

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Mike McHugh shows you how to use the new Effects panel in InDesign CS3 to take care of tasks formerly reserved for Photoshop. Let the InDesign vs. Photoshop smackdown begin!
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Adobe InDesign can now do a bunch of tasks usually reserved for Photoshop. Don't get me wrong—I think Photoshop is awesome. However, it seems my new buddy InDesign CS3 is cutting Photoshop's grass in a lot of areas. "This can't be so!" I hear you all scream. "Photoshop is for pixels and InDesign is for page layout. These two applications should never compete for digital design tasks."

The fact is, Photoshop and InDesign share a common set of transparency blend modes, and now, with the release of Adobe Creative Suite 3, they also share a number of common effects or styles. If you're working on a final file in InDesign, shouldn't you do as much as possible in InDesign? I think so. So let the InDesign vs. Photoshop Smackdown begin!

Round 1: Recolor Artwork from a Grayscale File

It has long been possible to do a simple recolor of artwork in InDesign and in other famous-but-antique page layout applications. It's just a matter of placing a grayscale file into InDesign and coloring it (Figure 1). A lot of people are under the impression that the file needs to be in a .tif format, but that's just not true. A Photoshop document (.psd) will do just fine. Only thing is, you must be sure you're working with a flattened image. No layers and no transparency. If that's the case, then it's easy.

Place your file using the Command/Ctrl+D shortcut. Choose your color, or make a new color from the Swatches panel. Next, you select your image with the Position tool or the white pointer. You can do this by using the new shortcut of double-clicking the image with the regular pointer tool. Then simply select your color. You can use spot colors, as well, if you like.

If want to color the background or white areas of the image, select the frame with the pointer tool and color it—but it looks shocking! Nonetheless, Round 1 goes to InDesign.

Figure 1

Figure 1 The same grayscale image has been recolored inside InDesign CS3.

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