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Animating InDesign Objects

Instead of having to go to Flash or some other animation program, I can animate the items on the InDesign page and export the result as a SWF video. This section will show you the controls that let you create this type of animation.

The primary controls for working with animated objects require the use of the Animation panel.

To open the Animation panel:

  • Choose Window > Interactive > Animation. The Animation panel appears squ_a.jpg.

    squ_a.jpg The Animation panel contains the controls for applying motion to objects on a page.

To add animation to an object:

  1. With the object selected, choose one of the motion presets from the Preset list squ_b.jpg. This applies an animation to the object as indicated by the Animation icon.

    squ_b.jpg The Animation Preset menu contains the preset motions and effects you can apply to objects.

  2. If desired, use the Name field to change the generic name of the object into something more descriptive. This is especially helpful if you have many animated objects on the spread.

To set the events that prompt the animation:

Use the Event(s) list to choose what mouse or page actions trigger the animation squ_c.jpg:

  • On Page Load starts the animation when the page is visible.
  • On Page Click starts the animation when the mouse clicks anywhere on the page.
  • On Click (Self) starts the animation when the object is clicked.
  • On Roll Over (Self) starts the animation when the mouse moves over the area of the object.

squ_c.jpg Use the Event(s) menu to set what mouse or page actions trigger the animation.

To set the timing and speed settings:

  1. Use the Duration field to choose for how long (in seconds) the animation plays.
  2. Use the Play field to choose how many times the animation repeats. Select Loop to have the animation repeat endlessly.
  3. Use the Speed list to choose how the motion accelerates or decelerates squ_d.jpg.
  • None keeps a constant speed throughout the animation.
  • Ease In starts slowly and speeds up.
  • Ease Out starts at a constant speed and slows down at the end.
  • Ease In and Out starts slowly, remains constant for a while, and then slows down.

squ_d.jpg Use the Speed menu to set choose how the motion accelerates or decelerates.

The InDesign team figured (rightly) that people would want to quickly make buttons that can play animated objects.

To create a button to control an animated object:

  1. Select the animated object.
  2. Click the Create button trigger icon in the Animation panel squ_a.jpg.

    squ_a.jpg Use the Create Button Trigger icon to quickly set a button to prompt an animated object.

  3. Click the object that you want to act as a button to play the animation. The object is converted into a button (if necessary) and the controls to play the animation are applied.

If you no longer want an object to be animated, you can convert it back into an ordinary object.

To remove the animation applied to an object:

  1. Select the animated object.
  2. Click the Remove Animation icon in the Animation panel squ_b.jpg.

squ_b.jpg Click the Remove animation icon to delete any animations applied to an object.

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