Master Pages for InDesign

When you have a document open in InDesign, click the Pages palette (or if you don’t see the palette, go to Windows>Pages and it will bring it up… usually at the top of your Palettes). You’ll notice it is divided into two sections. The one on top features your Master pages and the one on bottom shows the currect layout of your document and its included pages.

Master pages allow you to create layouts that will govern how the pages look. For example, if you had a document that included a cover page, four two-column pages for stats and a backcover page – you could create a Master page for the covers and one for the other four pages. The interior pages, rather than setting up columns manually on each page, could be done in a new Master page you create.

To create a new Master page, right click the Master Pages section of the Pages palette and select New Master. The dialog gives you a Prefix (which I would leave for it’s default), a Name (which you can change to something you will recognize, like two-column), a Based on Master dropdown (which I usually leave set for None since it’s a new Master), and Number of Pages (which you will need set for two if you are using facing pages, but one if you are not).

New Master menu

Once you click ok, you can go to the Master Page you just created, click it to highlight it, and now the Master page you will be working on is shown in the main window. In this state you can add anything from background graphics you want to be consistent on each similar page, to page numbers and column and margin guides. In our example you would go to Layout>Margins and Columns and set the number of columns to two (If you don’t know what the gutter size you need is, I would leave it set for the default).

Click OK and you’re new Master page should display the guides for a two-column layout. Now look back at your Pages palette at the bottom section where it shows your actual pages. By default they will have a little A in the upper left or right corner, depending on the orientation. This is the Prefix of the Master page that is being used. You can select and drag the Master page you just created to whichever page you wanted to change to a two-column and this will change the guides for that page.

Be careful not to begin working in your Master page unless you want it to carry over to all it’s subordinate pages. Click the page you want to work on in the Pages palette to begin working in it.

Something else I need to note, when you drag a Master page to one of the working pages, If it shows a vertical black bar next to the page, that will add a new page. if you drag it into the page you want to work from and that page has a stroke around it, then this will set the Master page you are using for that page.

I’ll cover how to establish page numbers and such in a later post.


Quickly trimming an image in Photoshop

Though the traditional way of cropping a photo is with the crop or marquee tools, there is a quicker way which works especially well if you have a solid color background or one with very little detail.

Look at Image>Trim. It will give you the sampling option, either upper left or lower right corners I believe. It will automatically crop your image to the main subject, if it is well defined against the background. This comes in handy when Batching large numbers of similar photos. I set this up as an Action in my Actions Palette when I was working on a sporting goods website this past week as an easy way to clean up unwanted background space.

InDesign Intro

For starters, InDesign is a little different from Photoshop and Illustrator in that it is primarily used for doing layouts. This doesn’t mean that you will be forced into using static, blocky layouts for everything… just remember its specialty is layout and use this to your advantage.

One of the big differences is you can layout multiple pages, set up books and create interactive documents. In Illustrator you could work with multiple artboards but the functions of those don’t have much in common with the multiple pages found in InDesign.

Get familiar with your tools. You’ll notice the arrows at the top of your toolbar are the same as they are in Illustrator (Selection and Direct Selection Tools). In fact, several of the tools that you have already learned are present in slightly modified forms.

I would encourage you to look back on your notes for Illustrator and Photoshop, then compare how the tools in InDesign differ.

Many of the Palettes you will be using are similar to what you already know as well. One that bears special mention is the Pages Palette. This not only lets you change pages quickly, it also allows you to swap positioning of pages and set Master pages (which I’ll talk a little about later).

I mentioned in an earlier post about Photoshop and how to change your workspace layout. The same applies to InDesign. If you look by the search bar in the top right corner of your workspace, above the menu bar, you will see a word in all caps. I think the default is ESSENTIALS. There is a dropdown there that will allow you to change your workspace layout to whatever suits the task you are working on or your personal preference.

When you create a new document, chances are most of the info you see will already be familiar to you. Some of the things that you might not be familiar with I’ll go over with you.

Intent: This, just as the name states, deals with your intended final product, either print or web.

Facing Pages Checkbox: By default this is checked. What it is used for is when you are creating documents with more than one page, it allows you to visually identify the orientation of each page. The first page will be a cover page. The following pages are lined up side by side in groups of two just as they are when you are flipping through a book. The last page will also stand by itself, being the back cover.
If it is unchecked, all of the pages will be singles.

Columns: Two dropdown menus fit in this category. The first is Number, which regulates the number of columns per page. The other is Gutter, which is the space between the columns. This works well as a visual guide when you need a certain number of columns.

Margins: Sets the amount of space between your intended print area and the outside of the page. if the little link button is selected then all margins will be the same.

Bleed and Slug: Bleed area is used when printing to the edge of a page. Printers require an overflow of artwork, background, etc. for error. This is very important when you are printing all the way to the edge of a page and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Slug area is an area set up that contains information about the document. This area sits outside of the printed area so no one but yourself and the printer will see this. If I have special instructions for a printer, this is where I generally put them.

If you think you will be using this layout on a regular basis then you can Save Preset, which will save the information in your current New Document window and you will be able to choose it in the Document Preset dropdown at the top of the window.

In the next post we will cover some of what you can find in the menu and how it’s used.

Option + Command + Z

Since you don’t have unlimited undo’s in Photoshop, you have to use the History palette to step back farther. The quick way to do this, and a way which seems really similar to the unlimited undo feature of Illustrator and InDesign, is to use Option+Command+Z. This lets you step back through your history to the beginning of the recorded history. Remember that your History palette by default has a limited number of steps it will save so if you try to go too far back it won’t let you.

If you want to change the number of actions your History palette will remember, you can go to Photoshop>Preferences>Performance and adjust the History States slider. I wouldn’t advise doing this unless you really think you are going to need more than twenty stages in the History recorded since it will slow your computer down considerably once you have worked through many of these stages.

Quick Work Path from Text in Photoshop

There is a quick way to make a work path from your text in Photoshop, assuming you haven’t rasterized it yet. With the type layer selected, right click the layer itself in the Layers palette and the drop down list has a ton of features for type. Immediately below the Rasterize option is a “Create Work Path” option. Hit it and when you flip over to your Paths palette, there it is. This will come in handy when you get to InDesign and start using Clipping masks for images and such.

A layout trick for Photoshop

Is the basic Photoshop layout bugging you? You can change it pretty easily. At the top above the menu you should see a section near the right that says ESSENTIALS DESIGN PAINTING or something like that. See those two little arrows to the right? Those take you to presets for your layout. You can change them to whichever suits what you’re working on as well as save your own settings.

wrapping an image around a 3D object

Remember how you were limited in what areas you could paint? The same is the issue with this so make certain to resize your image so the important parts cover the visible surface of the object…

1. create or import your shape

2. bring your image that you want to wrap around the object in front of the object, i.e. move the layer so it’s right above your object layer.

3. Select your image layer

4. In the layer dropdown menu, Merge Down

This is a simple way of wrapping an image onto a 3D object. It’s not perfect but is pretty useful.

Difference Mode in Gradient tool

To do a funky psychedelic effect or a satin background all you really need is your Gradient tool.

1. Open a document, make a selection, etc.
2. Create a new layer
3. Set Gradient tool mode to Difference, opacity to 50% and the gradient default to opaque/transparent as you see below.

4. Simply start click/dragging around at different angles and lengths until you get the desired effect.

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