Live Corner Effects in InDesign CS5
April 12, 2010
By: Chad Chelius
Well now that the cat is out of the bag so to speak, we can finally introduce you to some of the great new features found in Adobe InDesign CS5 that will really help you work more efficiently and more creatively. This article focuses on the new Live Corner Effects feature. This intuitive and easy-to-use feature provides a more fluid method for modifying the corners of frames while providing immediate visual feedback in the process.
Corner effects have been around for many versions, but there has never been an easy way to apply corner effects to anything but all four corners of a frame. A script that ships with InDesign allows you to quickly apply corner effects to one or more corners, however when the frame is transformed, the corners become modified as well—forcing you to start over from the beginning. Fortunately, this is all about to change! Let's take a closer look at the new Live Corner Effects feature in InDesign CS5.
The Old Method
As I just mentioned, you have been able to apply corner effects to frames in InDesign for quite some time now. Prior to InDesign CS5, this was accomplished by choosing Object > Corner Options and specifying an effect, such as Rounded, and the size (radius) of the corner. This is still a great feature. In fact, if you want to have some fun, apply a corner effect to a non-traditional shape such as a multi-pointed star. I've found this very useful for creating both geometric and creative shapes. Still, the Corner Options feature in versions prior to InDesign CS5 is limited, because the effect is applied to every corner of a frame.
The CornerEffects.jsx script is also available in InDesign CS5, but you actually don't need it anymore since the new Live Corner Effects feature is far superior.
To use the script, follow these steps:
1. With a frame selected, double-click the CornerEffects.jsx script to open the CornerEffects dialog box.
2. Choose a corner type, specify an offset value (radius), and determine which corners to apply the effect to by choosing an option from the Pattern menu. The corners of the frame are numbered starting in the upper-left corner and moving in a counter-clockwise direction around the frame. In the following example, I've chosen First Two. Click OK.
The CornerEffects dialog box allows you to specify which corners the effect is applied to.
This is a fantastic script and has saved my bacon many times. That being said, the big downfall of using this script is that when you change the shape of the frame, the corner effects become distorted, forcing you to start all over again. In addition, you can't edit previously applied corner effects by reapplying the script, because the new effects are applied on top of the preexisting effects.
The New Method
Now let's take a look at how InDesign CS5 addresses the limitations of previous versions of InDesign by using the new Live Corner Effects feature:
1. Draw a rectangular-shaped frame using the frame type of your choice.
2. With InDesign CS5, any square or rectangular frame now contains a yellow square near the upper-right corner of the frame (it looks similar to an in or out port on a text frame, except it is yellow). With the Selection tool, click the yellow square to edit the corners of the frame. Yellow diamonds appear in each corner of the frame.
A selected text frame (left) displays a yellow square near the upper-right corner of the frame. After clicking the yellow square, yellow diamonds appear in each corner (right).
3. Click any diamond and drag left or right to adjust the radius of the corner effect. The cursor displays the radius value as you drag.
You can easily toggle between the different corner effects by holding down the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key and clicking one of the yellow diamonds. It doesn't get any easier than this!
Now, where the real power of this feature resides is in your ability to modify each corner of a frame independently from the other. To do this, simply hold down the Shift key while dragging one of the yellow diamonds left or right. Only that corner is adjusted, giving you amazing control and flexibility when adjusting the corner effects of a frame. To take it one step further, hold down Shift+Alt (Windows) or Shift+Option (Mac OS) while you click on a yellow diamond to change the effect applied to only that corner. Continue clicking while holding the modifier keys to cycle through the various corner effects.
Of course, you can still apply corner effects by selecting a frame and choosing Object > Corner Options. In fact, the Corner Options dialog box has been significantly improved. With InDesign CS5, you now have the option to make all the settings the same or modify each corner independently by deselecting the chain icon in the center of the dialog box.
With the chain icon deselected, you can specify a different size and shape for each corner.
My favorite thing about the Live Corner Effects feature is that the corner effects are “live,” which means they won't distort when the frame is adjusted. The possibilities are endless!
Posted in Layout
Please sign in or become a member to comment on this post.