Indesign Animation

image_1Adobe Indesign allows you to create animations as SWF Flash files. In this Indesign Course we will create a tree with leaves appearing.

Create a new Document and change the Intent to Web. Leave it at one page and leave all the other settings at their default values. First create a background colour with the Rectangle tool. Click and drag across the page and change the fill colour to a solid colour or a gradient blend between two or more colours.

Next go to File, Place and browse to an image of a tree. Click and drag to create the width and height of the image on the page. It may look pixilated but this is simply to ensure that Indesign is performing at its maximum speed. If you wish, you can see how it will look by going to the View menu and choosing Display Performance, High Quality Display. Bear in mind, however, that when you export the animation it will always display at the resolution specified. To rescale the image press down on Control (Mac: Command) and Shift together, then click and drag on a corner anchor point. Or rescale it via the Width Scale on the top Control panel.

Alternatively you could draw the tree with the Pencil tool and vary the width of the trunk with the Width tool.

Now go to the top right drop-down list and choose Interactive from the Workspace list. Then open the Animation panel. Select your tree image and change the Preset to Fade In, and check When Page Loads. Change the Duration of the fade to 2 seconds. Make it play once and uncheck Loop. Change the Visibility to Hide until Animated so that it gradually fades in as the animation is played. Click the Preview button on the bottom left to see the animation so far.

Now we will import the leaves via File, Place, or draw a single leaf with the Pencil tool. Rotate it a little, then copy and paste the leaf 5 times, for example, to create multiple leaves. Rotate and scale each one.

Now we add animation to each of the leaves. Select the first one with the Selection tool (the black arrow) and change the Preset to Fade in with a duration of 2 seconds. Uncheck Loop and change the Visibility to Hide until Animated. If this is not selected you’ll see the leaf immediately when the page loads. Repeat for the next leaf but give it a duration of 1 second for variety. Repeat this process for the other leaves. Then do another preview. Click and drag out a corner to make the Preview window larger if necessary. If you want to change the order in which the leaves appear, go into the Timing panel and move the order of animated items – the topmost will appear first.

image_2When you are happy with the previews we export the animation as a Flash file from the File menu. Change the format to Flash Payer (SWF), whereupon a dialog box will open. Make sure that Generate HTML file is turned off. Keep the scale at 100%, and turn off Interactive Page Curl. And click OK. Indesign will now export the file. Browse to where you saved it and double-click it to play in Adobe Flash Player. The SWF file can also be embedded into a web page. More information about indesign can be found in this link.