InDesign: Making Motion Paths for Animation

October 3, 2017 Nicolas Carcano

InDesign started as a traditional desktop publishing tool, but with the introduction of new technologies and formats, InDesign had to adapt itself to the new demands of users. One of the improvements they had to incorporate was adding animation for interactive PDF or fixed-layout EPUB.

Animation effects let you make objects move in your exported files. For example, you can apply a motion preset to an image or text that appears and disappears or moves in from the left side to the right side of the screen. 

You can use the following tools and panels to animate your documents.

How to Make a Motion Path

Place the object you want to animate in your document.

  • In the animation panel, select Window > Interactive > Animation.

  • Choose a motion preset from the preset menu.

  • Specify motion preset options.

  • You can edit the motion path using the pen tool and direct selection tool. Make sure the object you want to use for the motion path is on top of the other object in the stacking order.

  • Use the timing panel to determine the order of the animation effects.

  • Use the preview panel to preview the animation in InDesign.

Convert Selected Objects to a Motion Path

You can also create animation by selecting an object and a path and converting it to a motion path. If you selected two closed paths, such as two rectangles, the path on top becomes the motion path.

  • Select the object you want to animate and the path you want to use as the motion path.

  • You cannot convert more than two selected objects.

  • In the animation panel, click the Convert To Motion Path button.

  • Then, change the settings in the animation panel.

Using the Timing Panel to Change the Animation Order

You can use the timing panel to change the order of when animated objects play. The timing panel lists the animations on the current spread based on the page event assigned to each animation.

Animated objects are listed in the order they were created. Animations listed for the page load event occur sequentially by default. Animations listed for the page click event are played in sequence each time the page is clicked.

You can change the animation order, have objects play at the same time or delay animation.

You can find the panel under: Window > Interactive > Timing to display the Timing panel.

Conclusion

The option to add animations works for any InDesign document, but it is always better to use the web or mobile profile when creating a new document. This will help you in a couple of ways. Basically, these profiles provide common web and mobile page sizes. Also, these profiles set the default unit of measurement to pixels and the default color mode to RGB. If you have never worked in the animation panel, you may think the animation possibilities are quite limited. But, I assure you that you can creatively solve a lot of things and get really amazing results.

GPI's Multilingual Desktop Publishing Services

Globalization Partners International provides many services for document translation and website translation that involve multilingual desktop publishing services. You may find some of our previous blogs on desktop publishing useful:

Please feel free to contact GPI at info@globalizationpartners.com with any questions about our language and technology services. Also let us know if you have any interesting blog topics you would like us to cover in our future blogs. You may request a complimentary Translation Quote for your projects as well.

About the Author

Nicolas Carcano

A native speaker of Spanish, Nicolás has expert skills on both Mac and PC platforms with many DTP applications including Adobe Tech Comm Suite, specifically structured and unstructured FrameMaker, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and others. He also has advanced skills in Microsoft Office products like PowerPoint and Word, as well as Quark.

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