Use Photoshop effects inside InDesign

Wherever possible & useful, Adobe apps try to share code libraries that enhance integration.  By picking up Photoshop and Illustrator libraries, for example, Flash CS3 is able to import & convert these apps’ files, much like After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other apps that use the libraries.

InDesign has long been able to place PSD and AI files, even turning on and off layers, applying layer comps, etc. to reconfigure files on the fly.  In CS3, however, InDesign has also integrated the code that enables Photoshop layer effects (glows, bevels, drop shadows, and more).  This means that you can apply these effects to native InDesign artwork, making it possible to apply & adjust effects without bouncing back to Photoshop.  Over on, Anne-Marie Concepcion & Pariah Burke talk about ways to take advantage of these capabilities

If there are other places you’d like to see the apps share code, please let us know.

0 thoughts on “Use Photoshop effects inside InDesign

  1. Apps sharing code is a really cool thing, here are my ideas of what could be shared:
    – Integrate color-wheel based (3-way) color correction from the video apps into Photoshop.
    – Some of the vector mask code could be shared (AE can feather vector masks, Photoshop can’t etc.)
    – Stuff like the AE puppet tool shouldn’t be created as cross-application plugins right from the start
    – The 3D space in AE an the one in Photoshop could be shared. This would result in the ability to import 3D objects into AE’s 3D space, and the ability to move and rotate simple planar raster layers in 3D space in Photoshop.
    Photoshop/Camera Raw:
    Break the barrier between Camera Raw and Photoshop itself so that raw images can be opened as pseudo-HDR images without introducing clipping. Technically there is no reason why it should not work, and not losing the extra dynamic range would be a really good thing obviously. In fact, Photomatix already does generate pseudo-hdr images from raw files.
    Such a feature will become more useful as more tools/filters get support for 32 bit float color depth of course.
    Photoshop’s Brush engine could be accessed from Illustrator to allow vector elements to have pixel strokes, kind of like in Fireworks. There is support for raster effects already, so why not have it support raster strokes as well…
    The 3D functionality from Illustrator could be shared (or at least made compatible) so that 3D objects in Photoshop and AE could be created by Extruding/Revolving a paths. The least I would expect is the ability to export an Illustrator 3D-Object and import it into Photoshop Extended.
    All the CS applications could share a common user interface library as well as shared software interfaces for shared features. For example, things like color pickers, swatches, menu bars, embedded objects etc. are there in almost all of the CS applications. That way, a feature like InDesign’s QuickApply, Photoshop’s History Panel, Illustrator’s Live Color, InDesign’s Links Palette, or the keyboard shortcut configuration dialogs could be shared among applications. Sounds extremely cool, but very non-trivial from a programmer’s point of view I fear…
    Photoshop Layer styles can be applied to objects in InDesign, so why can’t Photoshop Smart Filters? Technically they are all non-destructive post effects, so it should not be too hard to implement.
    Creative Suite applications should be able to access Lightroom photo libraries in their file selection dialogs. Navigating InDesign’s place dialog to a Lightroom library, searching it for a photo of a specific subject, and then directly placing it in InDesign would be awesome. To the user, a Lightroom library would look like a normal folder containing images, with the addition of a search/filter box.
    Not strictly a code-sharing suggestion, but a consistency one pertaining to vector object handling: Stuff like free transform should work the same in all applications. The way Photoshop handles it is very nice. An example: For a perspective distort, one can simply drag the corners in Photoshop. In Illustrator, a non-intuitive dialog box is used to adjust the corner points since the operation is implemented as a filter, and InDesign’s free transform tool is basically just all the other transform tools (rotate, scale etc.) combined intoa single tool, but there is no perspective distortion at all.
    Furthermore, features like aligning points, or the new point highlighting feature on mouse over in Illustrator should always be implemented across all CS applications simultaneously.
    Another example is the pen tool behavior: In InDesign/Illustrator points can be moved while they are being drawn by pressing the spacebar and dragging before the mouse is released. In Photoshop that does not work, even though it does work with the rectangular marquee.
    The brush engines could be merged entirely. Firework’s pixel-vector engine could be integrated into Photoshop as a new vector layer type. Assigning pixel or vector brush strokes to paths on what could be implemented as vector layers sounds like a useful addition to Photoshop’s current toolset.
    Flash (Player)/Photoshop/AE:
    With the addition of video layers, supporting Flash animations as smart-object-video-layer-things would allow video people to add flash overlays to photoshop animations. Roundtrip support could then let them view the Photoshop video layers in context from Flash so they could actually see what they are doing.
    The same goes for AE: Just import a FLA file and drop it on top of a composition. When the vector animation should be updated, double click the FLA-layer to open the file in Flash and see the other layers from the composition in context.
    Photoshop and Photoshop:
    Some of the plugin filters, such as vanishing point or liquify could be integrated into the main Photoshop user interface, as Tools for example. Thus they could share all of Photoshop’s core stuff, such as the navigator panel, customized shortcuts for brush size adjustments and much more. Those huge dialog boxes are not really comfortable to use anyway.
    While we’re at it, you could make free transforms on smart object appear in the list as a smart filter, which would make it easier to go back and make adjustments, or stack multiple free transforms. Oh, and by the way smart filters should work on text layers without having to convert the text to a smart object first, since text is sort of “smart” anyway, if that makes sense. Sorry if I’m getting carried away a bit…
    Don’t take these ideas too seriously, though, they’re mostly just me imagining a perfect world. You did a terrific job on integrating the products with the CS3 release already, especially with the former Macromedia stuff, so I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen in CS4 🙂
    [Wow–thanks for all the thoughtful, detailed suggestions. As you’d imagine, there’s many versions’ worth of work here, but many of these ideas have come up for consideration. I think we can introduce radically better integration, but it’s a long process. (We’re on our way.) –J.]

  2. Question: Trying to put together a presentation. We have Acrobat 3D. I’d like to take a 3d model from the engineering department and throw it into a document and then save the document as a PDF while still having an interactive model.
    We have the whole CS3 Suite, for page layouts, I’m using InDesign.
    How can I accomplish this? Are there settings I have to adjust?

  3. I’d like to echo Peter’s idea about about Lightroom integration, but perhaps driven the opposite direction. Instead of using the Place command in InDesign to browse a Lightroom library, I’d like to be able to export an image from Lightroom as a Smart Object into InDesign.
    Same idea about sharing code to increase interoperability, but a different UI idea.

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