Layers and Naming
So, objects and naming is actually really important and actually managing. So what I'm going to do, just to avoid the distraction of different elements on the layout, when I'm doing something that's key I think it's best to actually do that in a new document. I keep using my Alt + Command + End shortcut to use the last preset but I didn't use this as a preset. It's a straight document, so here I go for 1280. 800, not that that's vital for what we're doing here, but it's kinda handy. So I'm gonna get my rectangle tool. In fact I want four rectangles. So I'm gonna draw a big rectangle like that. If you don't know this particular InDesign nugget, then this will be handy learning for you as well. I'm just gonna drag that out like so, and just hit the right arrow key while I'm still drawing. See, now I've got two columns. The up arrow key, now I've got two rows. So four objects there in total. Shift + X to actually change the values there, it took all the attributes from black stroke no fil...
ter the other way around. And then I'm going to just get my swatches panel, and drag some of this lovely super bright RGB out on there just to... You know, cause the editors maybe, they're really busy, and all that stuff, but they could always do with some glaring colors that come in a bit hot, just to give them something else to do. I think I'll send them all a cake later on for having done that. So I've got four items just there. I am going to select those four items and I am going to group them together. I'm then going to draw another item. I'm going to draw a star. So I start off with the polygon tool here, I'm just hitting the up arrow, and of course that's adding me more of those shapes. So I hit the down arrow like so, it's gone into grid drawing mode. I'm gonna hit the space bar switch, so I'm gonna do it quite hard so you can here it. (tapping) That's me hitting the space bar. Now if I use the up arrow it's changing the number of sides. I want five sides and I'm just going to hit the right arrow a few times, just to change these into a star, like so. That's kind of about right there. What I could do is I could hit the space bar again, and it takes me back into grid drawing mode. In fact I did a 4th of July thing using your flag one year, Jim, with this and it went down really, really well. My grid drawing mode trick. But anyway, I just want the one simple star just there. Again, Shift + X to swap that out so it's got a nice solid fill there, and I reserved yellow just for this particular star, so we can see it. Okay, we are ready to proceed with this particular exercise. You might think, we haven't named anything yet. We're going to, now we've got those particular things. So, I'm gonna get the layers panel open. I'm actually, for the purposes of this exercise, going to drag that out and make it proper big. Like so, so you can see it. I will even zoom in so you can see that. I don't need anything selected here, right? Cause the content is here on the actual layer. Layers in InDesign adopted the kind of layer structure, very similar to the layer structure, of Illustrator, okay? In fact they both use the same underlying language. That's how they're built. Okay, so, if I twirl open this disclosure arrow here on the left of the word Layer 1, you can see polygon just there. Really great name for that polygon. So I actually know what that is, so I'm just double clicking that a few times. Okay, and I'm gonna get on there, it's a triple click, really normally to get to it. I'll call this one Star, like so. Now if I click on this element on the board, you can see Star become selected. This is called the proxy region, just here on the right. InDesign actually does a slightly better job than Illustrator of showing you you can click there. Next to that, I've got the element group, and I can twirl that open. You can see I've got four things called rectangle. Well again, super, super descriptive much. So what I'm going to do, is I'm going to start from the bottom up, and I'm gonna click in the proxy region here. If you look on the art board... Let me just try and get, I'm gonna try and get a zoom that gets you to see both things. So let me just zoom in on that there like so. Move the panel. I'm just thinkin of you folks that are watching this on a teeny weeny screen, in relative terms of course. You might have like a massive great Samsung thing, or a super big iPhone, still a teeny weeny screen in relation to this one, right? So, I've clicked in the proxy region here, that has selected this cyan rectangle here. I'm actually just gonna call that cyan. I'm just triple clicking on there, sometimes it gets a bit sticky, and you just have to persist with it. So I'm just gonna call that cyan. Proxy region for the next one, which is magenta. This is an homage to print-based stuff. There you go, got it. I would call that magenta, just there like so. I will pick up the next one, which is that blue. Come on. I don't know why that has to be so difficult to do in here. But there you go. It might just be me, of course. It could always be what, in a few of the jobs I've done, what we'd refer to... In fact I'll tell you where I first learnt this. I was working on tech support for a company that made a product called Hairdresser. You know, I did graphics in there, and I also did tech support, and I ended up machine cleaning, which is one of the things, you did these things in rotation. I had a specialty skill, so I gotta go less cleaning, and more everything else, small company. And on the tech support desk, you'd sometimes get a call, and you'd be sat there and just like... There was only three of us in there, little row, and a call would come in, and someone would go, "Oh I'll just put you on hold," and they'd go, "It's another PICNIC." PICNIC is an acronym for Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. Which basically means it's user error. So it may well be, I may well be... Welcome to my PICNIC, (laughing) is basically what I'm saying here. Anyway, back with the actual program. You can see now I've got these four elements here, they've all got names and I can even name the group itself. So I may well call this, I'm just gonna call this geos, just there, short for geometries in this particular instance. I'll zoom back out. So now everything's got a name. That's really useful if I want to affect it in different ways. So if, for example I wanted to animate a particular thing, one of these elements, then I have a name that I can attach it to. Additionally, with our layers and naming, okay? What would happen, how would you approach the following problem? I've got got a group here, you can see it's got a dotted line around it. Now I can double click on the group to actually work on an individual element inside of the group, and double click outside to restore the group. You can hopefully see that the group has a dotted line around it, that's how it indicates a group in InDesign. Here's the problem. I've got the yellow star. I want the yellow star to be in the middle of all these things, on top. This is the flag of Toneonia. My own country that I just made up. So (laughing) I want the yellow star to be in that group. How would you go about that problem? Let's have a think for a minute. Now, be honest, is the answer, A, I would select the group behind, ungroup it, reselect all of those things and group that, or B, say, "I've got smart skills, I know a better way to do it." Well, even if you don't right now, you're about to. Ungrouping, especially when you've got interactive elements with lots and lots of complexity, remember what I said about copying buttons in and around different places, can actually cause you tons and tons of grief. And it's not super smart. You've got a nice group all together that you made deliberately, you run the risk of missing an element out, and so many other things can go wrong. Here's the way I would approach it. See where it says Star? That element that we created just here, in fact if I click on it, you'll see it selects. What I'm going to do is drag that in the layers panel, into that group. Now on purpose I'm actually gonna park it underneath blue, and you'll see there it is sandwiched between blue and magenta. It's in the group. I'm gonna drag it up to the top, like so. Whoops, I dragged it out of the group just then. I'll bring it back in. There you go, so it's actually in that group. If I collapse the group here in the layers panel, you can see that it is actually part of that. If I click away on the document board here, and click and move it around, you can see it moves with those things. That's a handy skill to have in InDesign anyway, but especially when you're working with interaction and interactive documents. Try not to affect the element in your document itself, because you run the risk of losing elements. I remember doing this on a masthead for a magazine one time. Took a masthead, and needed to add just a really simple border along the bottom that had changed. Alright, I ungrouped it, put the border in place, and then regrouped it, and do you know what, I missed a really important tiny piece of text, the edition number which was a variable piece of text on the side there, and the amount of trouble that caused. By just missing that one element, I was in a lot of trouble for doing it. Or not being careful and regrouping it. But fortunately... Now maybe that's why I'm so fond of this technique, because I know nothing like that's going to happen. So there you go, that's the advantage of naming things, because you know what something is in a layout. If I was selecting things inside of that group on purpose, maybe if I wanted the magenta rectangle, I know exactly which one of those things to click on. If I was making interaction from it, I know exactly which thing it's going to be pointed at. And also, that you can use the layer structure like that inside of the layers panel to actually reorder and change the nature of groups.