Learn Adobe InDesign from Scratch
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Learn Adobe InDesign from Scratch

Extend your photographic skills into the design world with this basic, but thorough introduction to the world's most pow
4.0 (3 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
14 students enrolled
Created by Robin Nichols
Last updated 7/2016
Current price: $10 Original price: $40 Discount: 75% off
5 hours left at this price!
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 9 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • understand the basics of how to set up and create business cards, flyers and more
  • design simple but highly effective PDFs, business cards and other promotional material
  • create very sophisticated digital picture books for printing on a four colour offset litho press using www.blurb.com's services
  • understand how to work with text, fonts, font styles, and text formatting
  • how to combine image files, incorporating Photoshop selections and masks into your page layouts
  • essentially get a good grasp of how InDesign works so that you can integrate your own designs into your commercial, or enthusiast workflow
View Curriculum
  • Some basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop might be an advantage (but it is by no means essential) because the terminologyy in different Adobe products can be quite similar
  • download a trial for Adobe InDesign or simply subscribe to the application (subscriptions can be taken out through Adobe on a monthly or annual basis)

This course is all about learning the basics of Adobe's powerhouse page layout application, InDesign. Though working with an industry-standard application might at first appear complex, you'll find that this course uses a simple to understand training approach so that, even if you are a relative beginner, the process of starting and learning is attainable with a minimum of fuss.

During the length of its 50+ lessons, you will learn how to set up a simple business card document, pamphlets and even multi-page brochures or flyers. These can then be used in a wide range of applications, from personal development, business and self promotion.

InDesign from Scratch consists of a mix of instructional videos, practical quizzes (to help you remember what you have learned) and HTML pages. As the title suggests, the course begins with the absolute basics. We look at the terminology, the tools, the palettes, and the interface of the program - and then step you through your first project.

The concept behind InDesign from Scratch is to enable amateur and professional photographers to explore a range of simple design skills with the idea of expanding their creative skill set. For a photographer this would typically include not only location and set shots, but also a wider package that might incorporate the integration of the traditional photo package with simple design, even multimedia and marketing.

Aside from expanding what a photographer can do with their professional career, InDesign from Scratch is perfect for anyone wanting to push their design skills past what MS Word or Apple Pages might have to offer.

Though this course comprises more than 50 lessons, it would be feasible to complete everything in two weeks, if full time, and around six to eight weeks, if studied part time.

InDesign from Scratch offers you a no fuss introduction to the world of graphic design while generating the opportunity to integrate what's learned into an existing workflow...

Who is the target audience?
  • anyone wanting to take their photography into the design world
  • photographers wanting to push their business to a higher level through interactive PDFs and other design media
  • employees who need to learn basic design skills as part of their job development
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Curriculum For This Course
46 Lectures
The Basics
7 Lectures 43:51

Here are some simple ideas for why InDesign might be a useful application to learn...

Preview 01:58

Like most top-of-the-range software programs these days, InDesign comes packed with a lot of tools. In this lesson I outline what many of them are used for, as well as highlight the main tools versus some of the more esoteric tools [used in the more complex design and layout documents].

Preview 07:58

With an impressive tool set, InDesign comes packed with a lot of palettes (59 at last count).
In this lesson I outline the functions of the most often-used palettes: Colour, Swatches, Text, Character, Pages and Layers, among others.

Preview 12:38

Learn how to create and save a custom workspace using recommended palette configurations.

Preview 01:28

InDesign's Control Palette is integral to the smooth function of many of your design functions: Flipping images, Rotating, Skewing (and distorting) files or Text Boxes, text Wrapping, (colour) Fill, Special Effects, and a lot more...

Working with the Control Palette

InDesign's Direct Selection tool is integral to your workflow.
Learn how to use it to select, move and arrange text and image containers, as well as to shift content within that same container, as if you were recomposing the image within a cutout matte frame.

Working with the Direct Selection Tool
Document Setup Basics
10 Lectures 01:01:09

Here are some basic tips on setting up your first InDesign document: document dimensions, the pasteboard, bleed areas and more...

The GUI or interface basics

InDesign Document setup basics

Once you have created a document, you are ready to add text. In this lesson learn how to import (i.e. 'place') text. (Text can be imported from any sort of word processing document). It's then placed into your New Document and formatted (i.e. made to fit the margins and columns set up in the new document process).

Adding text - the basics

Formatting text manually

Learn how to use the eyedropper tool to copy and paste formatting instructions from one one part of a document to another.

TIP: Formatting your text with the Eyedropper Tool

Once text is imported (a process called 'placing') into a new document it's time to learn how to add pictures. In this lesson I discuss what type of photo files work best, and how to get round some of the typical image placement issues you might encounter (such as it not being a regular shape or the text not wrapping round the image correctly). I also demonstrate how you can edit images that are already in a document using your favourite photo editor.

Adding pictures to a new document

If your stock shots are set to a low resolution DPI, they'll appear overly-large once placed in InDesign. In this lesson I demonstrate how easy it is to resize files before bringing them into the document.

Sizing pictures correctly for import to a new document

Use InDesign's Place command to add not one, but multiple pictures to a document in just one session.

Placing more than one image into a document at one time

Here's a quick keyboard technique for quickly duplicating your design assets right inside the document itself...

TIP: Duplicating pictures within the layout

In this lesson I show you how to create a simple postcard sized document to use as an over-large business card, promotional material or just for family fun...

Creating a Simple Postcard-sized Document

Here are a few basic questions to see if you understand the principals of setting up your first InDesign document.

Setting up a new document
3 questions
Refining your Page Layout
10 Lectures 56:36

For me the Pages palette is one of the most useful, and the most used. In this lesson learn how it can be reset to display large or 'Jumbo' page icons - handy for those who need reading glasses! Learn how to shuffle page order in a multi-page document, (rather like the Layers palette in Photoshop), create, modify and change page numbering and sort out Section options (which are like Chapters...).
Also learn about creating, applying and editing page Masters - a feature used for adding common elements to consecutive pages - like company logos, contact details, page numbers and more...

Using the Pages Panel

Multi-page documents, be they brochures, magazines or digital photo books, benefit from having custom page numbers added to them.  In this lesson learn just how easy it is to add page numbers to the entire document, or just to sections of the publication...

Managing Page Numbers

It's often sufficient to import a body of text into a document and let InDesign automatically format its shape according to the margins set in the new document.  Or you can also customise text boxes using the swatches palette (for background colour) and the text frame options panel to set the number of columns, size of the gutter, inset spacing and vertical justification inside the text box itself.

Working with Text Boxes

Learn how to automatically flow text through multiple text boxes in a document...

TIP: Flowing text into a document

Flowing Text Tip

Adding Text Panel Columns and Hyphenation

In this lesson learn how to flow text around irregular-shaped images using its text wrapping features. This lesson includes information on how to remove a picture's background completely using Adobe Photoshop, the best file formats to work with, and how to then run text around an irregular object, not over it...

Advanced Text Wrap Options

All about working with the (colour) Swatches palette - controlling the use of colour, creating new colour tints and altering existing colours, plus sampling colour directly from an image, and more...

Working with Colour Swatches

By setting up your own Paragraph Styles in InDesign you can significantly speed up the text formatting process.

Setting up Paragraph Styles

Like the Pargaraph Styles function, Character Styles, once set up, significantly increase productivity.

Setting up Character Styles
Adding Special Effects
3 Lectures 19:50

Like all photo editing software, InDesign ships with a good range of special effects that can be applied to any of the elements used in your page designs. In this lesson learn how to add simple Drop Shadow effects, Bevels, Cutouts and Blend Mode styles to text, and other objects.

Adding special effects to your document

When it comes to creating data into the portable document format (Adobe PDFs) InDesign can be used to add some amazing multimedia elements, including video and sound. These can then be replayed, automatically, or with the click of the mouse, directly out of your exported PDF document. (Have a look at the file Fire and Ice Multimedia and its many links.).

Creating Multimedia

In this lesson see how to integrate Adobe Bridge and Adobe's Stock Photo service into your InDesign workflow.

Working with Adobe Bridge and using Stock Photos
Advanced InDesign Techniques
6 Lectures 34:02

Special characters and glyphs are terms for all those weird punctuation marks, symbols and icons that you sometimes need for special text, layout or document creation., It might be something as mundane as a bullet point or dollar symbol ($), to something more complex like numerical fractions, copyright symbols, complex monetary symbols, and more. All of which can be formatted using the Character Palette.

Glyphs and other special characters

InDesign's Content Collector is a fantastic tool used to literally grab anything off a page for use in another part of the same document, or in a new document. Click the logo, text box, image, or group of design elements, and it places them in a collection palette - which can then be placed into another part of the page, or document. Learn how easy it is to ramp up your design process in this short lesson...

Saving time with the Content Collector

I consider InDesign's Links palette as one of the most useful, and important, palettes in the application.
Use it for checking on the content in a document, updated files and missing images...

The Links Palette

With InDesign you can import almost any type of image file format. Including .psd (Photoshop) files.
In this lesson I show you how you can select a single Photoshop layer to place into a design.

Importing or Placing Individual Photoshop [.psd] Layers

In this lesson I take you through the basics of InDesign (and Creative Cloud's) colour settings. This is mostly useful for those moving their artwork into the commercial print space (so it's an advanced process).

Understanding InDesign's colour settings

In this lesson I describe how to work with the Blurb plug-in for InDesign. This is a very useful feature used for exporting your digital book design directly from InDesign to the www.blurb.com print shop.

Using the Book Creation Blurb Plug-in
5 Lectures 17:49

One annoying feature found in many desktop design applications is slow, poor or 'rubbery' display performance, especially when pages are heavily loaded with images and design elements.
Here's how to optimise InDesign's performance...

Fine-tuning Display Performance

It's a common enough problem - you don't have the same font that was used in the [imported] text - this means you either convert the text to a font you do have, or update your font collection.

Troubleshooting: Dealing with missing fonts

Here's a short lesson on how to re-link a lost image or object file.

Re-Linking (lost) Files

Show Hidden Characters is a very handy shortcut used to reveal your text formatting...

Troubleshooting: Show Hidden Characters

Troubleshooting: Preflight Document Checking
Finalising the Document
2 Lectures 11:35
Spellchecking the document

Packaging the document assets
Exporting the Document
3 Lectures 13:54

Learn what all those confusing InDesign output options mean...

Output Options

Finishing up: Export to PDF

Finding, loading and using free and paid stock InDesign templates
About the Instructor
Robin Nichols
4.3 Average rating
29 Reviews
173 Students
5 Courses
Lecturer at Sydney University

Like a few others involved in the industry, I’m in the enviable position of being able to combine my life’s passion, photography, with my job. And, even though I spend too much time in front of a computer, it remains one of the best occupations in the world…
Born in the UK, I’ve spent the past 31 years in Sydney. I began work in Australia as a cameraman in the audio-visual business, then as a freelance photographer. In the nineties I worked as a contributing freelance writer for several photo publications, then as a full-time magazine editor for more than eight years. In 2000 I started my own publishing business producing Australia’s best-selling specialist digital photo techniques publication: Better Digital Camera magazine.With this I aggressively pursued the goal of producing clear, well-illustrated information written in simple English and continued to develop this plain-speaking style in another specialist magazine, Better Photoshop Techniques.

Nowadays I mostly teach and run specialist photo tours to photo-centric locations such as Africa, Japan, Bali, Iceland and Cuba. When not travelling I run photo workshops, teach digital photography, video and post-production classes online and in face-to-face classes locally through Sydney University.