ALAP Offers Useful Plug-ins for InDesign Users
by Kevin Slimp, September 2004
When potential users hear about all the bells and whistles available in Adobe InDesign, they sometimes get the impression that the application includes all the features they could ever want for newspaper production. Unfortunately, no program has everything you could hope for built into it.
While InDesign makes it possible to create several special effects historically relegated to Photoshop - including drop shadows, feathers and more - there are still a few Photoshop effects missing. ALAP (A Lowly Apprentice Production) has done something about this with the recent release of InEffects 1.0. Quark users might remember ALAP for some of its QuarkXpress extensions, including XPert Tools and Shadow Caster.
InEffects includes improvements to some functions already available in InDesign. One of these is Drop Shadow - which works more like the drop shadow feature in Photoshop - giving the user more control over the appearance of the shadow. Unlike InDesign Drop Shadow, InEffects allows the user control over intensity and noise.
The most valuable feature of InEffects is the ability to create special effects that normally have to take place outside of InDesign. Effects such as Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, Inner Glow, and Bevel & Emboss are a click away with the help of InEffects.
True, there is nothing in InEffects that can’t be done in Photoshop. The real value of the plug-in is its ability to create Photoshop effects while working within InDesign. Especially when it comes to creating bevelled and embossed graphics, this can be a significant time-saver.
InEffects works with InDesign 2.x or CS on both the Mac and Windows platforms. Priced at $100 US / $139 CAN / $149 AUS, InEffects is well worth the price for newspaper designers who want to add a little flash to their pages. A free demo is available at http://www.alap.com/Plug-ins.html.
Several times, over the past few months, I’ve worked with newspapers who were in the process of converting from PageMaker or QuarkXpress to InDesign for pagination. A question that arose more than once was “How can I lay out my pages individually in InDesign, then create a two-page PDF spread to send to my printer?” With InDesign alone, this is not possible. Thanks to ALAP’s InBooklet 3.01, InDesign users can now simply click on “InBooklet” underneath the File menu and create perfect printer’s spreads of their InDesign documents.
Let’s say you have a 16-page newspaper. You can design the pages, utilizing InDesign’s facing pages function, with page 2 next to page 3, page 4 next to page 5, etc. With InBooklet, the user can quickly print the pages in printer spreads, with page 16 and page 1 on the same spread, pages 2 and 15 on the next spread, etc. InBooklet has the ability to impose documents either directly to a Postscript file, to a printer, or to a new InDesign document.
Previous versions of InBooklet worked with earlier versions of InDesign. This latest version works with Adobe InDesign 2.x or CS, on both the Mac and Windows platforms. InBooklet 3.01 lists at $100 US / $139 CAN / $149 AUS, A free demo is available at http://www.alap.com/Plug-ins.html.