Beware The Double Effect with Object Styles
As you may have heard in Episode 69, when we interviewed Deke McClelland, he described an InDesign problem he had experienced involving applying object styles to a group of objects. After we stopped recording, I discovered what the problem may have been, and to my eye it looks like a bug in InDesign that people need to watch out for.
Here’s the setup: Create some lines, some of which may overlap. The lines cover some dark areas, so we want to surround them with “light” to make them more visible. The solution Deke came up with was to use Outer Glow. This is pretty clever; in the past I’ve always made this effect by using a custom stroke style, based on a tip that Sandee Cohen showed years ago.
Anyway, here’s how it looks with just two lines, pre-glow:
Now, here’s the effect after the glow has been applied to each line in the Effects panel:
This is ugly because one glow “overlaps” the other line, so it looks like one goes under the other. Well, maybe it’s the effect that you’d want, but it’s not the effect that he was looking for. The solution, of course, is to group the lines first, and then apply the effect to the group:
That’s perfect (for his needs). But when he made an object style and applied that to the next group of lines, he had an unexpected surprise:
As my 4-year old is fond of saying: “What the heck?”
As far as I can tell, if you select a group of objects and apply an object style that includes transparency effects, InDesign applies those effects twice! Once to each individual object, and again to the group. So the effect is double-strong and, in this case, defeats the whole purpose. That’s what seems like a bug to me.
The solution is simple (though annoying): Select the individual lines with the Direct Selection tool and choose Clear Effects from the Effects panel’s flyout menu.
Any other suggested workarounds for this problem? Perhaps Adobe can get it fixed in CS4. Or perhaps someone can explain why it actually makes sense.