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Learn how to animate text behind an image in Adobe InDesign

If you've followed my design tutorials over time, you've likely learned how to animation single text frames in Adobe InDesign. In this lesson, we'll take it a step further – animating single text layers behind an image – to create a stunning cover page intro for a fictional Yosemite National Park online visitor's guide.

This lesson will also add in some Adobe Photoshop as I'll go over how to remove a background and prepare it for an interactive InDesign layout.

Let's start with Photoshop first, where we'll use the Quick Selection Tool to remove a background from the image you see in the example.

Quick Selection Tool

  1. Open the image in Photoshop by dragging the image into Photoshop or going to File > Open.

  2. In the Layers panel, right-click the file name and select Duplicate Layer. Then turn off the visibility of the layer so only the top layer is visible.

  3. Click on the Quick Selection Tool, which is in the fourth fly out trey from the top in the main tool bar. Click and hold the trey to select the Quick Selection Tool.

  4. With the Add to Selection brush selected, drag and select the subject or area you would like to keep in the image. In this example, I would like to keep the man on the mountain and some of the mountain rocks in the foreground.

  5. Next, use the Select and Mask option to fine tune the edges which you have selected. I'll go over some of my favourite ways of refining edges in the video lesson.

  6. Once you have exited the Select and Mask section, open the Layers panel again and click Add Layer Mask icon in the bottom right hand corner of the panel. This will remove the background on the top layer.

  7. Go to File > Save As and save the file as a PSD.

  8. Close the image and Photoshop.

Back in InDesign, this next part is very important as you will need to layer the PSD on top of the original image with the background.

Adding PSD to InDesign

  1. In the Layers panel, create two layers – one for the PSD and another for the original image, which in essence will become the background of your layout.

  2. Go to File > Place and locate the PSD file and original image on your computer. Click on the PSD file, hold Shift and select the original image and then click Open.

  3. Both images will be loaded in your curser. Click on the layout to drop each image in individually.

  4. Use the Align panel to align the vertical and horizontal centres of both images and then drag both into position in the layout. Don't forget to drag each image to their respective layers – PSD on top, and original image on bottom.

Now that you have the images on the page, it's time to add the text. In this lesson, you'll create eight different text frames – spelling out YOSEMITE. Adjust spacing and kerning as you would if this was contained in a single text frame.

You will notice in the layers panel that each character is on a separate layer. You can create a third layer and have Yosemite sandwiched between the PSD at the very top and the original image at the bottom.

Be sure to open the Animation and Timing panels – both which can be found under the Window > Interactive menu.

Animating Individual Text Layers

  1. With the Selection Tool, click on the Y text frame once.

  2. In the Animation panel, set the Preset to Zoom In 2D.

  3. Set the Event to be On Page Load.

  4. Set the Duration to your desired preference. Because I wanted this intro to play a little quicker, I set it to 0.125.

  5. Go ahead and repeat Steps 1-4 for the rest of the characters in YOSEMITE.

Add another text frame under Yosemite and type National Park in a font of your choice. Animate it to Fade in with a duration of .5 seconds.

The final step is ensuring the timing is on point when the page loads. For this, we'll use the Timing panel.

In the Timing Panel, make you should see each character in Yosemite as well as National Park as the final animation to play out on page load.

Click on the Y at the very top of the Timing panel and set the delay to 0.5 seconds so there is a slight delay on page load before everything animates.

Here's a look at the final result.

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