Friday, February 12, 2016

How to Make Tie-Dye Patterns in InDesign

I recently stumbled across RagingHull, which is a very cool script from Indiscripts. Indiscripts's tagline is "InDesign Scripting Playground."


According to the Indiscripts website:
"While studying bounding boxes and transformations I realized we could get nice patterns based on successive rotations applied to a given shape. As InDesign instantly determines the coordinates of the enclosing rectangle whatever the page item transform state, I had fun in drawing those boxes while varying strokes and angles. Jongware made similar experiments with its famous Spirographs script. RagingHull is just another free toy that reveals the bounds of a spinning object…"
The samples in the original article all used solid colors and "Exclude Overlap" in the Pathfinder. It creates amazing patterns! But I wanted to see what would happen if I used gradients instead of solid colors.

Now, if you've ever tried to make a complex gradient in InDesign, you're probably familiar with how difficult it is. In one of my other articles, I outlined a case for creating your gradients in illustrator, rather than InDesign. Illustrator has an expandable gradient panel so it's easier to work with. Plus, you can copy and paste objects from Illustrator right into InDesign, and they will bring the gradient swatches with them.

But did you know that Illustrator already has a large selection of pre-built gradients? Go to Window > Swatch Libraries > Gradients.


Choose one of the gradient libraries, and it will open up in a new panel.


I wanted all these gradients, so I made a bunch of rectangles, and applied the gradients swatches to them.


Then I copied and pasted them into InDesign, where they show up in the Swatches panel. Now you can delete that mess of rectangles.


Now, run the script according to the instructions on the RagingHull page.



Now you can start experimenting with all the gradients you copied over from Illustrator. I also added played with the blending modes. Note that you will get very different results, depending upon which Transparency Blend Mode you use (RGB or CMYK).

CYMK Transparency Blending Mode

RGB Transparency Blending Mode

Here are some of my other experimentation results.


You can different results just by changing the gradient type from Linear to Radial.

Linear Gradient, Red, White, and Blue,  Lighten

Radial Gradient, Red White and Blue, Lighten

Linear Gradient, Soft Light

Linear Gradient, Hard Light

Linear gradient, Color Burn

Luminosity, Hue

By adding a shape with a different color on top, you can create even more interesting effects.
Mixed gradient swatches and blending modes
For this one, I scooted the objects a bit and it gave me what resembles a zygote.
Radial Gradient, Lighten, With objects scooted a bit

Sometimes the results look like a dance party.


Sometimes, you can even turn it into a globe-like effect.


Which, for some reason, when I grouped and pasted it into a tan colored circle, became green.

The original Raging Hull article discussed using the Exclude Overlap button in the Pathfinder. So I did that, then I went to  Object > Paths > Release Compound Path, and ran the script again. Add some corner effects, a stroke style, and voila! Fancy!

Fancy! (Note that this will last one will take a large amount of processing power).

Now, for me, if I ever used any of these objects, I would probably just take a screen shot of the part I wanted, and use  it as a design element. But however you choose to use your Indesign tie-dye  designs, have fun!