Vector Artwork in InDesign/Creating a Opera Poster

InDesign is best known for its amazing type and graphic control. However, you can also create vector artwork. Vector artwork is graphics created using different types of shapes.

In this activity you will be creating a poster for an opera with text, vector shapes, and color using many new drawing tools in InDesign CS5. You will not need to be an artist for this activity because you will be using simple shapes the create the graphics for this project.

InDesign CS5 can create three shape types-rectangles, ellipses, and polygons. Each of these shape types appears in the "CS5 Shape and Frames Tools." Each shape type has a shape tool associated with it.


Setting Up the Document:

Create a new document (File New) for print:

New Document Settings

Display Rulers:

To help layout the document you will need to display the rulers by clicking View on the toolbar and selecting View > Show Rulers:

View Rulers

Rename Layer 1:

On the layers palette double click layer one to open the Layer Options dialog box. Name it rectangle and keep the default settings shown below. Click OK:

Rename Layer 1

Create a Rectangle:

At the new document page select the rectangle tool Rectangle Tool and drag out a rectangle on the canvas. The rectangle should fill the canvas area, dragging it out to the red border.

With the rectangle still selected, fill the rectangle with the blue shown below:

Rectangle Fill Color

Your canvas should now look like this:

Layer One

Create a New Layer:

At the layers palette click the Add New Layer icon at the bottom right of the layers palette:

Add New Layer

Name this layer Triangle.

Lock the rectangle layer by clicking the blank box to the right side of the eye icon.

Lock Layer

Select the polygon tool and then double click the polygon tool on the tool palette to open the polygon options dialog box. Set the number of sides to 3 then click OK.

Polygon Options

Drag the triangle out on the canvas. Fill the triangle with black. Use the free rotation tool Free Rotate to rotate it on the canvas. Position it on the canvas as shown below. Notice how you use the rules to set the triangle on the ruler points. The top of the triangle should be at 24, the width of the triangle should extend to 30 and the bottom of the triangle should be at the very bottom of the canvas:

Triangle Positioned

Create Head/Ellipse Layer:

Create another layer and name it Ellipse. Make sure you lock the triangle layer. Select the Ellipse tool Ellipse Tool and drag out a circle on the canvas to represent the head. To drag a perfectly oval circle hold the shift key down as you drag out your ellipse. Fill it with a beige color to represent skin tone. The color is selected from the color palette Color Palette.

At the top of the document window you will see the size and location of my head on the page. Yours should be similar.

Position and Size

Here is what you should have at this point.

Head with Body

Lock the Ellipse Layer.

Make a Copy of the Triangle:

Click back on the triangle layer, unlock the layer by clicking on the lock, then click on the triangle on the canvas to select it. While holding down the Alt key drag a copy of the triangle out on the canvas. Cut this second triangle (Edit > Cut), lock this layer, create a new layer and name it white triangle and paste (Edit > Paste) the new triangle on this layer. Make sure all the layers are locked but the white triangle layer.

Change the color of the triangle to white. Then select the Scale tool Scale Tool on the toolbar. Double click the scale tool once you have selected it to open the scale option dialog box. Change the Scale X and Y to 35%.


Drag the white triangle to the top of the black triangle as shown below:

White Triangle

Change the Corners of Triangle:

With the white triangle still selected choose Object > Corner Effects:

Corner Options

Select corner size of 2 and shape round as shown below:

Corner Options

Your triangle should now look similar to this:

Rounded Corners

Lock the white triangle layer. Create a new named Top Hot.

Using Pathfinder Operations:

You will create a top hat for the opera figure by combining shapes using Pathfinder operations.

Choose the Rectangle tool and draw a rectangle 10.5 inches wide by .8 inches high. Fill it with black.

Hat Size

With the Selection tool chosen from the Toolbox, hold down Shift + Alt, and click and drag the shape to create a copy above the original. The Alt key duplicates the object and the Shift key allows the object to move straight up with the two shapes kept in line.

With the Selection tool still chosen, make sure the top rectangle is still selected. While holding down the Shift key, click and drag the upper-middle handle (square point) toward the center of the shape. Watch the width of the shape in the Control palette. Let go when it reaches approximately 5 in. Keep the shape selected to the next step.

Top Hat Top Hat

With the Selection tool still selected, click and drag the upper-middle handle (square point) to make the top part of the hat tall enough for your dapper-looking chap. Looking at the Control palette while dragging; a height of 7.10 in should be sufficient.

Top Hat Size

Select both objects with the Selection tool by Shift + clicking them separately or clicking and dragging across the two of them. Open the Pathfinder palette under Window > Object & Layout > Pathfinder.


Click the Add button to combine both shapes.


Rotate the Hat Shape:

With the Selection Tool select the top hat. From the Control palette type in -15 ° as the rotation angle text box.

Rotate Hat

Your hat should appear rotated as shown below:


Create a Bow Tie Using the Triangle Shape:

Create another layer named Bow Tie. Make sure you lock the Top Hot layer.

Create a small triangle filled with red as shown below.

Left Bow Tie Size

Next you will duplicate the triangle to create a bow tie. While holding down the Alt key click the Flip Horizontal button at the top of the document window. The flip commands offer an easy way to turn objects around without having to rotate them.

Flip Horizontally

You should now have a bow tie shape as shown below:

Bow Tie

Select both triangles with the Selection tool while holding down the Shift key and choose Object > Group to group them together.

Group Object

Applying a Custom Stroke to the Bow Tie Shape:

Open the strokes palette either from the side of the workspace or by choosing it from Window> Stroke. In the Stroke palette, choose White Diamond from the type pop-up menu. Change the Weight to 10 pt by choosing that setting from the Weight menu. Click the Align Stroke to Center button to place the stroke along the edge of the shapes.


Draw a Mouth Using the Ellipse Shape:

Create another layer named Mouth. Make sure you lock the Bow Tie layer.

Select the ellipse tool and drag out an oval and fill it with a pink color. You should now having something like this:


Add Text to Poster:

Create another layer named Text. Make sure you lock the Mouth layer.

Select the Type tool and drag out a text box on the canvas. Select white for your text color and set the text to the settings shown below:

Text Settings

Type the letters erdi for Verdi, the white triangle representing the letter V.

Click the Type tool again and drag out t second text box. Select black as the fill with the following text settings:

Text Settings

Type the word Opera. Position the O over the opera guys mouth. Your poster should now look like this:

Opera Poster

Nicholson's Lesson Plan Blues