6 Replies Latest reply on Aug 19, 2011 3:35 PM by Peter Spier

    Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame

    Wayt Level 1

      In a book I'm working on, we sometimes need blocks of text to run over background images. To preserve legibility of the text, I need a way to blur just the part of the background image that falls beneath the text frame. In other words, I'd like a "Blur" blending mode that I can apply to the text frame.

       

      That doesn't exist in InDesign, so I'm wondering a) whether there is another way to achieve the same effect that isn't so labor intensive as to be impractical; b) if not, whether any plugin developers out there would be able to create an add-on feature like this quickly for me (as work for hire).

       

      The one workaround I've tried that does work is to use Photoshop to create a copy of the background image, apply an appropriate blur filter, and then save as a separate image. I place that blurred version in ID at the same coordinates as the sharp original, and then crop the frame (without adjusting the image scale or position) to fit the text frame, and send it behind the text. But this approach has huge drawbacks: every time we edit or reposition the text, we have to recrop the separate blur frame, and it is very easy to inadvertently move the blurred image out of alignment with the sharp original. Doing this once or twice is no big deal, but multiply by several hundred for a large book and it has serious schedule and cost implications.

       

      The object-level effects filters in ID don't seem to do what I need. We've looked at just desaturating the background or overlaying with a transparent fill color, and those solutions aren't satisfactory--it's really a blur or ground-glass effect we want.

        • 1. Re: Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          Not quite the same, but I often use a [Paper]-filled frame for this and set the opacity down so it fades the image rather than blurring. I often add a fether around the edge.

          • 2. Re: Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame
            Grant H Level 4

            My approach would be completely different.

             

            1.      I would create a blur action (edit:) that u can batch in PS that will create a new layer, blur effect, new layer other effect u know what i mean.

            2.     Place image in ID copy the frame and image, create a new frame paste into the first image. Now you nly have to adjust 1 frame to match the text frame and you can hide show relevant layers.

             

            G

            • 4. Re: Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame
              Wayt Level 1

              Thanks to all for these suggestions. I played around with various drop shadow options as suggested in that web page on blurring text. But this technique is aimed at blurring the text, not the image below the text, and none of the blending options for the drop shadow generate the ground-glass look I'm after.

               

              The first suggestion above is intriguing, although I'm not entirely clear how it differs from the labor-intensive workaround I described in the OP. Is the idea to have both the sharp and blurred images in the same PSD as different layers? I'd still need to place that PSD in the layout multiple times, however--once for the background and again in a set of smaller frames to go under each text block in the layout.

               

              Or is there some way to create a frame that contains both the blurred image and text, so that resizing the text frame automatically exposes the correct amount of blurred image? That wouldn't solve the alignment issue, but it would significantly cut down the number of frames needed. My impression is that a frame can contain text or graphics, but not both. But maybe I'm wrong about that.

              • 5. Re: Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame
                Wayt Level 1

                It occurs to me that it might be relatively straightforward to write a script that handles the creation, sizing, and positioning of a blur frame. The designer could just select a text frame and then run the script. The pseudocode is something like:

                1. Get position and size of currently selected text frame.
                2. Get filename (name_of_image.psd) of image linked in frame below the selected text frame.
                3. Get (or calculate) page position of name_of_image.psd
                4. Create new graphic frame slightly bigger than text frame (to allow feathered margin) and sharing same center.
                5. Place name_of_image_blur.psd in new frame at same page position as name_of_image.psd
                6. Assign feather effect to new frame.
                7. Arrange new frame one level below text frame.

                 

                Then, if the text frame changes size or position, the designer can just delete the blur frame and use the script to quickly recreate it.

                • 6. Re: Need an effect that blurs all images beneath a text frame
                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                  Wayt wrote:


                  Or is there some way to create a frame that contains both the blurred image and text, so that resizing the text frame automatically exposes the correct amount of blurred image?

                  Group them, cut to the clipboard, then "paste into" another frame.