How to bring your eBooks to life using Illustrator and InDesign

Creativity – we love it – and we’re always looking for ways to help you bring yours to life. That’s why we’ve added new tools to the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator CC and InDesign CC, to help you take your creativity to the next level.

In the latest instalment of our Creative Coffee Break series, we’ve teamed up with Creative Director Radim Malinic from the award-winning branding and creative studio Brand Nu, to get the inside scoop on all the Illustrator CC and InDesign CC tools that Radim uses to add some colour and flare to his work.

In this blog, we’ll show you how you can use the new Paintbrush Tool and Live Paint Bucket feature in Adobe Illustrator CC to create dynamic illustrations, and how to animate them in InDesign to bring your eBooks to life.

New tools to explore in Illustrator CC

Paintbrush Tool

  1. Once you have your sketch, simply select the Paintbrush Tool from the toolkit and start outlining over your sketch.
  2. You can double click on the Paintbrush and slide up the Fidelity to ‘Smooth’. This should make your lines less jagged and help your freehand ‘flow’. (It’ll also save you from going down the complicated route of using Bezier curves.)
  3. You can smooth out and clean up any points where your lines meet using the Direct Selection Tool.

Live Paint Bucket

Now you’re ready to rapidly add colour using the Live Paint Bucket feature.

  1. Live Paint Bucket needs edges to draw within, so select the Rectangle Tool and draw a rectangle around your artwork. Click on a selection tool, highlight the whole artwork, click on Live Paint Bucket and you’ve turned your entire artwork into a live paint object.
  2. Next, go to Swatches and choose the colours you intend to use. From here you can quickly assign colours, one by one, to all of your objects, so it won’t be long before your artwork comes to life!
  3. Once you’re happy with how it looks, you can instantly lose the black outline around each shape/object by de-clicking it in the colour palette on the left-hand side.

Now you’ve created your illustration with the Paintbrush Tool and Live Paint Bucket, it’s time to really bring things to life…

New tools to explore in InDesign CC

Dynamic Illustration

Now you’ve got your illustration, why not try and animate it? If you’re creating an eBook in InDesign, this is a great way to make each page look more fluid and eye-catching.

  1. Once in InDesign, in the top right-hand corner, change the workspace from Book to Digital Publishing, this will simply help to bring the right tools closer and make the job easier.
  2. Next, select the layers panel and duplicate the layer option by double-clickingand make your new layer easier to identify by giving it a clear name, such as ‘Animation’.
  3. Now set up the base layer as a 50% watermark. Use the Select tool to select your objects so you can change the opacity of them for your base illustration.
  4. Select each layer of each object and bring up the Effects Palette, then bring down the opacity by 50%. Now you have your base layers set up, return to the Layers Panel, bring up the Animation Layer, select the same five objects and head over to the animation tools.

Personalised page loads

  1. To create engaging page loads to make your ePublication feel more interactive, you’re going to fade the objects in.
  2. Set all five objects to Fade In, then set the duration for the animated fade to 1.5 seconds or you can play around with the timing until you’re happy.
  3. Now you can test your animation by going down to Preview Spread and clicking on it to see the animation in action.
  4. Happy? Then go to File, choose Export from the drop-down menu, choose EPUB (Fixed Layout) and click Save. Then, in the Export option, just make sure Spread Control is set to Convert Spread to Landscape Page and click OK.

That’s how easy is to use the new InDesign and Illustrator tools to create exciting eBooks.

Check out the video tutorial below to see Radim putting these tools to the test.

So there you have it! Why not try these time-saving hacks for yourself and share the results by tweeting us @AdobeUK? We love to see your work!