Jul 252011

Multi-state objects
The multi-state object is a new concept to most working in design for print. It’s an animated format that allows an object to change appearance when clicked. In this case we’ll create a slideshow which behaves a bit like a shuffling a deck of cards.

Screen shot of InDesign multi-state object

Pictures to be converted into a multi-state object

On the right hand page of this spread there is a stack of five pictures. To make them appear as a slideshow I first need to line them up, something which can be difficult with many overlapping objects. Luckily, InDesign’s revised layers panel comes to the rescue here. Each layer can now be expanded (much like the Illustrator layer panel) by clicking the triangle next to the name. Each object on the layer is listed as a separate item. Any object can be selected by clicking the small square next to its name (see screenshot above).

Having selected my pictures I have aligned them using the alignment icons in the control pane (I used align-left and the align-top for reference). To make them a multi-state object, I open the multi-state object pane and select the create new icon on the lower right. Each picture is listed in the panel.

Creating a multi-state object

Creating a multi-state object

The object can be named using¬† the field at the top of the pane. Selecting an object in the list brings it to the front of the stack. To activate the animated object states we need to use a button. On this page, there are two, left and right triangles on either side of the pictures. On assigning the button function, a ‘go to next state’ option is available in the drop-down menu. You can specify exactly which multi-state object this refers to if necessary. Repeat this for the other triangle and the object is complete.

Screen shot of button functions for multi-state object

Button functions for multi-state object

To preview the results, open the preview pane once again and the multi-state object should respond when you click the arrows.

In the next and final part of this series, I will discuss importing media content and exporting the document as a Flash file.

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