Many designers and artists haven’t upgraded their copies of Adobe Illustrator in quite some time. By the early reports, the performance improvements in Illustrator CS will have them salivating, even before they look at the features.
If you upgrade -- especially if it’s been a while -- it’ll be worth your time to refresh your skills. And if you’re completely new to Illustrator, it’s so deep and rich that self-training is pretty much a necessity. That’s where Adobe Illustrator CS Classroom in a Book comes in.
This package delivers training created by Adobe and proven in Adobe classrooms and labs. Like all the books in the series, it organizes your learning around a series of modular, hands-on lessons that use images from the accompanying CD-ROM and end with review questions to make sure you’re on top of what you’ve learned.
The authors begin with an interactive demo “tour” of Adobe Illustrator CS that’ll quickly get your hands on many of the software’s key features and enhancements. Right then, you’ll be creating blends, “sprayable” symbols, and clipping masks; using Pathfinder to create new shapes from existing ones; even trying out Illustrator’s new 3D filter.
Once you’ve tasted the program, the authors reintroduce the Illustrator CS “work area”: the artboard, scratch area, toolbox, and default floating palettes. (Among the new goodies: you can now save and open a file as an Illustrator template. When you reopen the file, an untitled document is created from it, leaving the original untouched.)
Next, you’ll review the basics of selection: when to use direct and group selection tools; how to group, ungroup, lock, hide, and clone items; and save selections for future use. You’ll create basic shapes and build them into images that aren’t so basic (your project: a logo). Then, you’ll systematically get comfortable with Illustrator’s pen and painting tools; object transformation; layers; type; brushes; and more.
There’s a complete lesson on working with appearance attributes, styles, and effects -- including Scribble and transparency effects. You’ll also find a complete lesson on airbrushing with the mesh tool.
In a new lesson on creating 3D graphics, you’ll learn how to draw cylinders and boxes, work with Illustrator’s new 3D filters, use extrusion and beveling, and more.
Of course, your Illustrator drawings won’t stay in Illustrator forever. Adobe’s complete lesson on printing artwork and producing color separations covers everything from PDF format issues to compression and security, printer’s marks, soft-proofing, knockouts, and overprinting. (Don’t miss the new “Save for Microsoft Office” feature, which streamlines the process of integrating Illustrator images into Word or PowerPoint documents.)
There’s a lesson on combining Illustrator graphics with Photoshop images (including exporting layered files to Photoshop). Last but not least, you’ll learn how to create artwork for Web pages -- everything from image slicing to creating Flash animations from Illustrator symbols. Clear, simple, to the point, and effective: That’s Adobe Illustrator CS Classroom in a Book. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.