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Illustrator CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide Paperback – Aug 6 2010
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From the Back Cover
This fully updated edition for Illustrator CS5 covers the essential skills for Illustrator artists, such as drawing geometric and freehand objects; color management; using multiple artboards; applying colors, patterns, and gradients; creating and using brushes; transforming, reshaping, and combining objects; creating and styling type; applying graphic styles and transparency; using the Pen tool; using the live color, paint, trace, and effects features; using symbols; and output. The new and updated Illustrator CS5 features are clearly marked with bright red stars in both the table of contents and main text.
Among the new CS5 features covered in this volume are bristle brushes, drawing modes, arrows, Width tool, Shape Builder tool, and Mini Bridge. Enhancements to such features as path joining, artboards, pixel-perfect drawing, and Art brushes are also covered.
Readers can follow the steps in a tutorial fashion, or use the book as a reference guide to individual program features. Many of the key illustrations used in the book are available via Web download for practice.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
However, for those who have never used Illustrator, this is not the best choice. The authors often say something like "from the artboard panel menu, choose rearrange artboards" - while no images or explanations are provided where the artboard panel menu is (which is just an icon!). Also, very little explanation is given as to what artboard is and why the user needs to learn something about it.
The best aspect of this book is the short, heavily-illustrated explanations of tasks you need to accomplish. Most tasks are two page spreads, some are four pages, but they always include photos of exactly what you need to do, and how it looks when you are done. I don't need much more.
Right now I'm doing lots of graphics for video, so Illustrator and Photoshop are open on my computer nearly full time. This book and its companion for Photoshop CS5 are the only two manuals on my desk every day. I don't upgrade to every new version-CS6 has come and gone, and now the Adobe tools are all a monthly fee on Creative Cloud, but CS5 works just great for me (until 2011 I was on CS2).
HOW TO EVALUATE THIS BOOK: click on Quick Look, then Surprise Me, and look at a few pages deep inside the book (ignore the table of contents, index, etc.) Start somewhere after page 75 so you're into the meaty part of the book. If you like the kind of illustrated instructions shown there, buy the book and you'll be happy.
CAUTION: Adobe products are known for being opaque to raw beginners, and Illustrator is no exception. If you are completely mystified about why there are two types of selection arrows (black and white), then you may want to start with a beginner's class, or search for a video introduction that starts at the VERY BEGINNING. Otherwise, you will have to walk slowly through the first couple of chapters of this book very carefully to understand the basics. We've all been there, it's a pain in the backside, but that's what makes Illustrator so, um, lovable.
It does work well for me though, it has lots of examples and it the topics are short and to the point.