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Mike Gondek reviews: Illustrator CS Killer Tips by Dave Cross

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Mike Gondek reviews: Illustrator CS Killer Tips by Dave Cross
A Creative COW Book Review



Mike Gondek reviews Illustrator CS Killer Tips by Dave Cross
Mike Gondek
Mike Gondek
Orland Park, IL USA

©2004 Mike Gondek and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
CreativeCOW leader, Mike Gondek examines Illustrator CS Killer Tips by Dave Cross and published by New Riders, (2004, 288 pages). Read on to find out why Mike says, ''This is a great book to read for any illustrator user.''


About the book
This killer tips series by Scott Kelby and friends is an excellent way to improve your knowledge in an application and get new and better ideas. Written by Dave Cross, the book is packed with killer tips that every Illustrator professional will want to know about.

Who is this for?
This book is for all Illustrator users unless this is your first time using an Adobe graphics application. It is also great book for Photoshop experts to get up to killer speed in Illustrator. We have many Photoshop experts on the cow but some do not get to use Illustrator often and struggle with it; this book is a great resource for you.

If you are an intermediate or advanced user of Illustrator, this book is a warehouse of tips you will appreciate and utilize. If you ever read Macworld and went straight to the tips section, then this book is a must on your book shelf. If you find yourself occasionally stumbling in Illustrator and are saying to yourself, “there has to be a better way to do this”, in most cases there is, and it is most likely in this book.

I have been using Illustrator since 1985 and still found tips that I have never seen before. The tips on graphs were very interesting to me since I worked occasionally with graphs but never enough to have found those tips. Even if you know the majority of the tips in this book it is enjoyable to read, almost like and academy awards of the best ways to use Illustrator. There are 300 tips in this book and everyone will learn at least a dozen new killer tips.

Almost gets the perfect 5 cows award
This book is great and a cut above the average. To get 5 cows from Mike Gondek is difficult to achieve, but this book comes close. A very good technical proofer on the next version can help build upon the great job Dave Cross did here.

The example on page 89 “Drag and Drop” mentions that dragging from document to another as an alternative to copy and paste. Dave mentions there is one catch, that the pasted items will all be merged into one layer. This is not true though if your layers palette flyout menu has enable paste remembers layers checked. Page 38 “Start with a font” suggests typing single characters to find the dingbat that you need. You could more easily use the glyphs palette to find a symbol rather than typing each character individually.

Page 49 mentions the divide objects below command. This command can be tricky and works only on items with a fill that have more than 2 bezier points. That should be mentioned since the image used looks like a series of stroked lines. Page 87 gives a tip to align to a selected object by clicking on an object prior to using the align palette. This does not work with the hollow direct selection tool, but will work with the group selection or selection tool.



The killer tip on Page 95 creates a repeating seamless pattern, using the divide command. A better way as suggested in the Adobe Illustrator help is to put a rectangle with no stroke or fill behind your pattern and then drag it to the swatches palette.

Final Words
You get over 300 killer tips to enhance your usage of Illustrator, an index, and 12 printed samples of some great artwork. As an Adobe Certified instructor for Advanced Illustrator classes, I will be recommending Killer Tips for our new textbook.

I have to give extra points to Dave Cross for finding tips on using the flare tool. The images in the book were clean, simple and illustrated his points well with good creative design quality.




Conclusion
This is a great book to read for any illustrator user. Pretty much every topic is thoroughly covered. Only Illustrator killer tip I am still looking for after reading this book, is how the master of controlling the gradient mesh Ivan Torres creates those amazing lifelike digital illustrations. I give Illustrator CS Killer Tips 4 and a half cows!





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