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Mike Gondek reviews Total Training Illustrator CS

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Mike Gondek reviews Total Training Illustrator CS
A Creative COW Training Product Review

Mike Gondek takes a look at Total Training's AE 6
Mike Gondek Mike Gondek
mikegondek.com
Orland Park, Illinois USA

©2003 by Mike Gondek and CreativeCOW.net. All rights are reserved.


Article Focus:
Illustrator is the first commercially sold Adobe product and has evolved into version 11 officially known as Illustrator CS. There are many features buried into this excellent program and it is much easier to reveal them in video than a written book.

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Author

Deke McClelland presents the subject at a perfect pace and is very knowledgeable in Illustrator. He has been writing books as long as I can remember. With over 70 titles in his name, he is a veteran in training on Adobe products.

Yes, you will have to put up with his puns, cheap jokes and the tacky decor of his bachelor pad during the introductions. Deke makes up for it sharing all the essential hidden keyboard modifiers in Illustrator.

His examples not only cover how to use illustrator, but you will also see many of the common problems that professionals regularly encounter.

What You Get

After watching the third DVD, I was wondering if color management, brushes, envelopes would be covered. Found this excellent bonus disk which covered the topics I was looking for. The bonus disk is actually content from the Illustrator 10 total training series, but totally applicable to Illustrator CS.

You also get a DVD with project files, but need version CS to open the files. Intermediate users should be able to do the training without the files, but beginners will more likely want to upgrade to CS if they want to interactively follow along.

Content

Deke covers shapes thoroughly, adds new interest to them and goes over all the hidden secrets. While drawing stars, holding the up arrow cursor will add points to your star or sides to a polygon. Deke covers all these secrets which many Illustrator users have not seen before. He covered most every single one that I spent over a decade learning, and gave me a few new ones. I could only think of a few he skipped such as the tilde key; but that one can be dangerous to teach and more fun than useful.

The scribble filter is in many examples. The scribble filter is great, but would have liked to have a more thorough coverage of prepress issues such as the document raster settings. Many printers are still stuck in version 8, because of the extra raster issues associated with versions higher than 8. Illustrator 8 was a vector only program if you did not place any images and it was easier to make film without error. We need to understand what prepress encounters, and our prepress friends could have used some tips to help get Illustrator CS to work better for them. Embedding images could have been discussed, and I would have done the section on 3D in the wireframe mode as you could better see what the settings do. Illustrator for video and program interactivity was not covered, but flash animations were.

Deke never really slipped in his presentation, which happens to everyone in Illustrator if you have the wrong layer selected a composite path, masking or grouping problem. The coverage of the advanced transparency palette features such difficult topics as knockout groups with an extraordinary presentation.

Summary

Total Training as always has excellent production quality on their DVDs, and a great host with Deke McClelland.

With over 9 hours of training on 5 DVDs at $179, there is no reason for you to not get this. Learn new techniques and improve your knowledge of Adobe Illustrator with with Deke McClelland of Total Training. I strongly recommend buying Total Training Adobe Illustrator CS and give it 4.5 cows.

These DVDs are the best thing out there on Illustrator, beginners to advanced users will benefit from buying this.


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