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Book Review – Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One by Deke McClelland

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As with all the One-on-One series, Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One is based on the Read-Watch-Do approach of learning. In each of the 12 lessons contained in this book the method is to read the chapter, watch the video and do the exercises. Add to that, your personal trainer is Deke McClelland, an established expert with over 20 years of professional training experience.

Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One is very systematic in its approach, clear in its communication and very user-friendly. There are over two hours of DVD video and over 850 full color images, diagrams and screenshots that will illustrate your every step.

Lesson one shows you how to start a document, set up margins, create custom workspaces and work with Adobe Bridge. Lesson two focuses on text flow by introducing the mechanics of frames and text blocks. You are shown how to edit and spell check as well as joining text to a curve.

Lesson three delves into typeface and style. In this lesson you will learn about the different varieties of type and how they influence whether the page gets read or not. You will learn about paragraph spacing, alignment kerning as well as accessing special characters. Lesson four continues the formatting of text, but this time is has to do with using lists and tables. You will learn how to set tabs, work with lists and, use hanging indents to format text.

Lesson five, shows you how to draw inside InDesign using lines, shapes as well as using gradients. Within InDesign are included tools devoted to the creation of vector-based graphics. Depending on your talent, the author will have you creating images without the need of Adobe Illustrator.

While you can create graphics natively in the product, it is not Illustrator or Photoshop. Lesson six will fill you in on importing and modifying art work. You can rotate the image, flip, crop and scale. In lesson seven, you will work with transparency and blend modes as well as with clipping paths, alpha channels. Because most documents are made up of a handful of styles that are used over and over, lesson eight introduces style sheets and explains the use of paragraph, character and object styles.

From here McClelland focuses on the structure of the document. Within InDesign, it comes in three forms; pages, master pages and layers, and finally XML. Lesson nine you will work with pages, layers and XML. Pages are the real pages of the document. Master pages and layers are virtual containers that are the basis for the pages. XML; the Extensible Markup Language, is used to assign tags which identify the content of your document. You can also partition a page into XML elements and pair the XML tags with style sheets. The result is an intelligent template that will allow you to import all forms of content in one operation.

Up till now, everything has been geared for newsletters, brochures and other short documents. Lesson ten will teach you how to create long documents and books. Here you will learn about binding, how to assemble documents into a book, synchronize, and index the document.

Now that you have created long and short documents, lesson 11 shows you how to make interactive documents by using hyperlinks, bookmarks generating them into PDF files. Lesson 12 finishes up by explaining all about printing and output. The author explains the difference between Postscript and Inkjet printing, printing drafts and explains about the commercial printing process and what it means to you and your product.

What I like about Adobe InDesign CS2 One-On-One is that not only is it a great learning tool that reinforces what you are learning, by showing and explaining, but it takes its time to do so. These are not short chapters. At 528 pages the average lesson is 30 to 40 pages in length. There is a lot of information, but you have the time to learn at your own pace.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.