Thursday , February 22 2024
Training that takes a complicated software package and brings it down to earth in easy to understand language.

Video Training Review – Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics With Deke McClelland From

Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics is the second part of a three part review that encompasses the total Illustrator CS3 One-On-One. training series. If you purchase it online, it is broken down into three segments. If you get the DVD, you get all three segments on one disk. The first part of this review, "Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: The Essentials" was published in January.

Your trainer for this library is Deke McClelland. Deke McClelland is a well-known expert and lecturer on Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and the broader realm of computer graphics and design. To date, he has written 85 books that have been translated into 24 languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. The total running length is 29 hours and to give a fair treatment, I will divide them up as they appear online. This second segment is 10.5 hours in length and is contained in eight lessons (Lessons 9-16).

Lesson 9, "Pathfinder Operations" shows how you can combine simple objects to create more complex ones. By combining two circles next to each other with a triangle underneath can become a valentine. Here you will learn to edit a compound shape, assemble your primitives, divided and unite, and exclude, intersect and learn other techniques to create new objects.

Lesson 10, "Liquify and Envelope" are the more powerful distortion functions in Illustrator. Liquify is the name for a group of painting tools. You paint a selected object that you want to stretch, swell, or otherwise change. The Envelope commands allow you to apply predefined warp shapes to an object. In this lesson you will learn about how to use these two tools to create amazing effects.

Lesson 11, "Creating and Formatting Type" shows that while in most programs type is just a simple object for adding words to a document. In Illustrator type is another shape or ornament that is used to decorate the page. Here you will learn about the next generation in text handling, how to place text into a document, scaling and positioning text, flowing text from one block to another and other techniques for working with text.

Lesson 12, "Gradients and Gradient Mesh" explores what are really fill patterns that flow from one color to another. While gradients are limited to a one dimensional flow, the use of the gradient mesh will allow you to move in two dimensional space blending in neighboring colors in all directions. In this lesson you will learn about the gradient palette, gradient strokes, creating a gradient mesh and how to blend paths with a gradient mesh.

Lesson 13, "Blends and Masks" continue to be among Illustrator's most powerful capabilities. Blending allows you to create custom gradations and morphings so that you can transition one object; or set of objects, into another. Masking on the other hand allows you to clip those gradations inside a path. What makes these two items so useful is that they are forever editable. Here you will learn all about making, cloning and coloring blends, as well as creating, filling and cropping masks.

Lesson 14, "Brushing with Vectors" shows how by using the brushes palette you can create a calligraphic stroke that varies based on different influences such as stylus pressure and path direction. Because Illustrator allows you to turn any graphic or text into a brush, it gives you a lot of flexibility. In this lesson you will learn everything and more about brushes including how to make the brushes behave, how to use erasers, and creating custom art brushes.

Lesson 15, "Using Transparency" explains how once treated as a gimmick, transparency now has found a home in Illustrator and is fully integrated into all facets of the program. According to the instructor, you should look on transparency as a friend that you can  and should use. In this lesson you will learn how to use every aspect of transparency from independent attribute control to knockout groups, from blend modes to opacity masks, and from gradient fades to whole layer transformations.

Lesson 16, "Applying Live Effects" examines several functions that Illustrator applies to path outlines on the fly. These include transparency settings, a handful of pathfinder operations, as well as all of the commands under the effects menu. You will explore the effects commands and the appearance palette in this lesson. This topic is one that very few Illustrator users know exist and if they do, they don't really know of the true capabilities.

As always, I really like Deke McClelland's presentation and his gift to make the complex simple. He takes what is a complicated program; Illustrator, and brings it down to earth in an easy to understand dialog. I also really like the fact that the introductions to each chapter are films of the instructor explaining what the lesson is all about. I think that it makes the instructor more real than just hearing them talk in the voice over.

You can get Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics two ways. One is as a DVD training package Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics and the other is part of the online training experience at The DVD Training Package is $149 USD and includes Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: The Essentials as well as containing everything you need.

The online training Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics comes in three flavors. Monthly at $25 USD/month gets you all of the videos that are available online (approximately 21,811 videos on 318 topics at this time). Annually at $250 USD per year or Premium at $375 USD per year which get all the videos as well as all of the exercise files. Take note that the exercise files are not included with the monthly or annual subscriptions. They are included on the DVD and Premium subscriptions.

You can use Illustrator CS3 One-On-One: Beyond The Basics as a training program for the individual student, as well as the college or vocational teacher looking to supplement their educational materials. It is of benefit to anyone who needs help understanding the next level of Illustrator. You can also try out most of the first lesson for free at

About T. Michael Testi

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

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