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Home / Culture and Society / Science and Technology / Video Training Review: Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals with Deke McClelland from
Deke McClelland takes a complicated software package and brings it down to Earth in easy to understand language.

Video Training Review: Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals with Deke McClelland from

Deke McClelland is famous for his Adobe Illustrator CS4 One-On-One book series and the unique manner in which he trains you. The Illustrator CS4 One-On-One training videos from continues his personable method of training, but only in much more depth.

Your trainer for this library is Deke McClelland. 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 four million copies in print. Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals is a more in-depth version of his book of the same name. This book is 16 hours and 48 minutes in length and is divided into 12 lessons.

Lesson 1 — "Making a Document" — introduces you to Illustrator. Because of its enormity and complexity, Illustrator can be intimidating. In this lesson you will see how to create a document, work with documents, as well as saving and closing a document.

Lesson 2 — "Opening and Organizing" — now looks at working with Adobe Bridge for organizing your files. It covers opening, modifying, and saving the changes to an illustration. You will also see how to use and customize workspaces as well as learn about some cool Bridge tricks.

Lesson 3 — "Setup and Navigation" — guides you through setting up performance enhancing preferences, color settings and workspaces. You will learn how to synchronize your color settings across CS4, learn about the new CS4 interface, as well as other important topics like zooming, scrolling, nudging the screen image and some scroll wheel tricks.

Lesson 4 — "Basic Line Art" — begins with the line tools but you will also learn about working with layers, rulers, custom guides, and templates. You will also see how to draw line segments, arcs, looping spirals, and concentric circles. In this lesson you will work with open paths as well.

Lesson 5 — "Geometric Shapes" — continues your development beginning with the anatomy of a shape and meeting the shape tools. Then you will look at drawing circles, polygons, stars, rectangles, and how to draw with using Scissors and Join. In this lesson you work with grouping and ungrouping, flipping and duplicating, as well as combining simple shapes into complex ones.

Lesson 6 — "Fill, Stroke, and Color" — will show you how to fill paths, stroke paths, and color paths. You will access color libraries and sliders; these include CYMK sliders for print output, and RGB sliders for screen output. You will learn how to paste in back, paste in front, as well as pasting between layers.

Lesson 7 — "Editing and Transforming" — exposes you to the power of transformations. A transformation is any operation that changes a path without affecting its original structure. After a transformation the points in a path retain very similar positions. Rotation, reflecting, and slanting are all transformations. The transform tools don't transform paths, but rather your ability to work with paths.

Lesson 8 — "Working with Type" — shows that with 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 9 — "Using the Pen Tool" — will instruct you on what many think is a difficult tool to use; the Pen Tool. The Pen Tool is all about anchors, handles, and magnets. Here you will learn how to trace a scanned image or photograph, place an image as a template, move, add, and delete points, cut, separate, and close paths, and eye-dropping template colors.

Lesson 10 — "Selecting and Enhancing" — shows that while it is possible that you will never need to edit your artwork, it is probable that you will. Because the addition of a new path will often make you reassess another path, it is important to know how to select and enhance your artwork. You will see how to select through one shape to another, how to select a range of points with the lasso tool, and how to save selections for later use.

Lesson 11 — "Printing a Document" — in Illustrator has always been an important facet. You could always print color separations for commercial reproductions but now you have a separations preview pallet in CS4 that lets you preview how commercial inks mix and knock each other out. You are now also able to print multiple pages for the first time. You can also do the things you use to be able to do like creating custom dynamic crop marks and set general print options

Lesson 12 — "Exporting to the Web and Elsewhere" — may not be what you think of Illustrator for, but it still has some pretty dynamic capabilities here. These include exporting to a variety of non-Illustrator file formats. Here you will explore PDF, PNG, Scalable Flash (SWF), as well as exporting a layered PSD file from Illustrator.

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. Again, I 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 voiceover.

You can get Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals two ways. One is as a DVD training package Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals and the other is part of the online training experience at The DVD Training Package is $149 and includes Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals as well as containing everything you need.

The online training Illustrator CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals comes in three flavors. Monthly at $25/month gets you all of the videos that are available online (approximately 40,294 videos on 639 topics at this time). Annually at $250 per year or Premium at $375 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 CS4 One-On-One: Fundamentals 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 basics of Illustrator. You can also try out most of the first two lessons for free at

About T. Michael Testi

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

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