[amazon-product text=”Illustrator CS4 Bible” type=”text”]0470345195[/amazon-product], is the most inclusive of all the books about Illustrator CS4 I had the privilege to review. In its 700 pages (not including its excellent table of contents and index), the needs of all levels of users from beginner to advanced are addressed by its author, Ted Alspach.
Alspach addresses users at the opposite end of the spectrum than those whom he targeted with his For Dummies book also discussed in this review series. While his approach is much drier in this tome, his personality shines throughout the publication.
The layout, though it does adhere to high standards and is consistent, is so tight that nuggets of very important information can easily be overlooked. For example, on pages 4-5, where Alspach discusses the use of multiple artboards (a new feature of Illustrator CS4), the lack of color and tight style choices with callouts and headers could cause a reader to overlook the very lucrative capability of overlapping artboards. And as this is not specifically addressed in Chapter 3 (or in any other reference manual, for that matter), a user who shies away from experimenting with the tools could quite possibly go for years without stumbling upon this very advantageous capability.
I don’t fault the publisher with this particular layout choice as it allows such a depth of information to be included. I do, however, caution the reader to approach the reference in a more studious manner than he or she would other reference manuals. The information contained provides more than step-by-step instruction; it provides deeper discussions of how and why the software works than you will find in other titles. And, as such, despite being touted as a book for beginners, those very new to the software may find themselves a bit overwhelmed with the possibilities available.
While the Illustrator CS4 Bible has been written to progress from beginning to end, most users will pick it up for instruction in a specific area of need. The extensive table of contents and appendix facilitate this approach. And what Alspach left out in the quick reference pull out in his Illustrator CS4 For Dummies publication, he provides in the 25 page appendix of Illustrator CS4 shortcuts.
Truly a Bible for Illustrator CS4, there isn’t much (if anything) that has been left out and users are expected to plunk down $44.99 to have access to all the knowledge held between the book’s cover. As would be expected in any publication of such magnitude, the presentation, though effective, does little to soften the subject for the reader. The publisher has used black and white printing and has packed every bit of information possible into the book. The mere extent of information included in this book alone makes worthy of consideration as an addition to your bookshelf.