Book Review: Illustrator CS4 for Dummies

by Louellen Coker on April 23, 2010

[amazon-product text=”Illustrator CS4 For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))” type=”text”]0470396563[/amazon-product]Illustrator CS4 for DummiesDummy or not, Illustrator CS4 for Dummies by Ted Alspach is a good addition to your reference library. Aimed at beginners, this For Dummies title will get you up and running with Illustrator CS4 almost immediately. Alspach, a guru and prolific author who has written more than 30 books related to graphics, design, and desktop publishing, presents the material with a light-hearted manner that makes this book accessible to even the newest of users.

To make the overwhelming possibilities of Illustrator clear, Alspach presents concepts starting from the very basics—opening/creating a document—to working with paths, 3-D effects, type, imported graphics and ultimately to production for both print and web. Tips, beneficial to newbies and advanced users alike, are scattered effectively throughout the book and are clearly marked. The book’s full color layout, relatively new for this series, as well as the high-quality graphics, further enhances the book’s usability.

Illustrator CS4 for Dummies brings a discussion of a sophisticated software into layman’s terms and provides information that a beginner might not know and other manuals gloss over. For example, on pages 288-292, Alspach not only defines embedded and linked images, he goes on to explain when you would use each as well as what you should look for when using them. And while, all of the books I reviewed contained this information, this has the most in depth presentation and provided an excellent foundation of how linked and embedded images function. The new Illustrator CS4 will undoubtedly recoup the book’s cost in saved production issues during the publishing process later on in these 5 pages alone.

I found the pull-out quick reference guide in the front to be a little lacking for such a complex software. Alspach makes up for this deficit with the two “Part of Tens” chapters (where he provides ten tips to enhance production and ten ways to customize Illustrator) and bonus chapter that discusses the use of other effects and that is available for download from the publisher’s website.

Though I often grudgingly purchase a Dummies book (after all, I’m no dummy!), there is no denying that Dummies for Adobe Illustrator CS4 lives up to the same high standards of the Dummies line and does make learning new or expanding skills easier. It will likely be one f the first books you’ll pull off your shelf when in need of quick instructions.

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