am 31. Dezember 2012
As I approach the Creative Suite software one-by-one, I have bought different versions of instructional books to see which suits me best. This was my first "Classroom in a book" and I have just completed the lesson plan (the others I am looking at are the "Missing Manual" version for Photoshop and the "Visual Quickstarter Guide" for Dreamweaver). All in all I have to judge it as a positive experience: I knew nothing about Illustrator before and now I feel confident enough to start my own projects - Illustrator is a fantastic software for a variety of things. The time-plan given at the beginning of each lesson is more or less correct and you can comfortably fit in the whole book in a week, with two lessons per day. The analytical index at the end of the book will make it easy to jump to each specific topic as I need it and I have a very good overview of the scope of the software.
It took me a while, however, to warm up to the book. The "lessons" are basically sequences of instructions on pre-constructed and largely pre-digested images, where you have a "start" file containing more or less all material you will need and an "end" result to aim for. No explanation is offered as to why you are doing a certain operation, what is the larger purpose of it or which alternatives are possible (like all Adobe products, Illustrator is largely redundant). This goes on until about lesson 8, after which apparently the reader is deemed knowledgeable enough to manage a couple of explanations. At times, I felt like a robot currying out instructions without having any idea of why or because. This changes radically around lesson 9 (with some minor exceptions in the previous chapters), after which I not only started to appreciate some explanations around the various functions but also managed to move much faster through the lessons, also trying some alternative paths to the same result - and enjoying myself much more.
Overall, I can recommend the book for people who have no knowledge of the software, but only if you can manage to learn in a somewhat mechanical fashion for some time. For people who have already some previous knowledge it is probably not the best option.