|This is the ninth edition of the Illustrator WOW! book and the author, Sharon Stever, has rewritten and expanded on previous editions, concentrating on the new features in CS3. Some of the artwork has been replaced with new examples to reflect the many changes for Illustrator's latest upgrade. As in previous editions of the WOW! books, the book is sectioned into groups of several short lessons which cover the major features and techniques for this software. The thing that makes the WOW! books one of my favorites is the gallery of artwork which I find not only a teaching tool but also an inspiration. |
To be honest, if you have a previous edition of this book, you will find most of the book and the examples are the same, but updated for CS3. Digital artists that are already comfortable using Illustrator, may find that this edition does not have enough new content to justify purchasing a second edition. However, Illustrator is a robust software and if you are a novice who is looking for more of a challenge, the WOW! book is a great way to advanced your Illustrator skills. The book is packed with great examples, tips and step-by-step instructions. The CD contains more tips from Design Tools MonthlyTM, video tutorials, plug-ins, styles, and files for the lessons in the book.
The first few chapters cover the user interface and basic tools such as the pen tool and Bezier curves. Once you make it through that, you begin to draw and color. If you are making the transition from raster to vector digital art, you will soon realize that Illustrator has some really nice features. The author does a great job explaining and demonstrating these features such as the new Live Color and the dual-mode eyedropper tool.
Beyond the basics, the book covers Illustrator techniques including compound paths and the Pathfinder panel. The author also covers Live Trace and Live Paint, new for CS3. The features in Illustrator that I love the most are brushes and symbols. With these tools, you can create digital art that almost duplicates the traditional medium such as pen and ink. The author does a good job of explaining these tools and, more importantly, how to decide which one is best for the job at hand.
Illustrator's type features have evolved to the point where you can design and layout a single-page document and the author dedicates a good section of the book to the many Illustrator type tools such as point, area and path type and converting type to outlines. Another section of the book that has become more important as Illustrator's tools have advanced is the section that covers the blend, gradient and mesh. The book demonstrates several great examples of shading, modeling and working with transparency for print projects. Live Color is one of Illustrator's most popular new tools and the author shows you how to use this feature to experiment with color schemes and recolor artwork.
If you want to explore the world of 3D digital art but you are not ready for a full-blown 3D software, you will enjoy the chapter on Illustrator's live 3D effects including warps, envelopes and Live 3D. I especially liked the examples of 3D artwork which demonstrated mapping artwork onto your 3D objects, which is a good introduction to 3D techniques.
With the release of CS3, these is a major increase in the integration between IllustratorR and the other AdobeR products including FlashR, InDesignR, PhotoshopR, AcrobatR and After EffectsR. The author covers several aspects of moving art between programs such as working in RGB color mode in Illustrator, image slicing and animation.
Sharon Stever is the originator of the Illustrator WOW! books and has been creating digital art for over two decades.