December 1997

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Adobe Illustrator 7, VTC, Inc., 888-TRAIN-CD.

The best training material available for Illustrator 7 comes from VTC in the form of a CD with dozens of QuickTime movies demonstrating all of Illustrator 7's features. The intelligent organization and careful presentation of such complex material makes this CD a must-have for novices and experienced users alike. The best way to use this CD is to launch Illustrator, then the CD application. Select the topic you want to cover, double-click, and watch the movie demonstration. Activate your Illustrator page and do what you've just seen demonstrated. There isn't a better, faster, or easier way to learn than by practicing a routine, especially when perfect practice (VTC) makes perfect (you)! The multimedia format is used here most effectively, especially because the QuickTime format lets you rewind and go forward any time during a particular session. Better than Classroom in a Book-actually better than any book on Illustrator, VTC's training CD uses technology to teach you what you need to know at your own speed. Think of VTC as a personal trainer for Illustrator, at home or in the office.

Web Graphics for Dummies, by Linda Richards, IDG Books, $24.99 w/Mac/Windows CD-ROM.

Quick. What's Java? How do you create a PDF file? Surprisingly, this book contains lots of information about creating Web graphics that doesn't usually appear in one place. Yes, it takes you through the process of creating Web graphics in step-by-step format; and yes there's lots of good stuff on the CD like a tryout version of Adobe PageMill and WebPainter as well as sample files for the examples in the text; and yes, you'll learn how to create graphics the right way. But the real surprise with this book is that it teaches you Web basics without making you feel like a dummy.


Teach Yourself QuarkXPress 4 in 14 Days, by Kate Binder, Hayden Books, $39,99 w/CD-ROM.

You've got to give the author credit for tackling QuarkXPress 4.0 and convincing the reader that this massive, graphics-intensive application which ships with a 900-page manual can be learned in 14 days. Kate Binder gets away with it, in spite of the cluttered and confusing design, by giving you only basic information about the new features in 4.0 and showing you how to use it. The book concentrates on working with text, especially with the long document features in 4.0, and provides lots of tips and tricks to make XPress behave. It includes an excellent glossary that's worth reading on its own, as it gives definitions of the new graphic and long document elements in 4.0. The accompanying CD-ROM includes Macintosh XTensions, as well of a variety of templates, fonts, and clip art to use in your layouts.


Multimedia Producer's Bible, by Ron Goldberg, IDG Books, $39.99 w/CD-ROM

The day you stuck an animated GIF file on your Web page you became a multimedia producer. Oh, yes. According to the author, "The term multimedia has been used to to describe everything from elaborate new interactive art forms to an occasional colored spotlight running through a rock concert." Once you make anything move or squeak, or shine, you've got multimedia. This marvelous book takes you through the process of doing just that intelligently, efficiently, and profitably. It covers all the issues that impinge on designing,creating, and marketing a multimedia project with attention to the demands of production, the Internet, and customers--the ones who buy what you're selling. Written in language you don't have to be Steven Spielberg to understand, and filled with much good (and necessary) information, The Multimedia Producer's Bible is the best guide you'll find to designing, producing, testing, and marketing your projects. The accompanying CD-ROM includes demos from many of the most popular multimedia authoring applications and tools including Director, DeBabelizer, and After Effects.