February 1998

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MacWaves MUG
a SIG of Brookdale Computer Users Group
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QX-Effects 3.0, Extensis Corp. $129.95/Mac

It's sad to think that somewhere in the massive Adobe complex in San Jose, a group of people-probably nice people-are working around the clock to kill QuarkXPress. While they're honing their digital weapons, avoid the fray with Extensis QX-Effects 3.0. Without Photoshop and in QuarkXPress you can (very easily) create professional-quality shadows, glows, bevels, and embosses to XPress text, pictures and objects. QX-Effects creates high-resolution TIFF files for the effect once you complete designing it in the interactive guide. The banner for this page and MOPMUG drop shadow and emboss samples were created in XPress in less than 2 minutes, using the QX-Effects default values except for resolution which was changed to 72 dpi for screen display. However, this XTension's strength lies in its powerful print controls allowing you to merge effects with CMYK, grayscale, 1-bit TIFF files as well as RGB images. Creating drop shadows and cast shadows has never been easier and its highly interactive interface assists users in a demanding production environment. This XTension deserves every award it has received, especially since Extensis provides free, knowledgeable, and unlimited support for its products that have made XPress more powerful and more intuitive.


The Non-Designer's Web Book, by Robin Williams and John Tollett, Peachpit Press, $29.95

If you're not a multimedia designer, then this is the first book you should read before hurling your combination of graphics and texts into cyberspace. And if your whole life has been working in print production, then do us all a favor and at least read the chapter on "Designing the Interface & Navigation" before you have us clicking all over the place and getting lost in in the forest without a bread crumb trail. Like all her wonderful books, this one reflects Robin Williams' intelligent understanding of her medium and a breezy but effective style in communicating important information. The authors manage to cover all the major elements of Web design, and rather than overwhelming their readers, inspire them to learn and create Web pages that make surfers glad they found them.

Teach Yourself Illustrator 7 in 24 Hours, by Mordy Golding/Mac and Windows, Hayden Books, $19.95

If you're new to Illustrator-even Illustrator 7-and want to get a good, informative overview of how this program works, the format and price of this book make it worth your investment of time and money. The author does an excellent job of breaking down the hundreds of commands in the Illustrator toolbox and menu and organizes them in such a way that you actually learn how to use them. The step-by-step approach makes it easy to navigate functions, and plenty of screenshots and samples keep you on the right track. The book's uncluttered design together with the author's clear, concise explanations, and excellent index make this an excellent learning tool for classroom or office.


Real World Illustrator 7, by Deke McClelland Mac and Windows, Peachpit Press, $29.95

This is the book you must to have when you need how to do anything or how to fix something. Real World Illustrator 7 is the most comprehensive, friendly (Deke's the guy who has been running the best graphics course in the country out of his Macworld column), and-up-to-date guide to Adobe Illustrator. The book combines the "biblical" approach to the program (with a comprehensive index) that makes it such a critical reference work, with a step-by-step guide through Illustrator's features and functions. The chapters on text manipulation alone, with their careful attention to basic text functions along with "wackier effects" make it worth reading.You'll be surprised how quickly you learn how to use Illustrator 7 while you're playing with Deke who shares his toys and expertise graciously and intelligently.