June 2002

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a SIG of Brookdale Computer Users Group
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Adobe Photoshop 7,
Adobe Systems, Inc. $609 or $149 upgrade.

Picky, picky! Critics of this latest upgrade to an application few can work without cite no major features. There are at least two: For Macintosh users it's OS X compliant, and it includes two new can't-live-without tools, the Healing Brush and Patch tool. If you think enhanced Web output that keeps your vector art and text looking crisp, a Rollovers palette for convenience, and an Auto Color command unworthy of note, then go back and struggle with the Rubber Stamp tool and Auto Levels command.

An entirely new paint engine lets you create and save custom brushes and adjust dozens of different brush settings. Or, you can select a brush preset from the CD to simulate traditional wet and dry brush painting techniques. Create a pattern with a single keystroke and generate abstract patterns or realistic textures such as sand or rocks with the Pattern Maker plug-in. An enhanced Liquify plug-in gives you greater control over image warping with zoom, pan, and multiple undos. Need smoke or fire? Us the Turbulence brush.

Photoshop 7 provides new controls and security settings for superior images, precise output, and worry-free file sharing. With its seamless integration with other Adobe professional software, this powerful update moves image editing into a new era of functionality and ease of use.

Mac OS X (10.1)Visual QuickStart Guide by Maria Langer, Peachpit Press, $19.99.

You need this book. Of course, if you find the small pamphlet that comes with OS X sufficient for installation, you don't. But if you plan to actually work with OS X, then this book is an ideal way to get acquainted with Apple's revolutionary system software. It gives a good description of the new features and explains how functions like control panels and system extensions from previous systems translate to OS X. Lots of screen shots and step-by-step instructions will have you running on Aqua in no time at all.

Adobe InDesign 2.0, Classroom in a Book for Mac and Windows, Adobe Press, $45 with CD

For those who are either planning a migration from QuarkXPress to InDesign 2 (yes, it's happening*), this book is a the best place to start. The Classroom in a Book series provides a comprehensive view of the program, helping you to learn the software features quickly and easily. Using the files on the CD, you'll get experience and step-by-step instruction in numerous real-world tasks, from setting up layouts and master pages to creating transparencies and exporting content to XML. You'll also find suggestions you can explore on your own, so you'll quickly become and InDesign pro.

*When David Blatner, Mr. QuarkXPress co-authors Real World InDesign (Peachpit Press), you know it's happening!

QuarkXPress 5 for Mac and Windows, Visual QuickStart Guide, by Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas, Peachpit Press, $24.99

Still the best quick reference to this huge and multifaceted program, this newest member of a spectacular series, breaks QuarkXPress down into manageable units, letting you learn what you need to know about any command or function. It's heavy visual approach with thousands of screen shots and graphics, concise text, and intelligent organization make it the first book you should buy if you're upgrading to version 5.0.

QuarkXPress Power Shortcuts: Productivity Shortcuts for QuarkXPress 4 and 5, Mac and Windows, by David Blatner, Peachpit Press, $21.99.

For users accustomed to David Blatner's QuarkXPress bibles that cover anything there is to know about this program, his new (little) book is a helpful compilation of tips and techniques to make you a power user. Every menu command's shortcut key is covered as well as tips for using palettes and control menus. Find Easter Eggs and learn some of the best-kept Quark shortcut secrets (see page 145 for drawing text on a circle). This compact, no-frills book is intelligently designed so you can quickly find what you need and get on with using QuarkXPress to earn money.