Power of Illustrator CS: Web Graphics Techniques, by
Steve Kurth, ISBN 0-7821-4158-7
Georgiou, February 2004, send
to the web site
CDN$59.99, UK £29.99
Steve Kurth has written several
tomes on Adobe products.
This latest book is evidently an attempt to cover
the new version's web capabilities. Upon receiving
this book I felt that it looked a little thin. I
was therefore surprised by the amount of information
The author takes a sample-based rather than project-based
approach to the education process. The initial chapters
begin with extensive coverage of a large number of
web specific issues, like file types, application
usage, color spaces, bandwidth and file size issues
and do a good job of covering many of these basics
The book next covers Illustrator's core concepts
and features along with comprehensive coverage of
many key functions. Kurth further details the new
features and capabilities of Illustrator CS as well
as covering the fundamentals of web design. I especially
liked how many commands and command options were
explored using diagrams. These diagrams reference
the various transformation options and nicely illustrate
the different combinations and their effect on a
The Save for Web dialog is another powerful Adobe
feature which has well-deserved good coverage in
this book and which in itself aptly demonstrates
just how powerful this newest iteration of Illustrator
really is. This dialog's coverage includes slice
options and tools, optimization, linking, color reduction,
file type and CSS layer handling.
the next section I encountered something which I noticed
on my first skim of the book. I found references to programs
other than Illustrator, specifically Golive and Dreamweaver.
While I felt the coverage of other programs was appropriate
and extremely useful, I was a little nervous about the
location of this information. I was just getting into
the features of Illustrator CS and didn't want to wander
off topic. The information included coverage of integration
and application-specific handling of web features within
these other programs. Going through the book in-depth,
I felt that this section should have been moved to an
Appendix (the book has no appendices in this printing).
The book next
takes us back to Illustrator to cover some more basics.
Topics such as Preparing the Work Environment,
Setting Preview Models, Saving & Editing Views and Adjusting
Illustrator's Defaults set the basis for understanding your
workspace. Kurth then jumps into several projects in which
he demonstrates just how easy it is for a user to create
many web-specific graphics including buttons, symbols, icons
and seamless backgrounds. New features, in particular 3D
handling and animations, are nicely covered in their own
chapter with some simple but effective examples.
Chapter 8 is by far the weakest in the book. It tries to
lead the user on how to create a complete web page using
Illustrator CS. Unfortunately the author jumps through several
unconnected examples, rather than taking a single project
approach which would have been much more beneficial. The
benefits of SVG are also eschewed in the final chapter although
the coverage of Java interactivity does need expanding upon.
Cons: Distinctive Mac bias in command references. Some of
the examples were poorly illustrated because the examples
were grayscale despite referencing color features and values.
No CD-ROM packed with additional goodies (I like the freebies
found on typical book CDs). Sketchy coverage of SVG and Java.
Pro: Comprehensive coverage of web features. Excellent coverage
of Illustrator's feature set. Good cross referencing for
both GoLive and Dreamweaver users. Clear and concise coverage
of features required for web page creation.
I recommend buying this book if you want to learn about
the web capabilities of Illustrator CS. Although the book
will not teach you Illustrator CS (and could have been a
little larger), it will still show you just how powerful
Illustrator CS can be and how worthy an addition it will
be to your arsenal of web tools.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org