Book Review: Classroom in a Book. Adobe Creative Suite 2 | WebReference

Book Review: Classroom in a Book. Adobe Creative Suite 2

Book Review: Classroom in a Book. Adobe Creative Suite 2

By Nathan Segal

Adobe Creative Suite 2 (CS2) has been released to many enthusiastic users and with that release is the companion "Classroom in a Book" title, published by Peachpit. In order to get the most out of this book (and to complete all the lessons, you'll need the Premium version of CS2).

The book contains a total of 306 pages, and is divided into 10 chapters. In addition, it comes with a CD-ROM that contains files for each lesson and QuickTime movies. In this review I'll be looking at the web development aspects of the book, rather than the whole thing. My first impression of this book is that it's pretty thin for such a complex series of programs. From what I can see, the book is more of an expanded Quick Start guide, rather than an in-depth exploration.

In Chapter one you learn about asset creation and are introduced to Adobe Bridge. Other topics are defining CMYK color swatches, tracing artwork, assembling a logo, setting up documents in InDesign, placing Illustrator artwork, etc. As with many of these applications, they don't necessarily relate directly to web design but they have important implications as part of the design process. In my opinion, Adobe Bridge is an upgrade of the File Browser (available in earlier versions of Photoshop) and is now a standalone application. Among other things, it allows you to not only browse your assets, but to organize them. You can use it for file searching on a hard drive or network, create consistent color profiles for use across all CS2 applications and access Adobe Stock Photos that you can buy and manage.

In Chapter two, the user is shown how to access and browse Adobe Stock Photos in Bridge, create layer comps in Photoshop and preview layer comps in InDesign.

In Chapter three you learn how to change the dimension and resolution of an image in Photoshop, turn a photo into a background image, design a label in Illustrator, add guides, graphics, text, etc. You are also introduced to a new feature in Illustrator, the 3D effect, that allows you to turn an outline of a bottle (as an example) into a realistic 3D comprensive, using the 3D Revolve command.

Chapter four takes you through the basics of publishing a newsletter in InDesign. You'll learn about text creation, styles, placing an image and modifying a photo using the new vanishing point feature in Photoshop. Of interest to Web Developers is the Export to PDF feature where you learn about online viewing and printing.

Chapter five takes you through a process of building a web site using GoLive. Initially, you'll work with converting CMYK Illustrator artwork into RGB, placing that artwork in Photoshop, add guides, text, then switch into ImageReady, where you'll add button text and finally set up a simple site in GoLive. You'll work with Publishing Options, banners, links, frame sets target frames and linking frames to pages.

Chapter six introduces you to layers in Illustrator and shows you how to create a layer based animation in ImageReady. You'll learn about modifying frames, tweening, animating frames with the Timeline Editor and how to fix broken links in GoLive. ImageReady animations are relatively simple; I wouldn't recommend this program for advanced animation. If that's your aim, I recommend having a look at Flash.

Chapter seven deals with moving from print to the web. The highlights of this chapter are updating Smart Objects in GoLive, package for GoLive in InDesign and import those packages into GoLive and learn how to use the CSS Editor. You'll follow up on the newsletter you created in lesson four. The package contains the content of the newsletter and you can pick and choose which elements to use. Another option is to export the document from InDesign. GoLive will then create HTML pages that closely resemble the InDesign pages. But it won't be perfect as the text styling in InDesign outstrips what one can do in HTML. As a result, compromises have to be made and you'll need to consider what to do up front, so that you can use CSS to approximate what you have in the InDesign environment.

Chapter eight is about how to create an effective presentation using InDesign. You'll go through the steps of setting up a document, creating master pages, defining paragraph styles, modifying them, adding and exporting hyperlinks and interactive elements.

In Chapter nine, you'll convert an InDesign document to a PDF for review. Here, you set up the document for email and browser based reviews, look at security settings, participate in a review (where you make comments and indicate text changes and learn how to use the TouchUp Text tool). Instead of working with the tutorial, I decided to test this feature on a PDF I have in progress. I found that the tool worked quite well, even on headers and footers, but when I attempted to edit a cover page I'd created using text in Photoshop, it wouldn't work.

Version Cue is the subject of Chapter ten. The purpose of Version Cue is to allow designers the opportunity to share projects and files directly from their hard drives, rather than from a server. Essentially one's drive acts like a server and you can designate which team members see your work.


As mentioned earlier, I consider this book to be a quickstart guide, rather than an in-depth exploration of CS2. If this is all you want, it could be adequate, but you'll find it lacking if you're looking for more advanced information. In that case, you'll have to resort to the documentation that comes with your software or look for a book or books that give you more information.

Created: December 13, 2004

Revised: October 25, 2005