The Education of the Economic Draftsman

by Michael Zabel

Have you made the upgrade to Adobe® Creative Suite® 6?  If you have, there are many free resources on the internet that exhibit the new features that come along with the new software – simply perform a search on Google, YouTube, or take a look at some of the free videos available through Adobe® TV in the learning resources section of their website.  While providing valuable information many of the free tutorials out there, however, are either very brief or tailored to a very specific function of the software.  These tutorials can be useful if you’re diligent enough (and have the spare time) to find an acceptable curriculum amidst the many insignificant and insufficient “walk throughs” available.  But don’t get me wrong, there are many applicable and professional quality tutorials out there for free and I frequently reference them. 
   Another possible solution?  Perhaps purchase one or more of the many textbooks that highlight, in depth, all the ins and outs of CS6.  Retailing at $30-40 per book will get expensive but the trade off is potential expert level knowledge.  If it better suits your personal learning style, this direction may be a perfectly viable option.  If these books don’t fit into the budget, there are also many relatively inexpensive options obtainable in the periodical or news stand section of the local bookstore.  One that I recommend is the Creative Suite Masterclass put out by the makers of Computer Arts (pictured above).  This particular publication covers Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects.  Lessons include brief overviews of the new features of CS6, the Top 50 master tricks for each program, in depth tool set breakdowns, and access to online video tutorials by industry professionals.  Note: This is a British magazine and the video tutorials are indeed performed by British design professionals – complete with very thick accents – so there may be portions of the tutorials that require playback to decipher what they are saying.  Also don’t be distracted while reading as the British tend to favour the use of colour.  Priced at $25.99 (retail) the Creative Suite Masterclass can be seen as slightly pricy for a magazine, but if you look at it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing…or a book in magazine format…the cost is easily justifiable.  If it’s not your cup of tea..a-hem…there are many other publications to choose from.  Again, decide what works best for your particular learning style.
   The resources are numerous in this age of information and knowing, as they say, is half the battle.  The other half is positively applying this knowledge through experiencing and experimenting.  In comparison to picking out the proper learning materials, gaining a full understanding of the Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 is all about figuring out what works (and what does not) personally.  Persistently practicing will eventually lead to a comfort level that will make this particular software a very powerful extension in your creative arsenal.

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