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Introduction

Introduction

The idea behind this book

The very first Killer Tips book was created based on the premise that the first thing everyone reads in any book is the sidebars. You know, the quick little tips that are typically accompanied by some icon to emphasize their importance. We’re no different: We get a new book and flip through it, looking for the tips and then (maybe) will get around to reading the actual text in the chapter. This book is a blatant attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Photoshop Killer Tips book by making up a bunch of stuff and slapping a cover onto it that implies it might actually be useful. Of course we’re kidding here—only a handful of the tips were made up; the majority of the others work fine (the ones we tested anyway).

This Killer Tips book is a little different from the others in the series, as we revisited the question, “What makes a tip a killer tip?” and realized that it really depends on your experience with the software. To a beginner, a “killer” tip could be a simple shortcut that the more experienced Illustrator user has known for years. So, we created a “Basic Training” chapter with a whole series of what amount to “Killer Tips for Beginners.” But throughout the pages, the underlying theme is the same as all the Killer Tips books—speed. Get it done fast and do it accurately (and enjoy the new speed at which you can create your works of art).

Tip

This is a sidebar tip. Every great computer book has a few of them. But this book is nothing but them. A whole book of cool sidebar tips, without the sidebars.


Is this book for you?

Yes. There, that was simple wasn’t it? Yes, you should buy this book. Read it if you must, but definitely buy it. No, really, this book is aimed at the two main types of Illustrator users out there. There’s the everyday Illustrator users who have been creating all kinds of cool designs but just want to be faster. They crave speed and quicker ways to get their artwork done. These users will find all kinds of productivity tips and important reminders of speedier methods and helpful techniques. Then there’s the other kind of Illustrator user: the ones who own the software and use it occasionally or are just getting started. They will enjoy the fact that some of the tips cover the important principles of the program, particularly the ones that aren’t self-evident.

Of course, one of the biggest challenges in a book like this is to decide which tips are “too” basic, which tips “everyone knows,” and which tips are way beyond comprehension except for rocket scientists. Our simple solution was to throw darts at a dartboard filled with tip-laden sticky notes, and hope that all the best tips didn’t get left out. We believe the odds were in our favor. Seriously, our goal was to provide a wide range of tips, so if the first couple cause you to say, “Jeez, I knew that!” that’s great! That means you’ve done a good job of teaching yourself about Illustrator. Keep on truckin’, though, and we know you’ll find tips that will change your life (or at least make things go a lot faster).

Is this book for Mac or Windows, or both?

This book is for anyone that owns Illustrator: any platform, any version. Yes, if you run Illustrator 88 on your Mac SE, you can benefit from the seven tips that relate to your version. Of course, if you are using Illustrator CS2 on OS X or Windows, then all of these tips will be of interest to you. For each tip that includes a keyboard command, we give you both the Macintosh and Windows version of the shortcut. Sorry, but due to space constraints we had to cut the Amiga keyboard shortcuts from each tip. Maybe next time.

How to use this book

The beauty of a book like this lies in its simplicity: Start reading anywhere, stop reading when you’re finished. Remember, the first chapter is really aimed more at inexperienced users (but it’s okay for you to read that one too, even if you feel pretty comfortable with Illustrator—you never know what you might have missed).

If you really want to take best advantage of this book, we would recommend using it with at least three of the following: candlelight, hot tub, wine, favorite companion, barbershop quartet music. Can you imagine anything more romantic? Reading aloud some Illustrator tips by candle- light to your loved one, to the a capella strains of “Heart of My Heart”…

Another Tip

You’re doing it again! Stop looking at these sidebars. See, they’re intoxicating—you’re drawn to them even after you know it’s not really a tip. Okay, here’s a real tip: If you like sidebar tips, buy this book.


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