The latest Classroom in a Book for Fireworks CS6 is now in print!

I’m so excited! I just received copies of my latest book on Adobe Fireworks. Hard to describe the feeling of seeing your words in print. But after months of conceptualizing, writing, re-writing, editing and revising, it’s finally here!

I had a wonderful editing team to work with on the Project. Sheri German, my friend and Technical Editor  (2nd time in a row) for this book kept me on task and was did a great job of making sure steps were accurate and clear. I owe her so much for the attention to detail she paid to this book.

Linda Laflamme, my Developmental and Copy Editor, did an amazing job of getting into my head, helping to to flesh out details in an easy to understand, but concise and personable manner.

And of course, Valerie Witte, my Production Editor at Peachpit, was super-supportive, incredibly patient and always there when I needed her. She is a joy to work with.

I’d also like to thank my son, Joseph Hutt (himself and aspiring writer and creative individual) for allowing me to use photos I took of him in some of the exercises in the book. Likewise, thanks go to my very good friend Tom Green, fellow writer, teacher and mentor of mine, and his son Rob Green, for giving me permission to use photos of them in the book as well.

I am very appreciative of the fact that Peachpit Press recognized the need for  text on Fireworks, where many publishers have not.

Thanks also to all those people whom I’ve talked with, griped with or who so generously shared with me their skills, opinions or sample art to use in sections of the book.

I’m very pleased with this edition of the Fireworks Classroom in Book. It’s the third CiaB I’ve written on Fireworks, and I feel it’s the best one so far. My goal with this edition was to rewrite as much of the book as possible, and refresh as much of the art work and exercise files as was feasible. I think I met my goal, while also adding completely new content and addressing feedback from previous editions.

It’s also a bit more of a personal book for me, because so much of the artwork – photos, interfaces, wireframes – are of my own creation. Many images from my yearly camping trip with Joe, Tom and Rob (and Marley, the camp mascot) appear in this edition, so while it’s an instructional text, it also contains memories for me.

Back cover of the book, featuring Tom green in a slideshow interface.

Back cover of the book, featuring Tom Green in a slideshow interface.

What is a Classroom in a Book?

For those of you who’ve not picked up a Classroom in a Book (CiaB) before, these texts are both reference and how-to manuals in one. Project based, they take users through an introduction to the software’s interface, and then get right into using the tools to produce content. In short, hopefully answering not just the how, but also the “why”, when possible.

While not a replacement for official documentation, it’s hoped you will glean ideas, workflows and tips from these books that you might not necessarily get from the manual.

If you’re interested in designing, wireframing or protoyping for the web, applications or even just doing more with your screen graphics for PowerPoint, I think this book gives you just what you need to use Fireworks effectively.

If you’re a teacher, I’ve also written a companion guide for the book to help you plan out lessons, and giving you summaries of what each chapter (lesson) covers.

If you pick up a copy, please let me know what you think. I would love to get feedback on the book.

Like many students, I learn best when I understand the reason for what I’m learning, or am really engaged and curious about how I can achieve a vision of my own. This goes back as far as I can remember, but one example has always stuck in my mind, is my grade 10 math class. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on January 10th, 2012 , Education, Learning, On the Personal SIde, Teaching, Writing

It’s that time of year again. One I always look forward to. A time for renewal and reflection. A chance to take stock of your life so far, and appreciate what you have. My Christmas wish to all my friends and family is that you have a safe, happy holiday, and spend it with those you love and who love you, even if you can only do so in  your heart.

Several years ago, I wrote a Christmas story. And to this day, reading it still gives me chills – in a good way. I think it’s probably the best story I’ve ever written. Everything just seemed to flow when I wrote it – and those are the best stories to write – the ones that just jump out of you and onto the page, almost like you’re re-telling about something that really happened. I’m not a particularly religious person, but this story – to me – just seems right. I’m sure some of you will just think it’s corny, sentimental mush, but regardless, my gift to you is Midnight Clear. It’s in PDF format, so feel free to download it and read it yourself, or share it with friends and family.

Before you download, here’s a taste of the story. I hope it tweaks your interest enough to click the link. Merry Christmas, all, and a very happy new year!

Midnight Clear

It was a night symbolic of December in the north. Quiet, and the air so cold you almost thought you could shatter it like a pane of glass. Of the four other cabins on the lake, mine was the only one with a welcoming light shining in the window.

Standing on the porch, I watched the slight breeze move my breath away from me in little clouds. Looking up I could see thousands brilliant gems sparkling on the black velvet drape of night. On the horizon, spirits from an ancient world reeled and cavorted in their colourful, mystical dance. The distant, lone cry of a wolf echoed across the lake. Then quiet again. On such a clear night, the moon cast a serene glow across the fresh blanket of snow. Giant spruce, whispering to me in the breeze, carved long shadows in the snow. The frozen sheet of the lake was also covered, but I could still make out the dip between the shore and water, however slight.

A beautiful night, to be sure, but special in more ways than these.

Tomorrow would be Christmas. Beth-Anne would be arriving before lunch. Christmas in the country . . . what could be better?

And that thought jarred me from my reverie. I was out here for a reason – the woodshed. The night was not going to get any warmer, after all. I clapped my hands together – a dull thud through my wool gloves – and pulled my show shoes off their resting-place. Slapping the latches in place, I grabbed the wood sack and made my way to the side of the cabin.

Walking in the shoes always makes the snow seem deceptively firm as if one is walking on the ground. Reaching down to open the lid of the woodshed quickly dissolved that illusion, though.

As I rifled through my heating supply, I heard a thud, like someone dropping a rock on soft ground. I stood up and craned my neck, looking as best I could for the originator of the sound. Listening intently, I heard nothing more and so resumed my search for some good, 4-hour logs. Probably just a clump of snow falling from one of the trees, I told myself.

Well there you have the opening to my story. Enjoy Midnight Clear with friends and family if you like, but above all, have a very Merry Christmas. Here’s to a wonderful 2012!

Written on December 24th, 2011 , On the Personal SIde, Writing Tags: , ,

I just learned via friends on Twitter that my Adobe Fireworks CS4 How-To’s book is book #6 on Peachpit’s ebook popularity list.

Very nice feeling.

Written on April 21st, 2011 , Adobe, Adobe Fireworks, Teaching, web design, Writing Tags: ,

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about updating my Twitter home page background. I discussed the steps in general, but the more I wrote, the more I realized this topic would make a really good tutorial.

So over a few days, I rebuilt my page again and wrote the piece, which is now live on Commmunity MX.

It’s a biggie, and follows my workflow from start to finish (Bridge > Photoshop > Fireworks). It’s an article I’ll be sharing with my students as well, who are currently using Fireworks in a prototyping course I teach. While there is a huge focus on Fireworks, I like the article more because it shows how to use several products in tandem with each other. In design, you don’t operate in a vacuum; chances are very good you will use at least a couple types of software to complete a project. This is something I want my students to understand.

So if you’ve got some time, drop by Community MX and check out the new tutorial. Let me know what you think.

Earlier today, I participated in an Adobe “Tech Wednesday” author panel. I, Tom Green and David Powers shared our experiences, thoughts and tips about the publishing industry with a number of Adobe Community Professionals and Education Leaders. A great time was had by all, and there was a wonderful range of questions posed by the attendees.

These two other authors (and friends) have written far more books than I have  and they continue to be prolific content creators. It was worthwhile to me just to listen to what they had to say.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written on February 23rd, 2011 , Adobe, Education, On the Personal SIde, Writing Tags: , , ,

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