A day in the life of a Certitec delegate

Let's get behind the scenes!

Similar to the timeline function in Twitter - we have mapped a typical day of training to provide a realistic overview of what to expect during any of our courses.

We feel this will reveal the typical format, surroundings, training room set-up and format of the day so you're fully aware if you're thinking of taking an Adobe Authorised Training course with Certitec.

Course BIO

Editorial by John Espirian, technical writing consultant and Adobe Illustrator delegate.

But what’s classroom-based training actually like in 2017? In this write-up, we take a look at what happens during a day of training with Certitec.

On 3 July 2017, six delegates made their way to Brunel House in Cardiff to learn about Illustrator, Adobe’s premium vector-graphics drawing application for Windows and macOS. 

Leading Certitec’s day-long training session was Terry Kendrick, an Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI).

So, what happened during the day? Let’s take a look at the timeline of events.

Timeline

Time9.30am: Before the delegates arrived, Terry was busy preparing the room. Certitec delivers training on both Windows and Macs, so the day started with each machine being set up to meet the delegates’ personal preferences.

930am

As a dedicated Mac user, I appreciate this attention to detail: I know I’d hate to be forced to use Windows during training, and I’m sure the opposite will be true for some delegates.

Time10.00am: After a quick registration and personal introductions, the learning got underway. Delegates included a teacher and social media manager, and all were newcomers to Adobe Illustrator. 

"I’m here because I want to move away from Canva"

Emily, delegate

The session began with a discussion about intent when producing visual content for the web. 

Terry talked about setting up documents for the web in RGB, which allows the display of up to 16.7 million colours. In comparison, CMYK – the traditional colour model for print – supports around 10 million colours.

Unlike Photoshop, its more well-known sister application, Illustrator is a vector-based drawing program. This means that Illustrator is based on mathematically calculated anchor points – a scary-sounding concept but one that Terry explained quickly and simply.

10am

I appreciate the value of vector-based graphics, because they can be scaled to any size without any loss of quality, and the file sizes are often much smaller than traditional raster (bitmap) graphics.

Time10.30am: Terry guided the delegates to create a new Illustrator document. He explained the basics of the user interface, the setup of document preferences and how to reset the view of the program’s various panels.

Training

Training

Time10.45am: Going beyond the basics, Terry then moved on to explain how tools were grouped in Illustrator, as well as discussing the individual functions of some of the tools in the left-hand toolbox.

By following Terry’s clear series of step-by-step instructions, the delegates got some hands-on experience of using the software to open and inspect some sample Illustrator documents.

Time11.20am: A quick coffee break gave delegates the chance to stretch their legs, grab a drink and a free snack, and to let some of the new information sink in.

Training

Time11.40am: The morning’s session restarted with a look at drawing shapes and using Illustrator’s widgets to create rounded corners. As before, the delegates followed Terry’s practical advice to get to grips with the tools.

Training

Terry talked about how to manipulate the colour palette, and shared some best-practice tips, including this one:

Never use the ‘registration’ colour in a printed document.
– Terry Kendrick

(The registration colour looks like black but doesn’t behave like other colours when used in an Illustrator document.) 

A look at the Brush Library helped Terry explain that Illustrator can be used not only as a vector-drawing tool but also as a vector-painting tool. He then moved to talking about Layers, Artboards and how to draw polygons (multi-sided shapes).

Training

Time12.45pm: After covering a lot of information in the morning, the delegates took a well-earned lunch break. Certitec includes lunch vouchers for all delegates, and there are plenty of food outlets located close by in Cardiff city centre.

As everyone got ready for the afternoon’s session, we enjoyed the view from the top of Brunel House.

Training

Time1.45pm: After lunch, Terry gave the group an exercise on making selections, and started by talking about stacking Layers.

Among other techniques, the delegates then learned about drag-copying, shift-click group selections and marquee selections.

Training

Terry provided the excellent tip of showing delegates how to switch between Preview and Outline modes – ideal for picking out objects that have become obscured behind others.

Time2.20pm: The next section was about creating a simple logo in Illustrator – one of the features most closely associated with this program. 

Training

I thought this was a helpful exercise. It introduced Illustrator’s Live Paint feature and showed delegates how to create the visual illusion of interlinking shapes through the intelligent use of stacking and cutting – clever stuff.

As a bonus, Terry gave delegates a quick pointer to Adobe Capture, a mobile app that allows users to turn photos into production-ready assets and to capture colours.

Another useful tip was to introduce Illustrator’s Transform Again feature, which provides a smart way to replicate and move objects in a consistent way.

Terry also showed how to use the Layers panel to copy selected objects from one Layer to another – again, a very handy timesaver.

In the final part of this section, the delegates were challenged to create their own compound paths, using the techniques they learned earlier in the day. Terry also demonstrated how to use the Live Paint bucket to apply selective colouring to parts of a design.

Training

Training

Time3.10pm: Another break to recharge the batteries and get ready for the home straight.

Time3.40pm: In the final part of the day, Terry gave delegates a taster on combining images, which is to be covered in more detail in the second day of this introduction course.

There was a discussion of the differences between PPI (Pixels Per Inch) and DPI (Dots Per Inch), where PPI refers to input for screens and DPI refers to output for print.

Terry’s key tip is find out the LPI (Lines Per Inch) supported by the device that will output any designs to print, because sending more data to a printer than is necessary is a waste.

Delegates saw how the Live Trace feature allows photographs to be turned into vector-based images, allowing export to SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

To finish off the day, there was a look at typography via the integrated support for Adobe Typekit, which is available as a standalone service but also included for Creative Cloud subscribers. Delegates learned about point type (clicking and typing in a line) versus area type (dragging a marquee to define a larger text area).

Time5.00pm: A value-packed day of learning drew to a close and delegates went away with confidence to get started with Illustrator. A second day of introductory training would follow, to solidify and build upon the content covered on day one.

To round off the day and support their ongoing learning, delegates were given their own up-to-date 450-page guidebook to Illustrator, written by Adobe, worth a retail price of $60.

This is a classroom in a book.

Terry Kendrick

Training

Let’s wrap up

Certitec’s intro day provided a thorough, accessible introduction to what is – in my opinion – one of Adobe’s more complicated pieces of software.

Terry’s delivery was well paced and relevant, and gave delegates a good grounding in moving beyond the limitations of bitmap graphics.

Training

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