We recently had the opportunity to check out the book, More Than One Way to Skin a Cat by Meowza Katz and we wanted to do a review of this wonderful resourceful book. The book is a series of high quality, full color tutorials for Aviary’s Phoenix graphics program, which is an online based application the book provides a year of service for. Having never used the program before receiving the book, we were blank canvases on which to try out this promising looking program.
The book, along with the tutorials contained within, were fun filled and easy to follow, imparting numerous helpful techniques and tricks of the Phoenix app as we went through it. There was only a short period of adjustment as we settled in to the unfamiliar UI and found our way around, with a lot of the functions being fairly intuitive. Not to mention that the tutorials included within the book range from beginner to advanced skill levels, so no matter if you are experienced with other graphics programs or not, there is something for everyone.
Another fantastic element that makes the book extremely useful beyond just the Aviary and Phoenix frameworks, is that the tutorials in the book will also work for any imaging program like Photoshop and GIMP. So if for some reason you do not feel like learning a new application, you can use the book to enhance your skills at whatever image program you are used to. The accompanying CD that comes with the book also contains all of the source files for the tutorials in the book so that you can easily recreate them.
Notes on Phoenix
- Very limited brush options and no ability to load or create new ones.
- You can however import custom filters
- Great forums, very helpful
- No pressure sensitivity yet for tablet users but they are working on it
- Only online now but Air versions to come soon
- Still kind of buggy since it’s in beta
We would also like to point out that even though Phoenix cannot currently load in or create custom brushes, when we contacted Aviary with this question, they asked for specific examples of what we were wanting to do, and they asked if we could send them some custom brushes that they are working to build in this incorporation of new brushes in future releases. So kudos to the team for so openly receiving and responding to our feedback. It shows that they are working with the community to improve their products and services, which is always encouraging.
Like with all products, there were a couple of hangups, but nothing beyond the lack of adding new brushes that made the program feel lacking or unusable, and the pro column definitely comes out ahead in this case. The book itself is such a useful skill enhancing guide, that even if you are not a fan of the Phoenix imaging software, there is still a world of developmentally helpful tutorials inside. So we definitely recommend More Than One Way to Skin a Cat to anyone looking to grow and hone their skills as a graphic artist.