Yesterday was my first visit to one of the KelbyLive seminars and with a single exception it was superb. I credit the Kelby team for keeping to the timeline, staying on track and delivering exactly what they committed to deliver. Some felt that they did not get what they expected, however, rereading the ad after the fact, Mr. Cross in fact delivered the goods. He was interesting, his topics useful and he kept the day upbeat. He took time to credit Adobe for great things and to knife them frequently for awkwardly named items and buttons and regularly chastised them for their intent to make features "discoverable". I am no Photoshop expert, but I would not use the adjective "discoverable" either, finding "obtuse" and "concealed" far more accurate. Those bits aside, it was reinforced that the product I have been a licensee of for years has much more depth than I have ever encountered. As Mr. Cross pointed out, if one is self-taught on something new, one has an idiot for a teacher. The number of topics covered was rich without being numbing and they weren't dumbed down to stuff quantity over quality.
Mr. Cross is both a consummate teacher and presenter. The two don't always go together and the combination allows Mr. Cross to bond with his audience quickly. There was always a lineup to ask questions on the breaks and to his credit, Mr. Cross answered clearly without rambling and was very clear when he did not know something, which to my observation only occurred when questions were raised about topics he forewarned he knew nothing about.
The audience was more heavily populated with design professionals over photographers in my observation. Since I am a photographer with an acknowledged lack of design training, this concerned me at first but every topic was consumable by me, and only one, that of "Type" was not completely new. I suspect that this was not consistent for all attendees, but feedback on the escalators heading out was unanimously positive.
The venue was a large room, but was still oversubscribed, with good temps, lighting and audio. One guest complained to me that she could not hear Mr. Cross, but that was due to a severe case of "repeat what Dave said" or yell "yes" Turrets syndrome infecting the person sitting beside her. Duct tape should be available to silence those who cannot shut up.
My only complaint is around the venue. Kelby could have let everyone know which building of the Convention Centre the session was being held in. This would have simplified entry and egress for those attendees who could not take public transit to attend. In fact, as much as I enjoyed the session, I'm not sure I would attend another one if held at the Toronto Convention Centre. Toronto roads are consistently plugged solid with traffic, road repair, illegal parking, horrible drivers, delivery trucks and the like. My drive to the centre is 45 kilometres one way but it took 2 hours to get there in the morning and over 2.5 hours to get home at night. I would also recommend starting at 0930 instead of 1000 and ending at 1630 instead of 1700 to ease some of the traffic pain.
Should you have opportunity to attend a KelbyLive session, I would heartily recommend it even given my limited sample. Do be aware of any challenges to get to the venue and be very planful in that regard. I suspect that they choose venues close to public transit but for out of towners, driving into a city core can be a major dampener on the day.