- Paperback: 496 pages
- Publisher: Course Technology PTR; 1 edition (June 17, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1435456254
- ISBN-13: 978-1435456259
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
This is my first post coming back from vacation. I have been gone for a month visiting my mother that I had not seen for over 20 years. It was sad leaving her after an extended visit but I was pleased when I arrived home to find my pre-order of Johnathan’s new book waiting for me. I hugged my family, unpacked, distributed gifts to the grandkids, and then tore open my long awaited packaged from Amazon.
At first glance the book was much larger than I personally expected. It contained a DVD as well and everything arrived in good condition. When getting ready to study a new educational book I usually start by previewing the table of contents and then reading the first 2-3 paragraphs of every chapter before settling down to read the whole book, which in this case is exactly what I did. I was able to preview the book in one setting and then started to read the whole book the next day. It took me two days to speed read the book and I settled down to write this review. To date I have not followed the examples in Blender but I am very confident that over the next month or two I will be able to handle that quite easily.
The book, cover to cover, is over 470 pages and appeared to be very detailed. It is broken into 5 sections, contains 16 chapters, and includes a very extensive index (of which I was well pleased). The included sections are
- Making your way around Blender 2.5
- Getting comfortable with meshes
- Modeling the character
- Lighting and rendering the character and adding materials
- UV mapping and normal mapping
- Also included was a DVD that contained source files for chapters 8 -16 (which were for the actual character modeling), video tutorials, and Blender software for 2.57b releases for linux, windows, and OSX.
I was struck by two things doing a quick look.
As I predicted in my pre-release review some time ago Johnathan rarely leaves anything to chance and never assumes the reader knows everything necessary to follow along. If I were a first time user of Blender and for that fact new to CGI software of any kind I would be able to follow along. The book starts with basics and ends with a fully developed character ready for rigging if I wanted. The actual modeling of the character starts with chapter 8 at page 99 with the preceding pages devoted to Blender basics and preparing the work-space for modeling.
The meat of the instruction is found in the book and not the DVD. There is included 6 video tutorials ranging from approximately 10 to 30 min each. These include Box modeling, sculpting, retopologizing, normal map baking, GLSL shading, and posing with rigify. I was VERY pleased with this. The instruction is meant to be a book and not through videos. This format lends me to read and do and not watch and think I know how to do. I may be old fashion but I do believe our culture has been influenced by the “You Tube” phenomena and has abandoned study by reading.
Although half the chapters are spent in reviewing basics and setting up the work flow for the modeling this only takes up about 20% of the book with the rest devoted to modeling. I did not skip over these parts and found by reading these chapters I was able to reinforce my knowledge and was reminded by things I had either forgotten or didn’t know. I found this refreshing since I firmly believe that any beginner as well as intermediate to advanced user will be able to follow easily.
Every step in modeling was tackled in detail and methodically set forth. I could not find any step that was skipped over or brushed off. Every instruction was clear, detailed, and followed by illustrations. I was impressed on how easy it was to follow the progress in developing the character. Every chapter was well laid out with a beginning, body, and even contained a summary paragraph or two. The writing style was very clear and well laid out.
The illustrations did however present a small problem for me. Although they were comprehensive and timely they were printed dark and some were very hard to read. I should add that the pictures were not unreadable but rather they were printed dark and hopefully if the book gets a reprint the publisher would take greater care in cleaning this up.
I am glad that I pre-ordered this book and was not disappointed in the least. I would find that this release would be advised for the novice to intermediate user without hesitation. The problem with the illustrations being printed too dark is small since they are still readable. For those that did not get in the pre-order should buck up in my estimation and shell out for this release.
I recommend this for anyone that is serious about Blender and wanting to improve their skill sets.