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Introducing Character Animation with Blender Has Hit the Shelves

53

img_1717.jpgThis article was submitted by Tony Mullen

Hello Blenderers,

It's been quite a wait, but at last Introducing Character Animation with Blender has hit the shelves! As of today, Amazon.comis listing the book as available. They've also enabled the feature of letting you search inside the book online, so you can see what you're getting into before placing an order. Still more good news is that as I write this, they still seem to be offering a 34% discount.

I got my copies the day before yesterday and I have to say I'm very excited about the way they turned out. I'm very grateful to the whole team at Sybex who did such a terrific job putting this together.

For those of you who haven't seen my notices about this book in the past, Introducing Character Animation with Blender is an introductory/intermediate level book which provides an in-depth introduction to modeling and and animating characters in Blender. It's assumed that you know the basics of Blender, but it does start at the beginning, and motivated newbies should be able to get a lot out of it. I also include an analysis of some of the approaches taken in Elephants Dream, and some exclusive access to behind-the-scenes material from Plumiferos, all of which I think will be of interest to more advanced users. Even old pros should find some food for thought in the discussion of the amazing Feifi rig from Plumiferos.

The accompanying DVD is packed full of so much stuff I can't even mention it all: animations, Elephants Dream files, character rigs, open source software, scripts, and of course Blender itself. There's also a full color gallery of stills and renders in the book itself which showcases some of the best Blender artwork around.

img_1735.jpg img_1733.jpg img_1734.jpg

One thing I'm hoping is that with Sybex's promotional muscle behind it, this book could really provide a rise in Blender's visibility among people who do not yet know about it. I'm also very keen to get the book--and Blender--into the hands of young people who can't necessarily afford more expensive software, so I'd like to get the book into as many libraries as I can. The Blender community can help in this regard. Whether you order a copy for yourself or not, please consider requesting your local school or public libraries to order a copy or two. This will help a lot to get Blender more widely known and used!

Thanks very much to Bart here at BlenderNation for giving me the opportunity to let you all know about this, and thanks very much to everybody in the community who has been so incredibly encouraging and helpful. I really hope that the book turns out to be a useful addition to the available learning materials for Blender.

Happy Blendering!

Tony

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

53 Comments

  1. Went to order 1 and Amazon claimed only 1 left in stock. If their stock data is current, their first batch went pretty quick.

  2. Cool, I actually think I saw this at Barns and Noble a couple of days ago. They had three left, I was tempted to buy it, but only had 4 Dollars on me. :)

  3. mouse-destruction on

    Fast mover!

    Pre-order only for now..
    Just went to Amazon, and they list it as "not yet released" with a publisher date of February 27, 2007.

  4. Does anyone know how much of this book is 2.43 related? As in are any new features that are relevant been discussed/mentioned? Will all instructions make sense or require a bit of hunting because since writing the function has moved place/been made easier?

  5. Hi,

    The book ships with 2.42, but pretty much everything is relevant to 2.43 as well. I have not had a chance to look over every nook and cranny of 2.43 yet, but the major feature additions will not affect how you do most of the things described in the book. As far as I know, there is nothing like a moved subsurf button to confuse people. Remember, it's very easy to have both versions installed at the same time, which is what I'd recommend here. Personally, I always keep a previous version installed for a good long time, even after a new version has been released.

    Some of the new features of 2.43 are not covered in the book, obviously. Sculpt mode is mentioned, and I mention both the Python B-Brush script and SharpConstruct as examples of what it will probably be like. But there is obviously no description of how to use it specifically. Likewise, Action Modifiers are mentioned only in passing, in a "future features" discussion at the end of the book. Ton gave me the heads up about them literally hours before the chapter went to the copy editor. They are incredibly cool and will definitely warrant a place in any future edition of this book, but they didn't make it into this one.

    Finally, since the book is specifically about character creation and animation, I don't cover things like rendering, compositing, scripting, etc. in enough depth for the book to be affected by the new features in those areas. There are some great new developments there, but they are all outside the scope of this book anyway.

    So, the vast, vast majority of what you will find in this book remains 100 percent relevant to 2.43.

    That said, if people do find inconsistencies with the book and how things are done in 2.43, please email me at [email protected] so that I can make a note of those things on my amazon blog, and also for future reference. You'll definitely earn a place on the thank you list of future editions!

    Tony

  6. Tony,
    as the professor of 3d animation at U. of Oregon, I am looking forward to using this as the primary text for my Blender courses. The teaching resources online are interesting as well. I changed the program over from Maya last year and the only complaint from students has been the lack of a good recent text, and now here it is. Thanks.

  7. Chris,

    That's terrific news. There is some supplementary material available for instructors using this book from Sybex, (chapter quizes and some PowerPoint slides) so please have a look at that material also. By all means, I will be very interested to hear any feedback you or your students have.

  8. I just ordered it from amazon. I can't wait to get it. Looks like you put a lot of time and effort into. Glad to see more Blender books being published!

  9. I'm an academic purchaser so I received my copy yesterday.

    Honestly, I've had time to skim from cover to cover. But I really like what I see. Great book. Well written. Comfortable to read. Good examples to work from. Numerous pictures. A lot of great tips. The DVD has a great collection of shorts conveniently pulled together in one place. After watching the videos, even my Blender skeptics had to admit that Blender was worth a second look. Now I just need to find the budget to get a few copies for more my classroom.

    Great work Tony. Writing a book is very tough work. You've done a great service to the community.

  10. Vassilios Boucer on

    This Book Looks Amazing! ...and very Interesting!
    Ofcourse i buy this Book!!
    .....as a Blender Fanatic Infected User i have all Books and Stuff about Blender!
    Its a must to have this also!!Yeah
    bevor 2 Weeks i start with my first Blender Animation Project so i need this Book!!

    Thanks!

  11. i received today a note from amason, that my preorder was successfuly shiped via international mail, estimated arrival march 26th. wow!
    i have pre-ordered months ago, and they did not forget it, hehe :D
    cool, reading time! :)

  12. YES! My brother informed me that he ordered this book for me for my birthday.....that was in December! I was hoping yesterday that it had finally shipped....good to see that it has! I'm in the middle of an animation project and I was waiting to get the book before starting the actual animation process.

    Internet tutorials are great (and helped me get my first 2-3 animations out the door), but there's nothing like a well-written book to really help you out on any particular subject. Also, I can read it anywhere and anytime.

    I read up there (in the comments) that they are sold out - hopefully they sent me my copy before selling out!!!

  13. ALRIGHT!!! :D Well I placed my order. Finally I'll have my first piece of physical blender literature ever. Thankfully it's now actually worth buying a Blender book on animation, whereas before the animation system was a big mess. What a great deal!

  14. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon about a month ago. It's still looking like it's not yet available (still a shipping estimate of February 27th, and still listed as pre-order). However, I've been poking with Blender a lot in the interim, so hopefully by the time I receive it, things will just make sense because I won't need to "ramp up" on interface basics.

    Do you cover soft- and rigid-body physics? That's an area where I'm still unclear about Blender's capabilities. Since I'm new to 3D animation, it's a bit confusing to try to figure out what specific feature I'm looking for, as each 3D animation tool seems to refer to features differently.

    Thanks.

    -- Keith

  15. Hi,

    Thanks for the comments. The book does cover softbodies insofar as they relate to character modeling/animation. Nothing about rigid body physics though.

    T

    Ps. The book's officially a best seller! It is currently #16 on Amazon.com's Computers and Internet top sellers. This morning I saw that it had reached #11 on that list. Not bad!

  16. I received my copy a few days ago and am enjoying it very much. I had pre-ordered it before Christmas through Chapters in Canada.

    My only complaint is that I am finding that the printing smudges very easily. I know that this sounds weird. My fingers aren't greasy or wet but I am getting smudging on some pages. Maybe my copy was just too fresh off the press! :-)

    I guess that I will have to wear the archival quality cotton gloves from now on.

    I am only a beginner blenderist but I find that I can follow/understand the exercises well enough... kudos to the author!

  17. I was going to order this book, but I didn't want to wait for it to come in!

    So i've just returned from a local B&N, and i'm reading it now.

    Thanks Tony! It looks great, and it gets the name of Blender out there!

  18. You'll never believe what I found at my house today when I returned home from work. A neighbor who works for the publishing company that did this book, dropped a free copy by my home! Very cool. I take it as a sign that I really *should* do that next project I've been planning in my mind, on paper and with friends for the last few months. It's one of those super huge projects you just aren't sure if you should take on or not...

    Anywhoo... I am sure this book will help and I can't wait to start thumbing through it. But I just have to ask, why do you have 3 copies *grin*.

  19. Hello Tony,

    just have ordered the book, please keep up the good work!
    Hope you're already writing another one ---> "Character Animation with Blender in Depth" ;)

  20. I just canceled my order of the book in Amazon !

    I had pre-ordered it in September and put it as priority delivery, the expected date for shipping was yesterday and the expected date for arrival was tomorrow.

    Today Amazon sent me a mail to confirm a change in these dates, adding a month and a half to them !!!!
    I got so pissed off I canceled the order, will see if I can find it somewhere else.

    Amazon is letting me down for the second time !

    -- Rui --

  21. I've also got an email telling me that the book will be shipped on March 30. The book now is marked as: "Availability: Usually ships within 4 to 6 weeks. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."

    I had similar experiences with Amazon so this means that, if I have good luck, I'll have my book by June. Is there another way of buy this book shipping it to Venezuela?

  22. I am not sure what's up with Amazon. I think that basically what seems to have happened is that the demand for this book is a bit larger than was initially anticipated (not entirely a bad thing) and Amazon has run out and is ordering another batch.

    In the meantime, I'd suggest people check other booksellers. Any bookstore that sells English books should be able to order you a copy, and there are other online bookstores too.

    Funny thing is that amazon.co.jp (the Japanese Amazon outlet) had the book delivered weeks ago. It was way ahead of everything. So you might try simply ordering from another Amazon. Europeans might try ordering from amazon.co.uk or amazon.fr. I don't know what other online sellers serve South America, but there must be some. Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about the delays. I hope you can get your copies soon, and thanks for your interest!

  23. Ordered from "John Wiley & Sons" and the order has already shipped, almost the same price as in Amazon, considering the priority shipping.

    -- Rui --

  24. Wooohoooo.

    I ordered my book three days back (amazon priority shipping) and it reached my home in Hyderabad, India today.

    I recently fractured my ankle and i have all the time to devour the book.

    Blender rocks. Blender is the soul.

  25. This is soooo cool! I've been hoping that a professional publisher would eventually get into the Blender. And to have one about character animation, an area I'm having a heckofa time with, is icing on the cake.

    Thank you, Tony and Sybex!

  26. technofranki on

    I ordered the book from Amazon.com first, but then got the mail saying it could take ages before they restock it. So I canceled my order and then ordered the book from Amazon.co.uk. It shipped yesterday and I'm looking forward to get it.

  27. @adam, I don't know. I haven't seen it in pdf myself (except for early chapter-by-chapter drafts for checking) so I presume that it hasn't been released as an ebook.

  28. I think this book must be very popular, I ordered it from kalahari.net (in south africa) and they told me the UK supplier was out of stock, I then ordered a copy from amazon.co.uk on 1 March and it was dispatched on the 9th to arrive next week. Yay! I can't wait!

  29. I can't help but say this... the super hero character used in 90% of the book is really ugly, which makes the book less fun to read. The last section that gives you a peek into the Plumiferos rigs is awesome, and worth looking at!

  30. Hello,
    I purchased this book through Amazon about 2 months ago, and have just recently cracked it open. It's a great book, but I have a problem - The included DVD was seriously damaged. It looks like it's half melted and was clipped at the edge of the book.

    Is there a downloadable version of the DVD anywhere? I just need the exercise files that go with the book. I guess I can deal with Amazon about this, but I'd rather not go through the hassle..

    Thanks,
    Nolan

  31. I had the same problem with the companion DVD. It was coated in the glue used to bind the book! I sent it back to Amazon and got a replacement copy only to find the same thing had happened!

    Thanks for the link Nolan, is this everything that was on the DVD relating to the articles? Is there anything else that I need to download?

    Thanks.

    Steve.

  32. GAAAHH!!!! Just found this fantastic book at Borders, but the DVD was glued into the spine. Even upon getting it out it is half covered in glue and actually has a chunk missing!!!

    Tried the link above but it does not work :(

    Desperate for the files - can Tony or anyone provide me a link? My email is deegan AT iinet D0T net D0T au. I am even happy to send the broken DVD and/or my receipt as proof that I have purchased it. What I do not want to do is take it back to the shop to find out that I have to wait 6 weeks for a replacement which may or may not have the same problems...

    Chris

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