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New Book: Blender Studio Projects: Digital Movie-Making


Tony Mullen and Claudio "Malefico" Andaur are working on a new Blender book, aimed at using Blender in a professional workflow.

Tony writes:

I thought your readers would be interested to know about the new Sybex book, "Blender Studio Projects: Digital Movie-Making", co-written by myself and Claudio "Malefico" Andaur of Licuadora Studios and Plumiferos fame.

This book is the third in Sybex's "Studio Projects" book series. The first two in the series were Maya Studio Projects books, so we're very pleased to have extended the series to Blender as well. The focus of these books is on actual studio use of the software, so it was a perfect opportunity to collaborate with Claudio and the others at Licuadora Studios in Buenos Aires, one of the world's premier Blender-based CG studios.

The book itself uses Licuadora's currently in-production Mercator project as the jumping off point for a collection of intermediate-to-advanced tutorials and techniques organized around the complete CG movie-making pipeline, from pre-production to rendering. The focus is on Blender's various roles in the process, but other open source software is also discussed as it's relevant. In short, this book gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into how a working professional CG studio uses Blender in its pipeline and to learn tricks and tips from the pros. I can say that I myself learned a lot from working with Licuadora on this project, so I'm sure that many Blender users will find plenty here of interest.

Since Mercator uses a branch of the 2.49 Blender version, most of the examples also are shown with 2.49, although there's some discussion about 2.5, how it differs, and the issues and considerations that go into upgrading during a serious project. Because it's not oriented to beginners, it's not really a "2.49 book". You really should already know where the buttons are in whatever version you're using in order to get the most out of this book. Most of the techniques discussed will be equally useful when you adapt them to 2.5+. The accompanying DVD includes Blender 2.49, Blender 2.5 Alpha 1, and Licuadora's own special in-house branch of Blender, LicuaBlender, in addition to the entire relevant portion of the Mercator production tree and other files to accompany the book's tutorials and examples.

The book is already available for pre-order at Amazon but please note that at the moment the title and author info on the book's Amazon page is incorrect and the description is temporary. If folks have any questions, they should ask right here.

(The actual final cover, as opposed to the temporary one on the Amazon page, I've included here.)



About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
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.


  1. Great to see another Tony Mullen high-level book helpful for production. Having seen the quality of some images during my short visit at Licuadora in Buenos Aires , i can only recommend to buy the book. I already pre-ordered mine.

  2. I kind of feel that a book like this should wait for 2.5, and the content should be concentrated on it alone. Simply because once it's out, no one would ever want to look back at 2.49, and that's gonna happen relatively soon.

    But thats just my opinion.
    I'm happy to see a book like this coming out.

  3. Fantastic!

    I have both Mastering Blender and Introducing Character Animation. Both books are great. Tony Mullen is definitely a great person to have working on this. I came across the pre-order Amazon page for this a while back, and was thinking "oh yeah!".

  4. But I believe they are using 2.49 in production. An entire studio won't change over to a software that's still in Alpha and certainly not for a book.

    I will however still buy this book, this is exactly what I've been looking for and look forward to reading it.

  5. Great to see!

    Freemind: This isn't a beginner's book, and I presume it will be more about technique and workflow, rather than just where things are and what buttons to press. If so, the skills and ideas inside should easily transition to 2.5.

  6. Nice and tasty! It looks a bit like Roland Hess' "Animating With Blender: How to create shortfilms...", wich was focused on the workflow for making films (shortfilms). I'll buy this one for sure!

  7. Thanks, Bart!

    I forgot to mention that Ivan Hoffmann, also from Licuadora Studio, was the Technical Editor for this book. The whole studio was very helpful, but he had an especially hands-on role in helping out.

    I also probably shouldn't forget to say that the book is in full color. I think it's really going to look nice.


  8. talentlessHack on

    I will buy any 3D graphics book that lists Tony Mullen as an author. I have three now, and my only complaint is that the Sybex binding isn't up to the kind of heavy use they get; my copy of ICAWB looks like it's been through a war zone.

  9. It's great to see a book that is stepping away from the specific details of the program to how the program is used within a professional production pipeline. I can't wait!

    I'm with talentlessHack, Tony's name on a book is an easy sell to me AND the bindings don't hold up under heavy use. That's a good problem to have ;-)

  10. Stunning. Awesome. :) Looking forward to this title, Tony. You're "Mastering Blender' was a good book (haven't read it all, yet... got stuck in the coding section)

  11. The thought of talentlessHack's worn-out war-zone copy of ICAWB warms my heart. I'm glad people are getting use out of these things!

    I can't say I disagree about the bindings. The worst of them seems to be Bounce, Tumble and Splash, which seems quite stiff, maybe partly due to the book's size. The good news is that I've seen the Maya Studio Projects books and the binding seems pretty soft and pliable on them. So hopefully this one will hold up nicely.

    I'm not sure who makes decisions about things like that or what the options are, but maybe I'll bring it up with the publisher and see if there are any possibilities to do things differently in the future. Each book is a little different.

    By the way, I should have linked to the project before, but I didn't think of it. Regular readers of BlenderNation probably know all about Licuadora and Mercator already, but for those who don't, please check out these links to learn more:

    And here's Claudio's blog, which has a lot of great stuff:

  12. I second 'Freemind'. Of course everyone should be delighted at such a book, which reveals insights into the use of Blender in commercial projects. But....Blender 2.5 is looming, ready to nuke 2.49 related work-flow and documentation into oblivion ("Are you still using the old Blender? Our studio is using the new advanced Blender version with tool-bar."). I think the book will definitely sell, but some users like myself will probably wait until the authors have released a complete revised 2.5 edition.

  13. Johan, I'm afraid there will be no revised 2.5 edition of this particular book because it focuses on a specific project in an actual studio, which uses 2.49, and therefore things like screenshots and actual .blend files will be compatible with 2.49, not 2.5. There will of course be other books (and certainly all books I work on from here on out will focus on 2.5) but there won't be any redux of this one.

    If what you're looking for is an introduction that tells you where things are and how the basic functionality works, then this is not the book you want to start with (regardless of version). This book is really for people who, dare I say it, sort of don't really care what the version is.

    There definitely will be plenty of books coming that are specifically geared to 2.5 though. I'm already in the planning stages of the 2nd edition of Introducing Character Animation with Blender, which will be re-written entirely for 2.5+. Since that book is geared to beginners it's very important that it be totally accurate to the correct version. But this need for accuracy also means that I won't be doing the actual writing until after a complete, stable version of 2.5 (or 2.6 as the case may be) is released. Given the months involved in writing and publishing books and the fact that 2.5 is still a ways from a stable release, I don't advise anybody to hold their breath waiting for these books to appear.

    Of course, when they do appear, there will be still newer and more exciting versions of Blender waiting right around the corner...

  14. So, 'they' learn how to use an old blender in a serious environment... I hope the book is written to last longer than a sec after the first pre-order was made...


  15. tony have you ever considered writing an O'Reilly headfirst book for blender. I really like the headfirst style.

  16. @chandler, nope, never considered it. To be honest, i've been kind of busy enough with the books I've been writing for Sybex. Somebody else might want to take a stab at it though!

  17. I look forward to the book and hope it has more focus on process than software. Love Blender, but since it's going through a big change I don't want learn things limited to an outdated version.

    I'm considering pre-ordering, but have so much pre-orders that are still pending, I'm a bit concerned.

    Two quick questions.

    1) Does anyone have a release date?
    2) Will it be available in E-book and if so, when?

    Tony, your Intro to Character Animation was great. Looking forward to the 2.5 version.

  18. @Bastion, regarding versions, outdatedness, etc, please see the discussion above. But yes, the gist of it is that this book focuses more on process than software. That said, anybody with an allergy to anything related to 2.49 should steer clear of this one.

    The release date posted on Amazon is May 10, and things are on schedule so I expect it to be around then or perhaps slightly before. As for being available in e-book form, I don't know. I know that ICAWB was released as an e-book but to my knowledge Mastering Blender was not. So, no clue on that one.

  19. Just recently finished Mastering Blender. Absolutely loved it. The only drawback was the B/W and having to flip to the center to see color photos. Great to hear this one will be full color!

    PS - Glad to hear you are holding off on the next Character Animation book. I pre-ordered it last summer, but whenever it arrives it will have been worth the wait to have a fully-up-to-date book. Blender 2.49 is making me sneeze! ;-)

  20. avoid books talking about blender animation productions when the author himself is not able to reach the standard quality of industry.

  21. TonyM: I don't get your 'allergy'-remark, but then again it wasn't said to me. However
    I guess you kinda promised the Blender 2.5-user will find your book as much of usefulness than 2.49-users. I guess it's more being afraid of screenshots of another an animal than the one your riding... or one has the allergy for both? ;)


    I must have misinterpreted the articles; "The first two in the series were Maya Studio Projects book... ...and now using Blender", since you say about this book "focuses more on process than software", sorry can't match (A*B)==(B)...

  22. @nobody and anybody else who's not sure about this one, generally speaking, probably the best thing to do when deciding to buy a book you're not sure about is to wait until it comes out, go to a book store, and thumb through it. Then if you want it you can buy it and if you don't you can skip it.

    If you don't have a bookstore nearby, then I'm afraid there's never a 100 percent certain solution. In that case, I'd suggest you wait until some reviews have been posted and try to use your best judgment.

    As for process vs software, let's put it this way. Most moderately experienced Blender users know that all of the important functionality in 2.49 is also planned to be in 2.5. That means that anything you can do in 2.49 is also possible to do in 2.5, once you know where the button has been moved to. This book focuses on how to accomplish certain things with Blender, but does not focus heavily on the location of the buttons. To the extent that it does, the examples are mostly in 2.49 (with some 2.5 material discussed as well). I can say myself that I have already begun using the techniques I picked up from Licuadora in 2.5. If you know Blender, it's pretty trivial to adapt techniques from one version to the next. There are websites up already telling you where the buttons have gone for 2.5.

    If this doesn't make sense to you, then you should wait until introductory 2.5 materials are widely available and skip this book.

  23. FWIW, I would prefer process over software for a topic like this. There are many other outlets to learn where everything is in 2.49 or 2.5. This seems like a more advance book, which is what I'm looking for.

  24. @TonyM: I wish you hath said more in less words and skipped the obvious but then what would you have said in retrospective?.
    However I guess one of its goals displayed at the back of the book is: "Digital Movie-Making without use of blender-python in Blender" and concluding from your former reply; To new-users "Be prepared to migrate after this" all old-users have...


    Here's where I stop Tony...

  25. @TonyM- I see. I think you should state the following about the book up front: Can easily be adapted by Blender users for 2.5, but can't be adapted to 2.5 by the authors because of time constraints, version issues and studio workflow . When you say that the buttons etc. can easily be found in 2.5 it becomes confusing because now people (like me) don't understand why the authors release a 2.49 book if it's that easy to find the functions/buttons in 2.5.

  26. Gracias por seguir apoyando a quienes queremos aprender Blender!
    Por favor, traten de conseguir que los editores traduzcan sus libros al español. "Diseño de personajes con Blender" de Tony Mullen es el UNICO libro de Blender traducido español que se ha editado.

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