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Review: Roland Hess - Blender Production


Terry Wallwork reviews Roland Hess's new book "Blender Production - Creating Short Animations From Start To Finish".

Terry Wallwork writes:

I was recently sent Roland Hess's new Blender book "Blender Production - Creating Short Animations From Start To Finish". As the book title would suggest it documents the processes involved in using Blender to produce short animated projects.

Having read Roland's other books and having been generally impressed with their quality, I looked forward to reading this one.

Product Specifications:

Name : Blender Productions - Creating Short Animations From Start To Finish

Author : Roland Hess

Price : £27.99 (on 15th Aug 2012)

Pages : 320

Format : EBook/Book

After you have been using Blender for a while and you know your way around Blender's major features, there can come a point when you want to stretch your 3D muscles and make an animated project. Though wanting to make an animated project and being able to actually do it, are different things. Taking the leap from being good with Blender and then using that knowledge to make an animated project is not as easy, or at the very least is made much harder if you don't know some of the correct steps involved in doing so.

Roland tries to bridge the gap by taking you slowly and surely through all the steps needed to make your animated project creation as stress free as possible.

On receiving the book the first thing I noticed was that both the EBook and printed version of this book are very well produced, pictures are in color and the printed book is printed on very good quality paper. So you won't have any issues with looking at the pictures in the book or reading the text.

Know that this book assumes that you do know your way around Blender. It has practical sections on using certain features of Blender that will be needed for productions, but it is not aimed at people who are beginning Blender users, and Roland says so in the introductory part of the book. So it would be best to first get to grips with Blender's features before you try and attempt to implement the ideas described in this books text.

Assuming you are proficient enough with the use of Blender, you should be able to follow this books advice with no problems, everything is very clearly written and there a many clear and easy to interpret pictures.

In the very first chapters Roland has a brief overview of the different stages involved in animated production and introduces the meanings of various terminology, as well as going over why it is important to carry out the steps described in the order laid out in the text when producing an animated project.

After the introductory chapters, the later chapters go into finer detail on each individual step in the production pipeline, from how to create your story in script form, all the way to a final production render and end credits.

As an added bonus Roland even takes the time to describe some of Blender's simulation features and how they can be used in your animated projects. While simulations can cover entire books of their own, Roland give enough information on how to use them in efficient ways to make them more manageable in larger projects. So even if your have average computer systems you should be able to use simulations in limited ways.

Roland uses one of the projects he created as a reference throughout the entire book to go over all the important topics. This helps as he is able to point to practical results when explaining certain topics and features.

This book covers all the things required to make a small or medium sized animated project in Blender from start to finish, in very clear and easy to understand ways.

If you are interested in making your own Blender animated projects, then this book will be very useful and since it covers the newest version of Blender it is more up to date than other books which cover similar topics.

One to definitely add to your Blender book collection.

Review Score 90%



      • ...unless of course the Kindle version is close to how much it would cost you to buy the dead tree version of the book (yay for shipping), in which case it's a toss-up between how long you want to wait before you can read it. :)

        I'm not much for Mr Hess's artistic abilities but honestly i was more interested in production workflow for things like linking, asset management and so on. As a book to get you organised to make an animated short with a Blender-specific workflow, this will do nicely. :)

  1. I was not to impressed with it. However it is as good as his earlier book. The reason I say this is because 90% of it is cut and paste from this earlier edition with updated pictures.

  2. Not sure I can understand why the e-book costs more than the physical copy. Guess Focal Press hasn't figured out this no-physical-materials-and-shipping-reduces-costs thing yet. Too bad, otherwise I'd have bought it by now.

    • printing only account for 15% of a books total cost. Publishers also get discounts for larger print runs, so if they print 10 000 copies they can get a 30% discount say and charge a lower price. But if they sell 5000 ebooks and then 5000 print books, they only get an average of say 20% discount. (savings on the ebook's printing/shipping but nailed by a more expensive print run.) So until they can up the number of sales on ebooks to justify fewer physical prints, they're pretty much making a loss on them.

  3. I have made a few 1-2 minute shorts with blender before. I'm not sure I ever went the 'correct' way about a few things though, especially linked libraries and proxies and such. Does the book cover that?

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