Blender book

hi, I was thinking on getting a book on 3D modelling. I’m tempted to get “Introducing Character Animation with Blender”, but wanted to get some feedback on it, if it were possible.

I feel I already know my way around Blender well enough, hence “The Essential Blender” doesn’t seem like a good idea. My main problem is that I’m still a mediocre modeler at best, and I’m trying to get a book that helps me with that(I also like the idea of helping the foundation a little). So, simple question, what can I expect from “Introducing Character Animation”? Does it help with modeling as well as animating? Is it a good read?

I’m the author so I’m hardly an impartial source, but if you haven’t already, you might want to have a look at the customer reviews on Amazon.

The book does cover modeling, materials, rigging, etc, as well as animation. And it’s also available in real-world bookstores, so you can stop in at your local Barnes and Noble and thumb through it to get an actual idea of what it’s like before you buy.

haha, we don’t have barnes & nobles in the third world. It would’ve been a good idea though, if applyable :slight_smile:

And I read the amazon reviews, basically that’s why I’m asking here, because even though the positive outnumber the negative ones, one in particular gave me the impression that modeling isn’t covered very much “in depth”.

Could you give me like an idea of what I should expect? like “before and after”?

Absolutely top notch book.
In fact, I was just cursing Bugman_2000 yesterday because of how tired my head was after spending all day yesterday working through more of the book.

The only thing I don’t like is that his next book isn’t scheduled to be out until next summer. He needs to change that signature to “Coming soon, but not soon enough”. I’d like to see him write a bunch more books and write them faster. :slight_smile:

As for whether it’s good for modeling - I really wasn’t interested in animation when I got the book, but the table of contents looked like the modeling would be helpful. The modeling sections were very good. Nice range of techniques and a deep enough project for you to learn and practice your skills. I worked the modeling and related sections when I got the book, read lightly through the rest without working that part in detail, and then set it aside for about a month while I did some other project work.

I picked the book up again last week to learn more about armatures. After letting the first reading sink in for a while my general skills are quite a bit stronger and I’m eager to bring up my animation related skills. Not to use them to animate, but to use them to streamline some stills work. I’ve actually got the rest of the week earmarked to set aside my usual work and instead continue working through to the end of the book.

I’m just totally impressed with the content and presentation of this book. It doesn’t gloss over things but it doesn’t wallow in details either. It teaches a skill, walks you through it a few times, and then a few pages later your are expected to be able to do those things without handholding. But the teaching is really good so that by the time you do get two pages further your skills are stronger and you are ready for the next new thing to challenge you further.

It’s worth getting and wearing out.

Lynda

one in particular gave me the impression that modeling isn’t covered very much “in depth”.
I don’t begrudge anybody their opinion, but I think the overall consensus of readers is pretty clear.

The mesh modeling chapter of the book is 60 pages long. It gives two complete tutorials on modeling, one of which uses poly by poly modeling to model a human head. The other uses box modeling to model the character you see in my avatar, which is a moderately complex superhero character. Every step of modeling the character is shown, and multiple mesh models at different stages of the creation are provided on the accompanying DVD to check your work. The modeling can be tricky in parts, but it’s all described. The chapter also lists common pitfalls and mistakes that beginners make when working with meshes. I guess it’s a matter of opinion whether this counts as in-depth.

Hope this is helpful.

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Thanks Lynda!

The only thing I don’t like is that his next book isn’t scheduled to be out until next summer.

I’m certainly hoping it can be out sooner than that. A lot depends on the release of Blender 2.50, which the book aims to cover. I’m trying to stay on top of development as I write the book now, but it won’t really be possible to finalize things until the official release is out. I hope that the release will be out by February and only some final brushing up will be needed on the book, so hopefully we’ll see the book on shelves in the spring.

Slightly off topic;

I’m just curious, why did you start with animation and not modeling anyway? :confused: And now you’re moving on to a more advanced topic it seems? :confused:

Just curious. :slight_smile:

Anyway, it would be cool if you wrote a book dedicated to modeling. :slight_smile:

I’m just curious, why did you start with animation and not modeling anyway? :confused: And now you’re moving on to a more advanced topic it seems? :confused:
Actually, ICAWB covers modeling for character design and animation, but not for other things. Also, it was written for beginners and intermediate users, so I think the modeling is sufficiently in-depth for those users. A sort of masterclass advanced book dedicated entirely to modeling would be pretty cool, though. That’s an interesting idea to think about. It is definitely true that a dedicated modeling book could go into much more depth than this one.

I wrote ICAWB basically because I was mainly interested in character work from start to finish, and wanted to see a book on that. The title may make it sound a little more limited to actual animation than it is. I’d say roughly half the book is devoted to setting up, modeling, texturing, rigging a character and the other roughly half is devoted to animating it. There is some stuff on lighting, rendering, sequencing, etc, but really just the basics. That’s not in-depth at all.

The next book will be on physical simulation, so fluids, soft bodies, rigid bodies, etc. I am writing that one because there is a lot of user interest in these areas and they have not been well enough documented yet, so I think the book will be useful to a lot of people.

YES, very helpful. I’ll be sure to get the book then.

And don’t get me wrong about the reviews, is just that the positive ones that I read mostly praised the book without much detail, while the negative ones criticized specific aspects of it. But definitely 60 pages seems like a lot of modeling, and I’m not aiming for anatomically correct humans.

so thanks again.

PS: one other thing that was mentioned, was that some of the DVD’s came damaged from the printer. I know that has nothing to do with you, but I wonder if the material is online somewhere, just in case.

Since ICAWB is about character animation, it covers organic modeling techniques: box modeling and poly-by-poly. You won’t find out how to model Lamborghinis, the USS Enterprise, or Transformer robots. If that’s what you’re interested in, I don’t think the book has been written yet.

Bugman’s book is a good read, fairly easy to follow (slower if you’re a beginner, but what else is new?) and covers basic organic modeling, rigging, and animation. [Disclaimer: I’ve bought the book, I’ve read it, I’ve got a version of Captain Blender in one of my threads.]

If your only interest is modeling, do a search on Captain Blender and see what others have done following the book. If you look at those models and say, “Pfff, I could do better than that blindfolded,” then maybe ICAWB is not your cup of tea. On the other hand, if those models look better than your models, buy the book.

so I think the book will be useful to a lot of people.

Like me! I put the book on my b-day list for pre-order, so I’m hoping my parents
pre-ordered it so I’ll be able to read this fantastic book (in color too! :D).
Physical simulation is something I love to do…

I see. :slight_smile:

A sort of masterclass advanced book dedicated entirely to modeling would be pretty cool, though. That’s an interesting idea to think about. It is definitely true that a dedicated modeling book could go into much more depth than this one.

Definitely! :smiley:

Wait, have you not thought about that yet?! :confused::eek::smiley:

I wrote ICAWB basically because I was mainly interested in character work from start to finish, and wanted to see a book on that. The title may make it sound a little more limited to actual animation than it is. I’d say roughly half the book is devoted to setting up, modeling, texturing, rigging a character and the other roughly half is devoted to animating it. There is some stuff on lighting, rendering, sequencing, etc, but really just the basics. That’s not in-depth at all.

The next book will be on physical simulation, so fluids, soft bodies, rigid bodies, etc. I am writing that one because there is a lot of user interest in these areas and they have not been well enough documented yet, so I think the book will be useful to a lot of people.

I see. (again. :P)

PS: one other thing that was mentioned, was that some of the DVD’s came damaged from the printer.
For the record, the individual who wrote the one star review did receive a new copy of the book from Sybex, but for some reason opted to leave his review as is, which is of course his prerogative.

There’s always a chance that the hard copy of the book could be defective if you order it through the mail. If it is, you just send it back and get a new one. In the meantime, I provided the DVD files to one other reader who asked, and since I have released them all as open content anyway, I may as well point you to them here now, to eliminate all worries that you might get a dud copy. They’ll also give you an even more detailed idea of what the book covers:

http://uploader.polorix.net//files/421/DVD%20Files.zip

There’s a thread in here also on problems with the Elephants Dream files on the DVD. Those are screwed up on all copies, and there’s nothing to be done about it except to download the Elephants Dream files elsewhere. More on that here:

http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=95225

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The files above are only the tutorial files. The DVD also contains a bunch of open source software to use alongside Blender and a collection of animations by users.

Wait, have you not thought about that yet?!

Heh heh… :RocknRoll:

Let’s just say there are a number of possibilities…

Would they be “yes” and “no”?:D:evilgrin:

Would they be “yes” and “no”?

Maybe. :wink:

I was hoping it was a 50/50 thing. :smiley:

Hey I’m a Blender newbie - bought the essential Blender to start and then went feck it and bought Tony’s book. If you’re serious about blender then buy the book. I don’t think its a case of reading the book page by page - you can skip chapters and come back to others at your will, which is handy. The thing is you learn tricks and aspects of the software that you wouldn’t imagine would be possible in Blender.

Again a great read, buy the book and support Blender for one. Buy the essential Blender too. They give detailed accounts on your modelling, materials and texture tricks but also lighting, compositing and editing ect. The whole works for a few Euro’s - I’m on board now - happy blendering

A question for Tony - Amazon are promoting your new book. Where do I buy it from, amazon or Blender.org??

A question for Tony - Amazon are promoting your new book. Where do I buy it from, amazon or Blender.org??

I don’t really know. Basically Ton decides on a case-by-case basis what he wants to stock in the Blender e-Shop based on how the costs work out. The book has to be imported to Europe from the USA regardless, so it’s an economic question of whether it makes sense for the e-Shop to stock it. At the moment I don’t know what the thinking is on this.

In general, buying stuff is from the e-Shop is a great way to support Blender, so I encourage it. And, by the way, if you haven’t already, you’ll definitely want to order a Peach DVD! The production files are going to be a goldmine.

I believe I was one of those providing a “negative” review of the book. However, let me clarify:
My criticism was not with the information provided, which is plentiful and very useful, but more with the way it was organised. I think the book would benefit from more editing and better organisation.
In spite of my criticisms, I would definitely recommend buying the book.
Until you do however, check out the BSOD Character animation tutorial which is highly regarded, starts from the beginning and covers modelling really well.