Should I read a book? What skills are important for me?

I’m already somewhat familiar with the Blender interface, and I’m in the process of doing tons of tutorials to learn a couple of tricks.

I’m learning Blender to produce high quality fantasy pictures and maybe very short videos in the future. The images will decorate a website or two. I anticipate the need of modelling, texturing, composing characters (not only humans), a few monsters (yea, the good ol’ mountain trolls you guys are probably eager to see :wink: ), but mainly weapons, everyday gadgets (ink pots, magical furnitures, chairs, houses, bags, jewelry, etc.), and finally, some detailed wide landscapes.

It is important to me to understand what I’m doing and not just point and click. However, I realized it is unseen among amateurs to read basic books about CGI or 3D in general. Is it unnecessary? What books could I benefit from that are not related to Blender?

In general, what skills do you guys recommend for me? Thank you for your time.

I wouldn’t really say the books are necessary.

A few tutorials and a lot of dedication can get you a long way :wink:

books are not bad since some books cover the process and concepts.
In particular for animation this can be very valuable.

Tutorials are great for technical skill build up, but they never really teach
you much about concept, besides those few which focus on that.

The problem is that there are not many good books to be honest.

What I would advise you is just learn through creating work and maturing you
skills and perception this way.

You do not learn by following steps, but by creating work, receiving feedback,
and applying the suggested improvements.

Being submerged in a CG community is the best way to learn.

This book is basic - but universal. It is a good read. In particular after reading
watch animation movies and analyse what they did with the gained knowledge.

This book is also basic but quite universal.

But after all all 3d CG wizard skills do not help, when you have nothing to say.

The story, the meaning, the justification of your creation is internally more important than any
technical finess.

You can tell a great story with limited technical skills and it will work.
But no technical skill will make up for the lack of story.

Just use Blender a lot. Sooner or later it will all start to click, the wiki will make sense, as will tutorials. I suggest a small project with specific goals, like learning texturing, sculpting, compo, etc. It will be a PITA guaranteed, but ask questions in the support section and keep plugging along.

Thank you guys! I admit I foresaw this kind of responses. :slight_smile:

cekuhnen, I’m studying this stuff to tell a story. Even 2D traditional art would suffice too for the graphics, but I found modelling and texturing to be a lot more technical. Fits my geeky approaches, I’m not much of an artist in its common sense. Can it be a huge disadvantage?

jay, you’re suggesting one can get along without theory. Does that make the experience a PITA?

In my experience, you can read about it all day long, but you won’t understand most of it until you are a bit comfortable with the program, at which point it all clicks, even new tools and ideas. I would check out the Blender Foundation DVDs as well as Blendercookie.

Very helpful, thank you. I checked out your videos and arts, nice work! :slight_smile:

Thanks, actually the character in my vimeo page is my own little project to learn Blender- I set up goals and what I wanted to learn, then just went through and made him, and bugged a lot of people along the way! Looking back at the file its a total train wreck but it served it’s purpose :slight_smile: Opening Blender these days is no longer anxiety-inducing haha. Good luck and keep at it!

For what it’s worth, I read books constantly. (There is no TV set in our house; and there hasn’t been one for twenty years.) I find that books on CG (whether or not they are specific about “Blender”) are very useful indeed.

I also keep a journal anytime I am learning anything. I use a thin 3-ring binder, notebook paper pages, and a number-two pencil. The eraser isn’t used. When I cross something out, I do so neatly. The binder lets you insert pages and move them around. This technique, for one thing, compels you to slow down. The game is that you stop, identify what the problem is or the question is (or what the great discovery is!) and write it down in longhand. Once you have done that, you know that you have “captured” it, so you can now “let it go.” Put it out of your mind. Move on to other things.

It is a very good strategy to always plan ahead. Figure out what you are going to try to do, then write down how you intend to do it, step by step, and if you don’t know this-or-that, write that down too. It’s rather hard to describe how helpful this approach can be, versus just fluttering around from one brain-:spin: to the next, until you try it.

I would say reading general art books would benefit you just as much as reading books on 3d.

All the 3d skills in the world wont compensate for a lack of artistic know how.