3 new books: a first impression

Lucky me, I had three new Blender books arrive all at once (well two arrived last week while I was camping and one showed up yesterday πŸ˜› ). And no I haven’t finished reading them all yet, I’m good, but not that good.

I have what is probably an odd habit when I get new books, especially Blender books. After I have finished ooohing, ahhhing and hugging my new treasure (what? …. you don’t hug your Blender books? Sure you don’t πŸ˜› ), I do what I call a flip through.

I check out and read the front material, yes I actually read the front material. Never know what interesting stuff might be hidden in there. Then I read the table of contents to get an idea of how information (topics) is going to be broken down and what will be covered.

Then I flip through the book, stopping at random pages that capture my attention. While flipping through I take a good look at how the information is layed out. (Left over habit from working in printing for so long). Then I check out any resources (project files) that might have come with the book.

So having done my “flip through” on all my new books, I thought I’d share a few first impressions I have on them.

First up is Virgilio Vasconcelos book, Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook.

Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook is part of Packt Publishing’s Cookbook Series. I like the way the Cookbook series is formated. Each section (tutorial) starts with and introduction giving a short summary of what will be learned. Then there is a tutorial on the topic, with clearly numbered steps followed by a “How it works” section that explains what you just did and why. Very nice format not only for learning but future reference.

Virgilio’s book contains 50, yes 50 tutorials. Now that is impressive right off the bat. Looking through the table of contents, you can see that the first half of the book (chapters 1-5) cover building rigs for various sections of the body. The last half is spent showing you how to use the rigs you just created to produce life like animations.

There is obviously a lot of information covered in this book on a rather difficult topic. Okay a difficult topic for me πŸ˜› , so I am going to have to read carefully and make sure I give myself time to properly assimilate the information.

Next up I have Blender 2.5 HOTSHOT by John E. HerreΓ±o.

Now this book just looks fun. It has a variety of fun and interesting projects to do while learning important Blender concepts and tools. There are 8 projects included in the book as well as two bonus projects that you download as pdfs (the links are listed in the table of contents).

  • Project 9, Render a Kitchen, is a 32 page pdf and at a qucik glance looks to be quite thorough.
  • Project 10, Model a Basic Humanoid, a 28 page tutorial, covers how to create a basic humanoid that can then be further refined as desired.

The layout on Blender 2.5 HOTSHOT, is rather fun itself. Each chapter is presented as a Mission, with sections headings that follow that theme, such Mission Briefing, Prepare for Liftoff, etc. And of course each chapter ends with a Objective Complete – Mini Debriefing that explains how and what you just did.

And finally I have Jonathan Williamson’s Character Development in Blender 2.5.

This one arrived just yesterday, and when I opened the package, my very first thought was “OMG, it’s HUGE”. It weighs in at just under 500 pages of Jonathan’s experience in character modeling. Jonathan shows you how to model a female character based on concept art from the talented David Revoy.

The book is split into five sections.

  1. covers an introduction to Blender and how it works
  2. covers modeling features such as modeling tools, modifiers and sculpting
  3. starts modeling the character
  4. lighting, materials and rendering
  5. preparing the character for complete texturing

At the end of the book, in the resource section, Jonathan points you to various websites where you can find more information and help if needed as well as a nice bonus. He included video tutorials on the dvd that explains some concepts in further detail.

So there are my first impressions, such as they are and now I need to find a 3 sided coin to help me choose which one to read first. πŸ™‚

But knowing me, I will most likely read them all at the same time.

bye now.

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