Book Review: Character Development in Blender 2.5

Character Development in Blender 2.5

  • written by Jonathan Williamson
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Course Technology PTR; 1 edition (June 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435456254
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435456259
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 1.5 inches

I love character modeling and I always have, but with a few exceptions here and there, I have mostly modeled cute little animal characters and avoided humans like the plague. Why? because they are darn difficult to get right. And it is so obvious when you get them wrong.

So I was pretty excited when I heard that Jonathan Williamson had written a book on character modeling. First off I was excited because I have been watching Jonathan’s tutorials for some time and I enjoy the way he teaches. Second because I happen to know that not only is he a great character modeler, but he puts a big focus on topology. Which is something that I seriously need to practice and get better at. And third, the character is based on concept art by David Revoy, my favorite concept artist ever.

All of which means I started with some pretty high expectations. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Something which probably made Jonathan more than a little nervous when it went on sale.

When it finally arrived in the mail, (yes I got my copy from the blendercookie website so I could have it signed), my first reaction was “OMG! it’s HUGE!!!”, Second reaction, this is going to take forever for me to get through. I didn’t expect it to be quite so big of a book, but once I started flipping through it, I quickly realized that there was a reason it was so big. There is a lot to creating a detailed character. Far more than creating my little animal guys.

Once I got past the Blender tour sections and into the actual modeling of the character, (she really needs a name by the way, seems so rude to just keep calling her “that character”) I started to realize that this was far easier than I expected it to be. Somehow it never dawned on me to start a character model by blocking in basic shapes and form. Yeah should have been a no-brainer, which is exactly why I needed to read a book like this.

Okay so I have to confess that I am still working my way through the book. I know, I am beyond slow, especially when I have to follow directions. I have finished blocking in everything and next up is sculpting. But even though I haven’t gotten all the way through the book yet, I can say with certainty that this is a great book and based on what I have learned so far, well worth it. I have already learned so much that will help me on future projects and there is still quite a bit of book to go. So of course more learning for me.

Surprisingly enough, even though I am really bad at following instructions, I pleased to announce that my model looks quite a bit like Jonathan’s at this stage. Which is quite a testament to his teaching ability.

I am very impressed with how well Jonathan’s teaching style shows through in a written format. The only thing I miss from his video tutorials is the occasional boo-boos that he leaves in to show how to fix them when and if they come up.

So there you have it, in my opinion Jonathan’s new book, Character Development in Blender 2.5 is a must read for anyone wanting to improve their character models and general modeling skills.

Okay then, I need to get back to my model.

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