Category Archives: Animation

Book Review: Blender 3d Basics by Gordon C. Fisher

I recently received a e-copy of Blender 3d Basics from Packt Publishing and was asked to give it a read and tell everyone what I thought of it. I am going to look at three different aspects of Blender 3d Basics. Content, Formatting/Layout and my Overall Impression of the book. So, let’s get to it.

First a quick look at the description from Packt Publishing:

Blender is by far the most popular open source graphics program available. It is a full featured 3D modeling, animation and games development tool used by millions all over the world – and it’s free! This book is for those looking for an entry into the world of 3D modeling and animation regardless of prior experience.

Blender 3D Basics is the entry level book for those without prior experience using 3D tools. It caters for those who may have downloaded Blender in the past but were frustrated by its lack of intuitiveness. Using simple steps it builds, chapter by chapter, into a full foundation in 3D modeling and animation.

Using Blender 3D Basics the reader will model a maritime scene complete with boats and water, then add materials, lighting and animation. The book demystifies the Blender interface and explains what each tool does so that you will be left with a thorough understanding of 3D.

Formatting/Layout

Having worked in the print industry for many years, the first thing I always look at in a new book is the formatting/layout. For me this includes the visual appeal of the book, typos (or lack thereof), quality of images and how the information is actually organized and presented.

I looked at both pdf and mobi versions of the ebook, (there is also a epub available, but I didn’t look at it). Ebooks present a different challenge during formatting to get the same results as a printed version. I happy to say both the pdf and mobi versions looked good and didn’t suffer from any glaring formatting problems that interfere with the flow of reading. The text was crisp and easy to read, the images were clear and in color. The author states that the printed version does not have color images but provides a link to download the images in color for study and reference.

The information itself was broken into nice bite size chunks. First there was a short intro to the specific information being presented followed by very specific instructions on buttons to push and steps to take, then there was a clear explanation of what the author just had the reader do. At various points the author also issued challenges for independent study, practice and exploration.

There were a number of typos throughout the book. This is not necessarily a “deal breaker” for me. One because I understand that even with the most aggressive proofing, things are going to slip through. And secondly because the typos themselves were of the minor variety that were not distracting and did not break the flow of reading.

Content

This is always the fun part. Just what is going to be covered and how is it going to be covered. Blender 3d Basics is written for beginners to both Blender and 3d. The author gives a brief introduction to the history of 3d and animation and goes into getting familiar with Blender itself. Through a series of short exercises the author provides a framework for understanding how Blender works.

After getting familiar with Blender, the reader gets to the fun stuff. In this case modeling and animating not one, but two different boats. The second boat, a sloop, is then put into an ocean scene and animated. Throughout the sections on the boats, the author introduces basic modeling and animation techniques that provide a good foundation for future exploration of Blender.

Throughout the book, the author provides links to useful resources that give the reader further information and/or resources to either complete the lessons or provide better understanding of a concept. In the provided data pack download there are bonus chapters with more in depth coverage of a few more useful topics.

In addition to links to added resources, the author provides blend files for ever major step in the exercises so the reader can poke and prod to their heart’s content.

My Overall Impression

Overall I enjoyed Blender 3d Basics. While it was written with the beginner in mind, I found a number of useful tricks and techniques that I could use in my own projects, which is quite often the main reason I read Blender books and tutorials. The whole book shows a well thought out set of lessons that guide the beginner through opening Blender to creating a couple of  rather nice little animations.

Book Details

Language : English
Paperback : 468 pages [ 235mm x 191mm ]
Release Date : June 2012
ISBN : 1849516901
ISBN 13 : 9781849516907
Author(s) : Gordon C. Fisher
Topics and Technologies : All Books, Blender, Beginner’s Guides, Open Source, Web Graphics & Video


Blender 3D Basics by Gordon C. Fisher

I was recently sent a e-copy of Blender 3D Basics by Gordon C. Fisher  and asked to share my thoughts on it. Which I most certainly will do, just as soon as I finish reading it. I only received it today, I’m a fast reader, but you will need to give me a minute or two. 😛

Blender 3D Basics is available from Packt Publishing as well as Amazon Marketplace. You can purchase printed copies as well as ebook versions from both places.

I have always enjoyed the way Packt formats and structures their Blender books, so I am looking forward this latest offering.

All righty then, I am off to do some reading and I will report back later. 🙂


Animating a Character Picking Up an Object (on Blendercookie.com)

Blender Tutorials Downloads Videos & Education – Blender Cookie – Animating a Character Picking Up an Object.

HAH! I knew there was a trick to this. Just didn’t know how easy the trick was until I watched David’s tutorial tonight.

Now watch me forget this next time I actually need it. 😛

 


My result from following Patrick Boelens audio visualizer tutorial

Here several weeks ago, I watched Patrick’s fun little tutorial on building an audio visualizer with python. It looked like so much fun, that I had to try it for myself.

So with one hand on the pause button, I built my first audio visualizer. Then of course since I can’t ever just leave anything the way it is, I started um… well messing with it. 😛

First I just changed the grid size, then I changed the song. Then I got a bright idea to create an audio visualizer for my hubby for our anniversary. 🙂

Patrick’s tutorial was cool, but grids are just not fun or romantic, so I set about figuring out how to un-gridify it. I’m sure there is a python solution, but until Patrick makes a tutorial for it, it ain’t happening here.

So I played with various ideas:

  • hiding/deleting some of the cubes (that works, trust me I played with that option for quite a while)
  • adding loop cuts to each cube and deleting faces (that works too, but way too much work )
  • different colors for each cube

I ended up deleting cubes to create the heart shape (deletion is done after script is ran and you have your grid). And then I started playing with materials.

My final result is the combination of 3 separate sets of cubes:

  • one set to Halo
  • one set to wire
  • one set to solid, but very low alpha

Creating a kind of over the top, should have known when to stop glowy effect. 😛

All 3 sets of cubes were then put in a reflective box with a low gloss reflections and ran through the compositor (whoo did that part without a tutorial, aren’t you proud 😛 ) where I added a bit more glow. Not that it needed more glow, but well I did it anyhow.

Then I spent 3 days waiting for it to render. Sigh.

All said and done, it tickles me to no end and hubby liked it too. Score one for me! 🙂

So here is the kicker, I was a bad girl and used a copyrighted song that I love and therefore can’t upload the version I gave to hubby. But I encoded out a section of it without the music and uploaded it to youtube if you are curious to see my finished result.

It was done to the song, “Stuck Like Glue” by Sugarland, which you can find also on youtube   (you can do a search and try to sync up starting both videos at same time 😛 ) Or you can just watch the pretty light show.

bye now


Node Compositing Library available at AssistCG.com

I just saw at BlenderNation that AssistCG.com has created a Node Compositing Library. And even better, they are offering it as a free download, along with a pdf that explains how to use it. Very cool.

The library is composed of a nice selection of useful Node groups that can be appended into to your projects or even used as a study aide to poke at and explore.

This library presents node groups and files for color correction, rotoscoping, keying and other video compositing activities. Also there is a small set of effects which demonstrates work with library.

Node Compositing Library