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Book Reviews

Blender 3D Incredible Machines 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
terrywallwork writes "Things have been moving along lately on the Blender 3D book front; a friend of mine informed me that Allan Brito released a new book called Blender 3D 2.49 Incredible Machines. I had previously reviewed one of Allan Brito's other books Blender 3D — Architecture, Buildings and Scenery, which covered the Architectural Visualization side of using Blender 3D. This new book takes a very different approach to teaching the use of Blender 2.49. It does this by taking the reader through the modeling, texturing and lighting of 3 different objects, those objects being: a futuristic gun, a futuristic spaceship (steam-punk styled) and finally a robot. Read below for the rest of Terry's review.
Blender 2.49 3D Incredible Machines
author Allan Brito
pages 316
publisher Packt Publishing
rating 7
reviewer Terry Wallwork
ISBN 1847197469
summary Blender 3D book on the processes of studio model creation and display with various external renders.
The introduction in the book states that the reader requires no previous experience of Blender to make use of the book. However further on in the book it is said that the book is not a beginners book and that many things will not be described in detail as the reader is expected to know the basics of how to use Blender in terms of its interface and various buttons and keypresses. After having read the entire book I would say that a beginning Blender user would be able to understand most of the book as most of the time things such as key presses and the basics of how to use Blender are explained in a way a new user to Blender would be able to follow.

The book is organized so as to be read from cover to cover and slowly progress from easy tasks to harder tasks. If you have some intermediate experience with Blender then I think the progression is well graded and will help the reader to quickly progress through the book. If you are a complete beginner some sections of the text will get a little confusing at times but with a bit of re-reading they should be understandable.

One thing that I did notice right away was the awful grammar of the text. This is most likely because English is not Allan Brito native language. Sometimes the grammar issues get in the way of understanding what task he is trying to accomplish. This does not happen often but I did find myself re-reading paragraphs to get his meaning. Now it is important to point out that I am not blaming Mr Brito for the grammar issue, the editors of the book however should have a serious talking to.

I bought the ebook version and that is what I am using to base this review on, this caused me a slight problem because the ebook mentioned some resources and graphics that were available to download from the Packt site, however on going to site the resources are not available for download (yet). As luck would have it though the EBook PDF file had good screen shots and so I was able to copy the resources directly from my PDF reader. Hopefully the site will be updated to have the resources available from the book.
I am also pleased that packt publishing has removed password protection and you can copy and select parts out of the ebook. They do however plaster your address on every page border which is irksome and if i was a pirate I could remove it easily but still they are heading in the right direction.

The book tries to present the production of the various objects in a way that is similar to how it would be done in a real production studio. While this may help give a glimpse to Blender newbies about how things are done in a real studio, to be honest those that know more than the basics will know that a lot of steps are missing that would be in a real studio setup.

With a few glaring exceptions most of the vital areas of Blender are covered in just enough detail for the information to be useful to a beginner and a memory jogger for a Blender user with some experience. Notable things that were missing from the book were any kind of use of Blender Compositing features, while this is surprising given the aim of the book, there was really no choice given the page count.

Given what was just said above, what was surprising was some of the topics that were covered, specifically the use of external renders such as Yaf(a)Ray and LuxRender. The book goes into a fair bit of detail on setting up Blender so as to use the external renderers. You won't be a Yaf(a)Ray or LuxRender guru but it gives enough to get you going. I am a Linux Fedora user and had to compile my version of the Renders from source and the book does not cover this, so if you in this position you are out of luck. There is a nice description of progressive renders and how they are different from more traditional rendering systems.

So all in all this is a passable book, useful for the info on External Renders and as a memory jogger for an experienced Blender user.

You can purchase Blender 3D 2.49 Incredible Machines from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Blender 3D Incredible Machines

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  • by the linux geek (799780) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:44PM (#31173468)

    "This is most likely because English is not Allan Brito native language."

    This is probably my favorite sentence in the review.

    • That is most likely because English not terrywallwork native language.
    • Hi yawl, I think he means speaking American.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Qubit (100461)

      Hmmmm.... yes, I must agree with the_linux_geek. My first glance at the article didn't raise (m)any red flags in my brain, perhaps because I was reading a book review on Slashdot. Upon further examination, I found several problems with the article. Some sentences were potentially grammatically acceptable, but didn't flow right off my tongue -- you know, the way that large carpets sometimes have a bit of a hernia in the middle, and no matter how many times you roll over them with the vacuum cleaner, you just

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by sabernet (751826)

      The grammar in this review caused me to reread certain sentences and paragraphs...

      I bought the ebook version and that is what I am using to base this review on, this caused me a slight problem because the ebook mentioned some resources and graphics that were available to download from the Packt site, however on going to site the resources are not available for download (yet).

      The book tries to present the production of the various objects in a way that is similar to how it would be done in a real production studio. While this may help give a glimpse to Blender newbies about how things are done in a real studio, to be honest those that know more than the basics will know that a lot of steps are missing that would be in a real studio setup.

      Now it is important to point out that I am not blaming Mr Brito for the grammar issue, the editors of the book however should have a serious talking to.

      Seriously, for spending so much time hammering on a book's grammar, a good proofread could have been performed for credibility's sake.

      Don't get me wrong. I hardly ever act as grammar Nazi("Me fail English? Unpossible!"). But Mr terrywallwork should have a look at this fine article:

      http://www.waylink-english.co.uk/?page=61070 [waylink-english.co.uk]

    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by gambit3 (463693)

      I think you mean, "Yours neither." ;-)

      Perfect example of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry's_law [wikipedia.org]

    • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @04:26PM (#31175248)

      This is most likely because English is not Allan Brito native language.

      It not?

  • by GenP (686381) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:47PM (#31173508)
    Good thing they aren't totally revamping the user interface in the next version!
  • !TIM (Score:5, Funny)

    by Captain Spam (66120) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:49PM (#31173540) Homepage

    So... this ISN'T about using Blender to make a 3D version of the classic puzzle game series, The Incredible Machine? Pfft.

  • Bad examples. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:49PM (#31173546) Homepage

    : a futuristic gun, a futuristic spaceship (steam-punk styled) and finally a robot.

    If those are the examples, it's a crap book. Spaceships are considered lame as animation work. They're very easy to do, and if you put one on a demo reel, most studios will throw it away.

    Classic still life subjects, like a bowl of fruit, are harder to do. Do a deer nibbling on a rosebush, and you'll be taken seriously.

    • Re:Bad examples. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:56PM (#31173668) Journal

      If those are the examples, it's a crap book. Spaceships are considered lame as animation work. They're very easy to do ...

      Would you say they're an excellent exercise for beginners or intermediates who are trying to learn how to use a new tool?

      Some of us aren't depending on the book to get us hired at Pixar Studios tomorrow morning.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Qzukk (229616)

      They're very easy to do

      Which is why they're a good choice for teaching people how to use Blender, no?

    • Good thoughts, but if I could do a deer nibbling on a rosebush in Blender, I would no longer have my eyes, so what use would I be? :p

      No seriously though. I can barely work MSPaint.exe ... almost anyone who can work in Blender and make it look professional is doing great in my eyes.

      I may play with it Blender in the future to see what I can do, and starting with a spaceship sounds like a good way for me to learn the system. And the first line is proof of my understanding of Blender and what it takes to work i

  • This article's title, the mentioning of the book's name... just gave me an idea... finally an idea...

    I wonder... I bet it's possible... to make a Rube Goldberg machine in Blender and literally let its physics handle all the stuff that should be handled by physics in such a device. Holy crap, I finally have an idea of something interesting to keep myself occupied, instead of sitting at the Blender menus with nothing but blank noise in my brain for the "What should I make?" department.
    • This article's title, the mentioning of the book's name... just gave me an idea... finally an idea...

      I wonder... I bet it's possible... to make a Rube Goldberg machine in Blender and literally let its physics handle all the stuff that should be handled by physics in such a device. Holy crap, I finally have an idea of something interesting to keep myself occupied

      I don't know how capable Blender is, but that was final assignment in my Maya "particles and dynamics" class.
      Teach called it "incredible machines", too. Of course, some animation / trickery was allowed, nay, encouraged.

  • Sorry, I couldn't help to laugh and show the story to my co-workers when I read that name .We had to google it to make sure it wasn't made-up

    For many spanish-speaking people, 'Allan Brito' is a typical fake name people use to make prank calls and such. (In spanish, 'alambrito' means 'little wire')

    I don't mean to insult the guy; but it's funny when you know there is an actual person with a name you always used to laugh at. (Like when Bart calls Moe's and asks for 'Hugh Jass', and there was a person with th

    • by Saija (1114681)
      hehehe
      i thought the same here, i just have to go to Amazon to verify the author's name, i'm just waiting the next Photoshop title by Marcos Pinto...
  • They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case that couldn't be more true. Unless I can see the final renders from the projects in the book, I have no idea whether the book is of any interest, regardless of any praise or criticism the reviewer may have for it.

    I was hoping to help out by posting some links, but I can't find the requisite images anywhere (admittedly I only spent a few minutes looking). I did find the next best thing, a video on Brito's own blog [blender3darchitect.com].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I hate to rain on this guys book parade, but Blender 2.50 is a pretty radical update even from 2.49b. The user interface was completely redone. There are at least 400 major patchsets installed after 2.50 alpha0 came out (and 2.50 is still alpha0, usable and all, but still alpha0). Its likely to be at Alpha1 in the next month, then perhaps Alpha2 after that, or maybe even beta0. Besides the UI, major pieces of the system got significant overhauls. The developers have been working on the code for over 6

  • If you can bother enough to go through a simple tutorial for 15 minutes, you will amaze yourself with what you can do very easily in Blender.  It truly is a magnificent tool, and the interface is reasonably internally consistent once you get used to it.
  • Why come with a 2.49-based book now, when 2.5 is just around the corner, sporting a completely revamped UI?

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