I like this book. I think it does what it sets out to do. I did not know what to expect when I recieved my review copy from the company. Honestly it has been a while since I read one of the books from this 3ds Max 'Bible' series. I found, what I feel, a very good text on this premier 3D program. Regardless of what the web site or the back of the book says, this is an good overview of what 3ds Max 2010 is, and what it is capable of doing. In other words, 'this is the name of the tool, and this is what it does." But it does even more than that in a very readable way. This `bible' starts by giving the novice a good tour of the interface and tool sets, then goes on to more advanced concepts. You may not become an expert with this book, but you will understand Max a whole lot better.
Let's face it Max 2010, like its predecessors, is a very flexible, very complicated, very deep program no matter how you look at it. Those of us who get hooked on it want to know how to use it to do our bidding. It is nice to have a book I can keep by my computer to turn to and look up some tool or technique.
So, how does a new user learn Max, and how can a current user keep up with all of these new functions and capabilities? They are being added at an incredible rate. There is a new Max release out before I get a chance to get comfortable with the last release. Don't get me wrong, I welcome great tools added to a familiar interface. Most of them are truly amazing. Some began life as a plug-in for Max and then became fully integrated features. Like I said - How does a user keep up with all of these functions and capabilities?
If you have been around long enough you learn a procedure in a program and continue to do things that way even when there is a new more efficient way to get the job done introduced in the new version. A person gets comfortable with the way they do things in a program, It's been like this since the dawn of time. I think for most of us we are just unaware how a new function or capability, once learned, can truly increase our productivity. While reading this book I definitely learned a few things, or I have been reminded of a few things that I can now put to use.
So who do I think this book is for? If you are completely new to Max and want a book that you can look up how to do something in Max this book should serve you well. It should not be your only source of training - you should be doing other reading and beginning exercises from other providers. I think of this book as a good place to find the answers to many questions that come up while learning a program like 3ds Max. If you consider yourself an intermediate user and have not read a Max book in a while, you may want to go through some of the topics. It does cover the new bells and whistles fairly well.
Kelly L. Murdock has been at this `Max bible' writing since 2000 when the 1,100 page 3d studio Max R3 Bible was published. He obviously knows Max very well. I happen to like the way the material is presented. More so than what I found in the earlier books on previous releases. The first part of the book is aimed at the beginner with all the basic information presented in a logical order. The other part of the book is for the more advanced tools in Max 2010. While reading the book I noticed that the legacy components of max were, for the most part, left out. I was going to call the author on that but found I missed something in the preface that addressed this. He had purposely left out the older legacy parts to conserve room for more important topics. I found the Note, Tip, Caution, New Feature, Cross-Ref, and On the DVD tag notes useful for the most part. It's like having someone looking over your shoulder while you are reading and telling you all the points that are important to understand now, or where they are covered elsewhere in the book or DVD. I like these especially the tips and cross references.
Speaking of the DVD - it's pretty impressive. I had no trouble opening up the files on the DVD. All the chapter files for the fifty-one plus chapters are on here. Two applications, a 3ds Max 2010 Trail 30 day version and Adobe Reader. There is a section with 3D models from both Viewpoint and Zygote. Zygote also provides a man and a woman model. There is an e-book on here also. The entire book in PDF format as stated on the e-book splash screen `All the text for the book is included on the DVD in PDF format along with Adobe Reader. Using the electronic version of the book, you can search the text. You'll also be able to see the book's figures in color.' We would have benefited with colored figures. For the most part, the B&Ws are fine and serve their purpose. Three bonus chapters are provided here as well. One on installing 3ds Max 2010, one with an extensive list of shortcuts broken down into categories, The third is `Working with NURBS'. The subject of NURBS does come up in the book a few times, mostly in Chapter 27 on modeling with patches and NURBS. It's nice to have more info on them.
If you are new to Max you will get a good idea of the power of a 3D software like Autodesk's 3ds Max. If your familiar with Max and used it for a while, there is something for you in this book. You will be reminded of some great features that you missed or forgot about. You will get aquainted with the new features of the latest release if you are a new user or a veteran.