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Blender Foundations: The Essential Guide to Learning Blender 2.6 [Paperback]

Roland Hess
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 15 2010 0240814304 978-0240814308 1

Blender Foundations is the definitive resource for getting started with 3D art in Blender, one of the most popular 3D/Animation tools on the market . With the expert insight and experience of Roland Hess, noted Blender expert and author, animators and artists will learn the basics starting with the revised 2.6 interface, modeling tools, sculpting, lighting and materials through rendering, compositing and video editing. Some of the new features covered include the completely re-thought interface, the character animation and keying system, and the smoke simulator.

More than just a tutorial guide, "Blender Foundations" covers the philosophy behind this ingenious software that so many 3D artists are turning to today. Start working today with Blender with the accompanying web site which includes all of the projects and support files alongside videos, step-by-step screenshots of the trickier tutorials, as well as a direct links to official resources like the Blender download site and artist forums.

. Thank you for your interest in Blender Foundations. Focal Press is proud to publish titles that serve the Blender community. Blender Foundations covers the current version of Blender 2.5 and the forthcoming 2.6. Although this book is not affiliated with The Blender Foundation, we recommend that you visit www.blender.org to learn more about the latest on Blender.

. A practical, project oriented title on creating high quality 3D art for FREE. Blender is free, Open Source software, which makes it ideal for new users wanting to try 3D with little investment, animation studios looking to increase their capabilities and educational institutions with limited resources in their art departments.

. Blender Foundations offers techniques and tools for the complete Blender workflow, demonstrating a real-world project from start to finish. Hands-on insight is even further applied with the companion website which includes source files at all stages so transitioning users can pick and choose via tool/chapter what they want to explore.


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Blender Foundations: The Essential Guide to Learning Blender 2.6 + Character Development in Blender 2.5 + Introducing Character Animation with Blender
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Product Description

About the Author

Roland Hess is the leading expert on Blender. He is one of a handful of people who has been involved with Blender since its inception, and is a key voice in the community. Hess brings a unique perspective to Blender instruction that bridges the difficult gap between technical knowledge and artistic expression. Hess wrote Focal Press titles: Animating with Blender (2009) and Tradigital Blender (2011)

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book Aug. 4 2012
By bob
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book to start using Blender and this is the right one. It describes some basics and some more complex operations. Strongly recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction Oct. 2 2011
By David
Format:Paperback
The author explains clearly how to use Blender. Through small projects that will combine in to a large project you will become familiar with many important features of Blender and at the end of the book you will be well equipped to design some cool 3D stuff and to delve into more specialized Blender books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Starter book for Blender artists Aug. 21 2011
By DRX
Format:Paperback
This is a very easy to follow book with full colour illustrations. Perfect for newbies. I have been using blender for years and am certainly not a newbie, but purchased this book to get into the animation side of blender. (currently I use it for motion GRFX) I must say its been a great resource and simple to follow, it really lives up to its name and most definitely provides a good foundation. Well done.
Only slight critique would be the models. I certainly would not want "my" children to look like that. LOL But as a learning tool a great book well worth the money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  66 reviews
56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Generally quite good but some screenshots and documentation are based on 2,5x alpha and will not match 2.5 final July 30 2010
By LetterRip - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First off a disclaimer. I contributed a chapter to 'The Essential Blender' which Roland edited, I also contributed the animation script 'The Beast' for which Roland adapted for his book "Animating with Blender: How to Create Short Animations from Start to Finish". I also am writing a book for the upcoming Blender 2.5. So I have 'conflicts' of interest in both directions :)

As always Roland has excellent writing skills with a enjoyable style, and is a great instructor. The graphics are of high quality, and being in full color is greatly appreciated. I love the coverage of the animation system, which has received some major upgrades, and so there is a lot of new stuff to learn. It is clear that a lot of work has gone into this book, and it will make a useful addition to ones Blender book shelf.

Unfortunately there are a few things that really bug me about the book - firstly I feel the title is misleading. This book is not associated with the Blender Foundation nor is it a sequel to 'The Essential Blender', both of which seem somewhat implied by the title. The Blender Foundation contacted the publisher regarding concerns about the title, but since the book had already gone to press, the title could not be changed. Instead a disclaimer about it not being endorsed by Blender Foundation is to be included inside the book. From talking with Roland he didn't have any control over the title choice.

The title is also misleading in that there in no Blender 2.6 in the immediate future. The Blender Foundation has decided to call the next version 2.5. I think this could be quite confusing both in the near future for this coming release. But also for whatever future release is actually called 2.6 which will likely differ in some significant ways from the current release. This title error is reasonable since there was confusion on the naming and at one point it seemed to be agreed on that the upcoming release would be called 2.6.

Roland recently contacted me noting that the title had been mentioned in some threads at [...] , including one I had posted in so he feels that any concerns could/should have been addressed earlier. That is a fair point, on the other hand I feel that it should have been obvious that the title would be considered a questionable choice.

Aside from the title, there is also the issue that the book is based on an Alpha version of Blender 2.5. The interface for some tools has undergone fairly significant changes, ie the screenshots for sculpting, painting, and uv editing toolbars are all significantly changed. The multires modifier interface and possibly others have changed. Tool shortcut keys and preference options have had some changes. Indeed most of the tools and improvements of the sculpt system were not in the alpha version of Blender that this book documents.

The book however is primarily focused on other parts of Blender. So unless your interest is primarily the sculpt and paint system, or your ability to follow a tutorial where the interface does not agree exactly with the tutorial text, this is a quite good all around introduction to Blender.

Based on the content and quality I'd recommend this book, however the title issues, and using of prerelease software for screenshots I think are a disservice to the readers and could lead to some confusion.
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the book you're looking for Sept. 7 2010
By Scruffy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I assume that if you're reading this you're new to Blender and are looking for a great Blender book to get you up to speed. This is the book. I hate long-winded book reviews that boil down to a few relevant sentences so I will get straight to it.

There are three good reasons to buy this book.

1. Roland Hess knows Blender inside and out having been both a Blender artist and a software developer for some of its features. You can have tremendous confidence in what he tells you and know that it will save you time and make you a productive Blender user.

2. Hess focuses like a laser beam on the most important features of Blender and there are a lot of them. He doesn't wander into things that are nice, but you may use once in the course of a year. His writing is clear and direct. He gets to the point and offers professional advice that would take you years to learn on your own. He tackles the main pillars of the Blender platform: modeling, texturing, lighting and animation. His chapter on lighting is the most coherent and useful I have ever read. In addition, he has a number of extras on his web site like great videos on texturing and modeling. You can get most of the .blend files from his site as well.

3. This book will take you beyond the basics. Even though this is billed as a beginner book, Hess isn't afraid to build into the more advanced topics. Some of the stuff he covers like texturing aren't covered half as well in so called "advanced" texts. As an experienced Blender user I can highly recommend this book to intermediate and even advanced users. You will pick up some valuable info from the book. The tutorials are not cheesy little "let's make a coffee cup" tutorials. They're first rate and if you work through them you will be learning some important Blender skills and when you're done with the tutorials you will actually have something you can be proud of.

If you are new to Blender, get this book and study it. Do the tutorials if you can. It will be valuable practice. If you're a veteran Blender user and want to get up to speed with the totally new Blender interface and some of the new features, get this book. The proposition is simple: you can spend 6 months hacking away at Blender and just scratch the surface or you can get this book and spend a few weeks studying it and spend the next 6 months building dazzling CG.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, must be a diligent student. Oct. 31 2010
By Jesus Hector Fernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I recently got this book as I was trying to learn Blender by myself with the help of videos I found online.

To start with, this book covers the newest version of blender 2.54 beta (as of this moment) which is very different from the past version, user interface that is , this book helped me a lot in that respect.

The book has plenty of pictures to help you get a clearer view or you can also visit : [...]

The book consists of 404 pages.

Pros:
covers all areas from downloading and installing blender to creating models, animation, scenes etc.
Pictures in the book are all in color. :)
The author takes you from creating a single flower to creating a full blown scene step by step.

Cons:
Later on the author assumes you have memorized plenty of shortcuts to do things in blender so if you have a bad memory like me, you will have to go back to remember how to do stuff.
Shortcut commands should be bold to make them easier to search for.

In the end, the book is good, I gave it 4 stars because I think it could have been a bit clearer explaining things. If you are a rookie or completely new to 3D modeling, this book along with Blenders online video tutorials will help you get off to a right start on things.

I managed to create my flower, vase and chair and also a small animation so I feel like I have learned a lot, in just 1 week. So I feel like its been worth the time spent on it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic intro to the world's most difficult program to teach May 23 2011
By Adam Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you want to learn Blender, you should pick up this book. That's the short version.

Hess made a wise decision to structure his entire book around the creation of a single project, one that incorporates basic modeling, lighting, and character animation. Hess has contributed code to Blender itself (from what I understand), so the man knows what he's talking about. His explanations of some of the more technical subjects (casting shadows, say) are particularly lucid. I especially appreciate his honesty when it comes to the Blender's limitations, and also how you can "cheat" to work around them.

I can't give the book a full five stars for two reasons. The first is that the Blender interface changes so rapidly -- and indeed has changed since the publishing of this book -- that beginners less adept at learning new programs may struggle to locate various menu commands. This is a minor issue -- most keyboard shortcuts and menus match up -- but an issue none the less. Honestly this isn't Hess' fault, it's simply an issue when teaching a rapidly changing open source program (hence the title of this review).

Second, there are a few occasions when Hess neglects to mention some common snafoos likely to crop up in some of his lessons. For example, in an early lesson Hess explains how to use the array modifier to create a set of four evenly spaced table legs rotated around the base of a table. He does not mention that if you at any point scale your table legs, the array modifier will not work properly (it will make each leg copy larger than the next). This is because you have to apply any scale or rotation changes BEFORE using the array modifier. This Blender quirk can actually cause all sorts of problems, and I'm surprised he doesn't mention it.

I didn't run into too many issues like the one above, but there are a few, and I would worry they might become roadblocks for novice users, especially as the issue above isn't something a novice would be able to look up for himself, at least not easily, as it's in no way intuitive.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great foundation for learning 3d Nov. 29 2010
By Karl Bielefeldt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I suppose you could call me an experienced beginner where Blender is concerned. I have used it since it was first open sourced back in 2002. However, I only pull it out around once a year to spend several hours on a logo or lower third, the kind of project Roland Hess could crank out in under 15 minutes. In effect, I have forgotten and relearned how to use Blender several times. Never has it been so easy to learn as with version 2.6 and the Blender Foundations book.

If you have tried learning Blender before and found it too difficult, version 2.6 was made for you. The user interface is organized in a much more logically consistent way, and most of the quirks that made work overly difficult have been ironed out.

However, any 3d software worth using is necessarily too complex to just click around until you figure out how it works, and that's where this book comes in. It is written with the assumption of zero prior experience, and takes you through all the basics of creating a complete animated 3d scene, from simple modelling all the way through speeding up render times.

The author does a good job of instilling habits that will be useful later. He explains the long way to find commands, but also points out the most useful keyboard shortcuts to commit to memory. He doesn't explain every little item in the user interface, but explains enough to accomplish the basics and to be able to understand more advanced online tutorials. He explains the reasons behind his actions, in welcome contrast to many online tutorials that just tell you where to click and what numbers to enter. There isn't a single lamp or bone in his examples that you don't know why it is there. When a single solution isn't clear, he teaches you how to experiment to find the best results. He points out several traps that beginners often fall into and how to recognize and avoid them.

I wish I had this book years ago. It is well worth the price, especially considering the money you will save on the software itself.
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