Tutorial-reference on procedural approaches to texturing & modeling in computer graphics. Guide for anyone involved in creating computer graphics & animation. DLC: Electronic digital computers - Programming.
Code samples in C and RenderMan are given throughout, although most algorithms are given in only one of those languages. This can be a bit of a problem, as many readers will probably not have access to a RenderMan implementation. Nevertheless, it is not too difficult to translate the RenderMan code into C code in many instances.
The biggest drawback to this book is its lack of rigorous technical coverage. The decision to omit many mathematical details was a conscious choice on the part of the authors. Instead the book is mostly prose discussion of the techniques and the coarse descriptions of the underlying concepts. Although the prose is mostly clear, many times I felt myself in need of more specific, technical details. Fortunately, the book's authors are the primary researchers in this field and most of the ideas in the book have been published in academic journals. It was very easy to supplement the book with these primary sources.
Overall I found this to be a very interesting and useful book, with many algorithms essentially ready-to-run right out of the book. It would get five stars, except for the lack of technical and mathematical details mentioned above. Every serious worker in graphics needs to have this book on their shelf. I use mine often.
The most glaring is that a significant number of the examples are coded in the "Renderman shading language". This language serves, in this book, to hide detail, detail specifically related to producing textures. Of course, if you know the language, you're fine - but most won't know the language and so this is a grievous error.
By way of welcome contrast, other examples in this same book are instead presented as C code fragments or functions. That's just the ticket - using a broadly known, freely available, relatively low-level language with no recourse to unknown hidden graphics functionality is precisely the way to go when explaining ideas in the domain of those this book is intended to convey.
The second problem is one of content. While being concise to the level of a math text is not desirable, this book contains a very sparse field of useful information considering the number of pages. The margins are too wide, the text too large, the form factor of the book too small, and the authors too wordy to possibly convey a good basis for texturing in general - it is a broad and fascinating field, touched only in the briefest and most unsatisfying manner by this book.
I do take issue with the reviewer who complained about the exposition on how to make a brick texture; that area of the text, while it may be already quite familiar to many who are interested in texturing, contains precisely the level of detail that needs to pervade a book of this type, and detail about steps that underly critical basic texturing ideas. Without understanding those basic texturing tools, a novice misses the first step on the stairs and fall on their face.Read more ›
If you need to learn the procedural textures and materials: this is THE book.