d'artiste: Character Modeling 3 is the eighth book in the Digital Artist Master Class series. Each d'artiste title features the digital art techniques and approaches of a small group of artists.
The 208-page book comes in a sturdy slipcase. There's also a signed and leather bound limited edition if you're into it.
The featured artists here are Giovanni Nakpil, Jan-Bart Van Beek (Killzone creator) and Cesar Dacol Jr. Their bios are further down this review.
Each artist has three sections: background on their career, the invited artist gallery and the tutorial section. So it's actually part art book, part tutorials. Everything's written in first person by the artists. The stories are on how they got started in computer graphics, and got to where they are today. All pretty inspiring.
Different 3D software packages are used but the primary one is Zbrush, and to a lesser extent Maya and Mudbox. The tutorials are actually step-by-step walkthrough on how the models are conceived, modeled and rendered. My favourite tutorial is the one on the Helghast sniper from Killzone 2, which is modeled using Zbrush and Maya. It shows how the sniper is modeled, texture mapped and how the ridiculously cool cloaking shader is created.
The invited artist gallery is filled with top notch 3D characters, be it realistic or stylistic, personal or commissioned work. There's a nice variety of all shapes and sizes, humans and not. A few pieces are actually created from clay, and some, latex. The ones in latex are incredibly realistic and I've no idea how they are created. Anyway, all invited artists have their contact and info provided should you want to check out more art from them.
This book is recommended to 3D character modelers and artists in the CG industry. Those who use Zbrush will benefit a bit more from the tutorials.
For those buying from the Ballistic Publishing website...
Ballistic Publishing has made available some downloads for the first 500 customers who pre-order the slipcase or 200-copies limited edition. The downloads are high-resolution meshes (ZTL and OBJ file formats) of Giovanni Nakpil's quadruped creature and Cesar Dacol Jr's Pond Guardian from the tutorials. On the download page, I also found an additional (bonus?) media pack download. Inside are three walkthrough videos by artists who created the cover art for Matte Painting 2, EXPOSÉ 6 and EXPOSÉ 7.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)