3.0 out of 5 stars
I don't feel Jump-Started, Sept. 19 2001
I've been programming for 21 years, dabbling in graphics on and off throughout that period. I know enough about a lot of graphics API's to 'get the job done' with documentation help in hand and was looking for a book to get me to that point with Java 3D .
To it's credit, the book is well edited - it is not filled with the errors common to a first print. Not to say there aren't any, but they are few and far between. Also nice is the summary of URL's at the end of each chapter, I actually found that to be the most useful part of the book. Unfortunately, I have yet to be able to get to the books URL that promises 'nice example applications' throughout the book. It is obvious that the authors (Walsh and Gehringer) know Java 3D, they explain concepts in a straight forward easy to comprehend manner - even without the example code to back them up. The readability factor alone is why it gets 3 stars from me instead of 2.
To it's discredit, there is nothing here that isn't in the spec and in every other Java 3D book I've read. Reading it again doesn't further the understanding. I found Ready-to-Run Java 3D a little more useful than this book, but I didn't like it either (neither did most of it's reviewers). While I recognize that this book is titled 'Java 3D API Jump-Start' - I don't feel 'Jump-Started', just 'Briefed'. I expected more from Walsh, Gehringer and Sun Microsystems.
In short, if you don't understand the difference between geometry and textures, can't grasp the concept of behaviors and transforms from the Java 3D spec or never figured out the difference between ambient lighting and directional lighting then this book could help. If you understand those concepts in a general way, read the spec - you'll get more out of it. If you don't know what those are, then by all means - read this book.