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Digital Lighting & Rendering Paperback – Jul 17 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (July 17 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1562059548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562059545
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #403,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

New Riders' [digital] series is performing a tremendous service to the computer animation and graphics community. The newest addition to this family is [digital] Lighting & Rendering. Author Jeremy Birn has long been regarded as a talented computer graphics artist and generous writer, and he has been sharing his techniques and discoveries for years.

Using computer graphic and 3-D tools to create accurate images is easy; using them to produce beautiful, inviting, memorable images requires more than technical skill. Lighting & Rendering introduces reasons and techniques for using light, shadow, texture and composition. The book is not software-specific, but demonstrates techniques that are applicable to almost any 3-D graphics application. It is assumed, however, that your 3-D software of choice supports such basic rendering features as soft shadows, light maps, coloured gels, depth-of-field blur, motion blur and so on.

The first half of the book discusses lighting and shadow--not just how to use various lighting techniques, but why. An outstanding chapter on colour and its use through composition and lighting offers insight into how colours are perceived and how colour affects a scene. Additional chapters cover exposure, composition and staging, materials and textures, and compositing. There is no accompanying CD-ROM, but the platform-generic nature of the book (and of the subject matter itself) makes it unnecessary. The book is designed to educate and inform; it is up to readers to apply what they learn to their own projects.

Although fewer than 300 pages long, Lighting & Rendering is an informative and important book, useful to any computer graphics artist. Each page is filled with fascinating, immediately helpful information about the craft. Mr Birn's experience and insight are not to be underestimated, and this book is not to be missed. --Mike Caputo

From the Back Cover

Digital Lighting contains strategies for lighting design that are relevant to any digital artist. It presents an awareness of computer lighting models, how they differ from real-world lighting effects, and how to approach 3D lighting projects differently from practical light. Topics covered include: What good lighting can do for you; Light sources; Shading; Shadows; Exposure and content; Color: temperature, correction, mood; Qualities of light; 3-point lighting; Indirect illumination; Multipass rendering and compositing; Lighting in production; and Case studies: natural lighting, interior lighting, character lighting, and effects lighting.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Jeremy Birn puts everything together in one book that you need to produce professional quality photo-real renderings. Overall the skill-level is fairly advanced and non-condescending - although the beginning of each section seems to start with basic definitions that most readers probably already know, most sections pick up to a more professional level a few pages later and strike a good balance between being useful and being readable.
I'd say that about 10% of the contents of this book are unique "golden nuggets" - original tips and explanations that I hadn't seen anywhere else - stuff that doesn't appear in software manuals, is skipped in other books, and is worth the price of the book by itself (thanks to Mr. Birn for a new approach to making shadows-only lights, and a technique luminance-equalizing tiling maps I was just using today!).
30% of the info in this book is what you'd expect to find in any good cinematography text, only Birn explains it all along with useful translations into 3D- this is the main guts of the book, and it's beautifully executed.
Maybe another 30% is art theory, color theory, and other tips on what makes a better-looking final rendering - any good artist should know this stuff, and this is one of the best-written overviews of the material I've seen.
Another 30% is info from the computer science, image processing, compositing techniques and other technical info - here the book really shines for explaining & illustrating advanced algorithms in non-nerdy terms. Web sites that discuss some of the topics the book covers (such as Photon Mapping as an alternative to conventional Radiosity) require really hardcore math, whereas Birn explains it all clearly with production-oriented pros and cons of the techniques.
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Format: Paperback
If you aspire to be a 3D artist (3D modeling, animation, rendering), and you've never had traditional training in drawing or photography, I highly recommend that you study this book. It covers many important topics that you may have missed out on. This book includes color theory, light (and shadow) behaviors, composition and many other topics that are vital to all forms of art, including 3D computer art.
The author compares computer-world aspects of lighting and rendering to their real-world equivalents and demonstrates that a photographer's tip can be a 3D artist's tip (and visa versa). This makes the book more than just an excellent computer 3D rendering book; this book is also a great addition to any photographer's bookshelf.
Each topic is wonderfully illustrated with color images that depict exactly what is being discussed; clearly and without distraction. For example, you can see for yourself what the different properties, capabilities and shadow types are among point lights, area lights, spotlights and so forth without having to wade through technical jargon or executing tests with your 3D software. These types of lights are demonstrated on simple spheres, on a flat surface, instead of full 3D scenes, allowing the reader to see the vital details quickly instead of being forced to study the image and draw conclusions.
The author guides you through selecting the most effective light type, the number of light sources to use and where the lights should be placed into your scene, depending on what your objectives are and how much time you have to render the final work. This makes the book a great guide to have on hand during the setup process of your 3D scenes.
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Format: Paperback
Digital L&R is one of the best publications available for aspiring and seasoned 3d artists alike. The topics range from imaging fundamentals to advanced issues like HDRI, and all the content spanned is explained in such skill as to make even a process like proofing with a histogram seem like child's play. What few questions I had that weren't made completely clear by "DL&R" I was able to address in a discussion group hosted by the author's web site. It truly complements the [digital] line of 3d books, and I only wish that professional users of software like Maya & Houdini would write publications of equal caliber. It is extremely fast reading, and the actual book itself is wonderfully done, with every page a full-colour glossed stock, and loaded to the hilt with sample images to help elucidate the book's contents. The only reason I didn't give it the best rating is that the book does not come with a CD, and I had to visit Birn's site every so often for sample files referenced (but not required) in his text. A couple of the files referenced were MOV's, so it was annoying to be in the middle of a [paragraph] and then have to wait for a download to complete, especially with a dial-up connection. It's unfortunate that a lot of the valuable content on Birn's site, the beautiful step-by-step multi-passed rendering of the ant, for example, is not readily available on a companion CD. If "DL&R" included a disc even half as good as the book, it would raise the bar for CGI literature.
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