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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

on May 27, 2002
I have been programming with Java for a few years, but I've only just started to try and do some work with Java3D and this book provided a good introduction to the API. It really is a jump-start - introducing 3D concepts and the practicalities of implementing them in Java 3D without going into very much detail- sometimes a bit more would have been useful, but you could usually find what you needed in the API documentation. In fact, this almost acts as an index to that documentation- telling you that classes exist and how they relate to one another so that you can then look up the details of how to use them.
There is definitely room for a detailed book on Java 3D, which this certainly isn't, but if you are looking for a general introduction you can't go far wrong here.
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on April 24, 2002
After reading the Java 3D API spec and going through Sun's tutorial I was still confused. I've got limited 3D experience. This book went a long way toward explaining and clarifying some of the concepts in Java 3D. The examples are simple and straight-forward and had me up and running writing my own programs in a short-time. My only complaint is that there are some things I wished they had gone more in-depth on, however the book is of an appropriate length, aptly named, reads well, and is a good value.
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on February 17, 2002
As a developer with a number of ideas all having to do with 3D applications, I was searching for more info on Java3D. I was not even sure if I should use Java for it. Although being a Dutchman, my business as an independent trainer and developer is in the high-tech German automotive and appliances industry. Training and educating young German engineers in development and manufacturing of new high quality products.
So, there I was, having lots of ideas but no real base to build on. What I had were some plain Java books, of course the Java Tutorial and the Java 3D API Specification. Especialy the latter gives lots of information and is an excellent source of 3D coding, however, it is not an easy guide for a starting programmer. Anyway, you know how it is, if you go into detail, you're coming across many difficulties and problems. It usually takes lots of times to find out where something like your problem is described. And even if you find something similar, it might be in a completely other context, or you have to go through long code lists just to find a part of the solution.
Then, searching the Amazone site, I came along a new book called the Java 3D API Jump Start. I finished it in two main sessions, I believe it were two long evenings all together. The main advantage to me in the first place was that it re-assured me, Java3D was the way to go. It very well describes the history of Java3D, the backgrounds and developments under way, and the outlook in the future. All backed up by many pictures, lots of them in full color.
It is, of course, a book for beginning 3D programmers. So, it brings you quickly up to speed. The way the book deals with the various topics is the following. It describes details you ever wanted to know about, gives some code lines just fot that particular option and refers to the API's or free available examples on the web, for the neighbouring code lines. Just to give you an idea of some of the topics, it descibes very thoroughly things like Geometry Arrays and Utilities. There are, for instance, full code samples of building geometric shapes, using advanced tools like the automatic triangulator and the normal generator. Also it describes very well topics like Indexed and Stripped Geometry Arrays. Some of the highlights of the book to me are the chapters on lighting, transformations and behaviours.
The book refers also to the Jump Start web-site where the interested reader can find example programs together with the source codes. So, the book gives you exactly what it promises, a jump start into Java3D. It not only helps you to build your first 3D programs, but it tells you also how things work and why they should be programmed in their particular way.
Now that I have read the book, do I still have questions? Yes, lots of them. But that's the way it should be. After you have your first shapes moving across your screen, you want more. You like to add all those nice little things you only know about, and of course, these are nowhere described. But now you have at least gained experience and increased your knowledge of Java3D, which makes it easier to find solutions elsewhere. And, hopefully the authors of this book Aaron E. Walsh and Doug Gehringer will make some efforts to write their next one on advanced Java3D programming.
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on December 12, 2001
If your purpose is to become familiar with the basics of Java3D, and read what 3D in Java is all about, then you should buy this book, definately. But don't expect to find complex real-life examples. What you learn is truly just the basics. Intermediate or advanced topics are not covered. Just answers to questions like "how do I setup a 3D environment?", and "how do I create a rotation?" and things like that. If you browse the Java3D API, and see what else is possible, then you realize that it's really just the basics that is covered.
But if the basics are your purpose, this is truly a jump-start, and it will definately suit your expectations.
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on November 3, 2001
I am a 3d programmer for 3 years . I know the difference between directional lights and point lights, textures and mipmaps.
I had read the complete Java3d spec and the tutorial by Sun and was expecting a bit more in this book. Unfortunately it is a big letdown in terms of such expectations.
The book seems to have been written for a fresh programmer who doesnt have any knowledge of 3d concepts. There are also a few technical errors at the end in the PickTool class and OrbitBehavior class descriptions. Also Behavior concepts are not covered very well. If you have read the J3D specs and the tutorial by Dennis Bouvier, then there is no need to buy this book. If you are very fresh to 3d and in particular to Java3d
this book is a good introduction to the key concepts.
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on September 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.
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