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Maestri, George, Vol.1 : Essential Techniques, w. CD-ROM

von George Maestri

ISBN: 1562059300

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In 1996, George Maestri wrote what is now the benchmark for computer character animation books, Digital Character Animation.It quickly became a best seller, and addressed many important issues for people using computers for character animation.

But like many books of its type, it covered an enormous amount of territory without going into the depth that some sections deserved. With the publication of Digital Character Animation 2: Volume 1--Essential Techniques, Maestri has been able to restructure much of the original content, while going into more detail than the first edition. For example, building skeletons has been broken out into a whole separate chapter and the chapter on posing characters has almost doubled in length.

The new edition covers modelling, skeletal deformation techniques, animation timing and lip-synch. Luckily, it doesn't neglect the fundamental building blocks of good, basic character animation techniques to which the book devotes an entire chapter.

Why is something so important not covered until more than halfway through the book? Because the preceding chapters go into detail on building characters (there are whole chapters devoted to building the meshes for bodies, hands, and heads) and constructing the internal skeletons used for deformations. Appropriately, after you've built a character that is ready to be animated, you can then begin practising the important basics of character animation, as well as walking and locomotion fundamentals(chapter 9) and lip synch and facial animation (chapter 10).

Because this book is called "Volume 1", we can assume that the issues not covered in this edition will be explored in subsequent volumes. Topics like anthropomorphic animation, creating digital sets for your characters and the basics of making a film--sound design, editing, effects--deserve much more attention than they were given in the first edition.

This book does not get caught up in photo-realistic textures, rendering issues or software-specific tips and tricks. It is ideally suited for someone striving to learn the craft of character animation using 3D tools, who wants to breathe life into each frame of their animation. Digital Character Animation 2 is a promising first volume to what one hopes is a defining series. --Mike Caputo

A Very good book for beginners
I just got this book in the mail about 2 weeks ago. I've already read all of it and am trying out the ideas and techniques. It's an excellent book if you're looking to learn how to create characters with either Polygons, Splines, or Nurbs. It has many tips and suggestions which makes modeling easier. This book also does a good job explaining how to animate complex motions like walking or running, paying attention to layout and the character's "feeling" -- IE, body language. In short, it's a darn good book if you're looking to get your feet wet in Character Animation.

A great reference and very good illustrated
This is a very good book that shows not on a special 3D packet based how to create characters and how to animate them. Well for beginners and also for professional artists who always can find something new inside and a reference for new ideas. The examples on the CD are very good to show all the ways in modelling with patches, grids and NURBS`s. Also lots of descriptions of modifiers and abillities of poligonal surfaces. I must say well done George. A masterpiece in allround characterdesign and animation.

Excellent book for "BEGINNERS"
This is an EXCELLENT book for the beginner animator. In this respect, i give it 5 of 5 stars. For an already highly experienced animator, it is 1 of 5 stars. The concepts in this book assume you know little about modeling characters and animation. It is very well explained in clear english, with lots of excellent pictures to help explain it. However, each section doesn't go very deep into details, so it would be difficult to go on your own after reading this book. It does, however, give you a better understanding of all the things that need to come together in order to make a good animation. You also have to know your preferred animation package thoroughly in order to do the lessons in this book. The book shows no "steps" involved in any specific program, so you'd better know the program well! This book is better than the original Digital Character Animation book. It goes into more detail on complicated subjects, like different methods (pole orientations) of creating a NURBS head. There was valuable information in this book that i found nowhere else! I think the whole intention of the author was to write a "beginner" book. I read somewhere than Vol II (the current book is Vol I) will go into much greater detail, so this book may be good for advanced users. I can't wait for Vol II!
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