3ds max 4 Workshop
is very appealing in a number of ways. For one, the entire book is primarily focused on creating a single film, starting with sketching out ideas on paper to create the final end credits. Also, the inside front and back covers of the book include a handy list of keyboard shortcuts and a two-page tear-out examines the interface and defines every icon and palette.
While the book opens with the usual examination and explanation of the interface, the remainder breaks from the pack and introduces the toolset on an as-needed basis. The goal of the book is to create a sci-fi short film while teaching the hows and whys of the max 4 toolset. This philosophy works very well, introducing tools based on need rather than just for the sake of the tool and an ample number of screen shots clarify all instructions.
Over the course of the book's nine chapters, just about every major tool is used, from the various ways of modelling to adding surface detail to setting up bones and using kinematics for animation, through final rendering and compositing using Video Post.
3ds max 4 Workshop is not a handbook or reference but more of a series of tutorials. This style of book makes a fine companion to the program's manuals and other 3ds max reference books as it describes tools and techniques in a more in-context light. Designed for new max users, the book goes out of its way to use features new to 3ds max 4, which are noted with an icon throughout the book. The sketch-to-final render examples are priceless and the easy-going style of the text makes working through the chapters a breeze. --Mike Caputo
From the Back Cover
3ds max 4 Workshop focuses on developing the skills of beginning and intermediate max 4 users by teaching them how to take advantage of the latest generation of discreet's premier digital content creation tool - 3ds max 4. Written from the point of view of a professional industrial designer, art director, animator and design educator, the Workshop projects in this book create a six-scene short movie titled Area51.avi. The interrelated tutorials on modeling, lighting, material development, special effects, animation, and compositing reveal how to structure your use of max to create professional-quality imagery using the basic tools and techniques inside 3ds max 4. 3ds max 4 Workshop boosts the beginning and intermediate digital artist to a higher level of max proficiency in the shortest time possible by revealing the principles and process used in professional digital content creation.