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
About the Author
Duane Loose is an industrial designer who spent his formative years up in the prairie regions of southern Alberta. At the age of six, he saw a burning satellite reenter the earth's atmosphere over Winston Bohne's frozen duck pond. That singular experience began a lifelong obsession with science fiction, which was tolerated by his dad, who worked in the real space-exploration efforts of the '60s and '70s at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
After he completed his college studies, Duane spent 16 years as an award-winning industrial designer and design consultant to several Fortune 100 companies. In his spare time, he drew spaceships and robots and taught undergraduate and graduate design courses at M.I.T., Rhode Island School of Design, and California State University at Long Beach. These days he keeps his hand in education as a member of the faculty advisory committee of the Industrial Design Department at Brigham Young University. They actually ask him to give his opinions about the future of computer animation and storytelling in Industrial Design.
In 1994, to everyone's surprise, Duane's lifelong devotion to outer space, UFOs, extraterrestrials, and conspiracy theories was vindicated when he was hired as the Supervising Art Director for CGI/Development at Creative Capers Entertainment, Inc., a computer animation and original content development studio in Glendale, California. Duane's duties there include digital content creation, art direction, concept development and visual design, story development, and treatments for Creative Capers feature film, TV, and video game projects. It's a tough job¿someone has to do it.
In addition to several films currently in development, Capers's current projects in production include Michael Bedards's "Sitting Ducks"¿An episodic computer-animated series coming to TV in Fall 2001. Intergalactic Bounty Hunter¿A three-episode classic Sci-Fi action/adventure PC and console game for Infinite Loop, a division of Pan Interactive. First episode release is scheduled for Summer 2001.
Duane is the sufficiently sane father of 12 children and stepchildren and resides with his beautiful wife, Susanne, and their family in beautiful Lake Elsinore, California, which is not close enough to Area 51.