3D Studio Max 3 is a large, robust and comprehensive program. In fact, one could describe the 3D Studio Max 3 Bible
using the exact same words. With 1,100 pages, including a 50-page index, it covers everything about the basic Max package.
Beginning with all the new features available in release 3 (of which there are many) the book continues by covering subjects such as rendering, post-production and ways to extend the power of Max using plug-ins and Maxscript.
Although a hefty book, its 41 chapters aren't padded with fluff or screenshots--in fact, more screenshots would have been welcome. Each page is filled with step-by-step instructions, tips and notes on how to use just about any feature in Max. Everything seems to be covered, from navigating and customising the Max interface, to basic and advanced modelling, using and controlling lights and cameras, deformations.
Not only does the Max Bible explain everything (there is even a whole chapter on setting up network rendering), but each chapter has at least one, usually two, step-by-step tutorials to demonstrate the features described. The tutorials are usually very short and to the point--designed to demonstrate the workings of a specific feature. For example, the tutorial on using the Motion Capture controller is only four steps, and uses the example of animating a pencil over the surface of a sheet of paper. All the objects are made from primitives, and no time is wasted on modelling and texturing a realistic pencil or a paper surface.
While short tutorials are a great way to learn quickly, longer ones would have been welcome. The colour gallery pages offer some nice examples of high-level work, but they lack explanations of how they were created or how the credited artist approached the scene.
The accompanying CD-ROM offers numerous models and the tutorial elements used throughout the book, with the added bonus of a set of plug-ins for Max 3. The gear-making primitive, the toy brick-making primitive, and several rendering plug-ins (TV Image is cool) are more than worth the cost of the book.
If you need a single point of reference to keep handy when working in Max, 3D Studio Max 3 Bible is a good place to start. If you buy two, you can use them to do arm curls while your version of "Toy Story" is rendering. --Mike Caputo, Amazon.com
From the Back Cover
If 3D Studio MAX can do it, you can do it too
Take 3D Studio MAX to the max and join the ranks of the animation pros who created special effects for Lost in Space, the dancing baby on Ally McBeal, and Lara Croft in Tomb Raider II. Packed with expert advice, time–saving tips, and more than 100 step–by–step tutorials, 3D Studio MAX ® R3 Bible gets you up to speed quickly, whether you're a 3D–modeling beginner or a veteran animator. Complete with a full–color section showcasing animation techniques plus a CD–ROM with exclusive plug–ins, this is the ultimate 3D Studio MAX reference. Inside, you'll find complete coverage of 3D Studio MAX R3 Master the new features in R3 the improved user interface, updated modeling tools, new rendering engine, and more Create sophisticated 3D models using NURBs, splines, patches, meshes, and lofts Give your models life–like motion with Inverse Kinematics and Character Studio Build intricate special effects using particle systems and Space Warps Improve your productivity and workflow with External References and MAXscript Enhance your renderings with the new Render Effects and Video Post interface Jam–Packed CD–ROM! Exclusive Furious Research plug–ins, including Lego–like Brick Object, Gear Object, Rainbow Effect, Stereogram Rendering Effect, Cartoon/Sketch Rendering Effect, Ball and Stick, and more Plus Rhinoceros evaluation version, 3D–Paralex, and more Sample 3D models Complete tutorial files And more! Kinetix MAX R3 non–interactive demo Shareware programs are fully functional, free trial versions of copyrighted programs. If you like particular programs, register with their authors for a nominal fee and receive licenses, enhanced versions, and technical support. Freeware programs are free, copyrighted games, applications, and utilities. You can copy them to as many PCs as you likefreebut they have no technical support. www.hungryminds.com System Requirements: 166 MHz or faster processor running Windows 95/98/NT; 32MB RAM