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Animating Real-Time Game Characters (Charles River Media Game Development) Paperback – 30 Nov 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Delmar; Pap/Com edition (30 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584502703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584502708
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 18.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,178,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

..".a well-crafted and deep 'how-to' book on creating an animated video game character from scratch."

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Dwyer on 27 Nov. 2003
Format: Paperback
I was pleasantly suprised by this book, as the content is both well put together and instantly useful. There is no glossing over topics, so you get the information you need not just a snippet of half complete knowledge. After reading this book I went from not knowing where to even start when rigiing a character, to a competent character rigger and animator. I now look at a character that needs rigging and don't feel like a mountain has just crashed down onto my head.
An excellent book for anyone who is in the Indie or Professional game development community and needs to know how characters are rigged and animated.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Get way ahead of people learning to be animators with this!! 18 Feb. 2003
By Salamando - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul, I have to tell you: You rock!!
Thanks to your easy-to-understand-and-follow-book, I'm now way ahead of my character setup & animation class at my school (art institute of portland). Keep in mind, this was just in a matter of days I went from clueless to...well, not so clueless!!
For people wondering if this will indeed improve their character rigging and/or animating skills:
It will. If you're already comfortable in using Max 4 or 5, you can easily take Paul's walkthoughs of rigging your character of any kind with biped and using physique to attach the mesh to the biped and be well on your way to understanding how to rig any future characters you create for excellent and easy animation. Well, easy to a point, anyway. You know how it is. With Paul's excellent methods of key frame animation, as well as using mocap, you'll be able to create convincing animations that no one would scrutinize! Even Paul's short-but-sweet section on things to consider when building a mesh can even improve your modeling techniques and thought process of when designing a character for optimum animating, hence the title of the section, 'built to move.'
The one thing that makes Paul's books so nice is that you don't even have to use the packaged files to understand how to apply his methods of madness, you can just go straight from his examples and apply it to your own work and come away with the same oustanding results. I modeled my first character with Paul's book 'modeling a character in 3ds max' by just using his techniques and came away with a model better than almost everyone in my class that had previous modeling experience.
Like I said, you just plain rock Paul. Hopefully I'll gain the skills you have so graciously bestowed upon us lowly wannabe animators to reach your status in this industry as a top-notch realtime modeler/animator someday. So far, things are looking bright!
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
animation weapon 23 April 2004
By erik turchin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the 2nd character studio book I have read. The other is the Discreet CS courseware manual. I think everyone should read them both if you want full knowledge of Character Studio. Paul's book does not cover many techniques that are implemented in the Discreet manual, but his book does indeed cover what the title implies. Game animation sets, and rigid vertex assignment. Two topics that are lacking from the Discreet manual. Paul's book successfully de-mystifies the process of manual vertex assignment via the Physique modifier. The first half of the book will give you great techniques for rigging a Biped to a mesh. His techniques are easily applied to a potential game sprite, or a straight render. The real power of this book comes from the subsequent animation chapters. The attention to detail that he drills into your head is perhaps the most valuable skill an animator can have. An outstanding chapter on pose-to-pose keyframing techniques is invaluable. It shows how easily and stylish animating in CS can and should be. There is also very valuable motion capture editing instructions that show you how to exploit mocap in combo with keys to realize the creative potential one has. There is also alot of Dope Sheet work that helps one become very comfortable with one of the more intimidating aspects of 3DS Max. If you can, read the discreet CS manual first, and then study this book to polish it all up.
Still relevant in 2011 6 Nov. 2011
By N. T. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 2002. I bought this book back in 2003, read the whole thing cover to cover two to three times, and then put it back on the shelf having assimilated what I needed at the time. (Incidentally, I found a "Finding Nemo" movie stub in the book that was a bookmark from what I last read it in 2003.

Now, in 2011, I opened the book again and I'm finding it very relevant even though 3ds Max is now almost 10 years older than it was when Paul first wrote this.

Specifically, what I still like about this book are the following:

1. The amount of time and attention to detail that Paul puts into teaching certain timeless lessons, such as building shoulders, elbows, knees, etc. so that they deform properly (something that I can't seem to find in any other book I've seen),

2. The PHILOSOPHY behind animation approaches
3. Certain character animation best practices that apply to any software you're working with.
4. Good mocap advice
5. Great guidance in terms of using Track View for motion editing (another thing I haven't really found good resources for)

Another thing that's really good is the link Paul makes between the way a character LOOKS and how you should animate him/her/ it . He's a very intuitive artist and you can really see a certain amount of feeling that he puts into his approach to animation.

In my opinion , this book is much more priceless and timeless than his modeling only book: Modeling a Character in 3DS Max, Second Edition (Wordware Game Developer's Library). I have no more use for that book, as it's very dated, and not relevant to me anymore, but this book I will probably use much longer.

Lastly, the CD included with this book is excellent. You get to see Paul's animation for Betty Bad which are very, very good, and you can of course re-use these animations on your own biped to see how they're put together. Overall a great book. There need to be more CGI books on the market like this one.
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Moroni 23 Dec. 2002
By JHN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Awesome book! Anyone wanting to know how to Rig their mesh for real time games or for high poly meshes this book is a must have.
Step by step instructions and tricks on how to make your mesh ready for rigging also includes Rigging, Weighting your character using manual vertex assignment, weighting it using envelopes, things to consider before you animate, Keyframe animation(two parts), Using Motion Capture and you get to practice on the sexy Betty Bad model. You've out done yourself Paul.
9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Try real hard to be like Paul 19 Aug. 2003
By ballbay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Game programming is a very, very fun and interesting job that anyone could imagine, especially for boys... Sadly, most of the people just know how to play games, beg their parents to buy them X-Box, PS2, Intendo when they are kids... but very few of them (if not none!) will dedicate their hard work and persistensy from playing games to WRITING games.
If you are one of the very few people who can bear with the tough and unbelievable demanding nature of the game programming industry, Paul Steed will be your no.1 instructor. I have read both Paul's books, this one and the other one, "Modeling a Character in 3ds Max 4". To be frank, even with such a fascinating 3d tool like 3ds Max 4, or Maya or Lightwave, it's still very hard for anyone to really develope a professional-like 3ds character, like the one Paul Steed shows you in both books - one is Betty Bad, the other is Callistro. There are a lot of screenshots in this book, "Animating a Real Time Game Character", and Paul put his instructions and professional tips right next to every screenshot, that makes it really easy to follow how to use 3ds Max 4 or Max 5.
The other excellent thing of this book is that, remember, Paul is really one of the best (to be frank, I would call Paul the no.1 in modeling 3ds character) modellator in the game developing industry... just download the Quake2Arena demo game from id software and play it on your own PC, you know what I mean. Paul is just like telling and teaching his readers how to model/create and animate an unbelievable 3ds character in a fascinating game, like Quake... But after reading and practicing the whole book.... I learned how to create and animate a very professional-like 3ds game character, just like one of those in your amazing game "Quake2 Arena".... Paul... you are doing too good to your readers and too bad to yourself.
Frankly, the "Betty Bad" game demo comes with the book worth 40 bucks... So, anyone who read my review and is interested in game programming and in the computing industry, don't hesitate, buy all Paul's books and start working on it... Paul will teach you all the most difficult, useful, stunning skills, you can be a professor in college after reading Paul's books... so why waste time and money and learn nothing in college.... face the truth, face yourself, be a man.... accept the challenge in the REAL game developing industry!!!!! You will thank me.
P.S. Paul, I know you are crazy busy with your work... but when will you write your next one???
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