I was really looking forwards to getting this book, I've been using Blender since last October and JW's tutorials have most certainly helped me advance in Blender's use. So why am I diappointed? After all 470 pages AND a DVD from JW must surely be a winner!
1> Book Quality - The majority of images are tiny dark grey or black rectangles. Even some of the images showing tool settings are difficult if not impossible to read. It does have a color section at the back, but only one of those images is related to the book.
2> Book Content -
a> - The first 80 pages go over Blender Basics, someone who wants to learn about chracter development should already have this knowledge. All the book needed was a foreword pointing the newbies to the BlenderCookie tutorials or even a few vids on the DVD.
b> - Two of the most difficult bits in creating a character (the eyes and ears) are not covered at all. The goggles and headphones are both modelled seperately so why aren't the the eyes or ears? Also, because the character is wearing gloves, hand details such as nails are also missed out.
c> - Reliance on Sculpting. In the Introduction, JW talks about discouragement with Blender. So why is there so much reliance on sculpting? The head especially is a difficult subject. The book's solution is to start from a ball/egg shape and sculpt the features. So if you are usless at sculpting you are not going to be happy with results.
d> - Character Development? I've read the book twice and I am now upto the end of the modelling (p380) and I haven't seen anything about character DEVELOPMENT. There's lots about modelling then retopology, lighting and texturing are lightly covered. For example the 1st 80 pages of basic stuff could have been about how you develop a character from your initial idea to a concept image and/or modelling sheet.
e> - To me rigging is an important part of creating a character, yet the only info is a video showing how to use the rigify addon.
I was really looking forward to having a reference book about character development and builing, especially by JW, but this book is not it. I'm not sure who the book is for as the beginner will have problems following with the disastrous images and the more advanced Blender user will already know this kind of stuff. Even the book doesn't know who it is for - in it's own words "This book is not for everyone".
Don't get me wrong, JW is an excellent teacher, but he should stick to video tutoring, for example today it was anounced that a low-poly character modelling set of vids is coming from him via Blender Cookie - I for one can't wait.
I have now completed the character as far as the book took it. The UV mapping was made difficult by the indistinct images. The texturing section I feel was a total cop-out in that it is in shades of grey. The reason given is that in the next year rendering/materials are going to go thru a major change, so I guess I shouldn't buy the Packt book on Texturing and Materials either! And does this mean that there will be no more texturing tutorials on Blender Cookie?
Having finished working thru the book I get the feeling that once the modelling was done the rest was either rushed or curtailed due to the length of the book. Maybe JW could have been less verbose on the modelling and added a few time-lapse vids on the DVD and/or included the books images on the DVD.
I do not recomend this book for the total beginner. If you have had previous modelling experience or you are comfortable with Blender then you might find it useful, personally I got more out of the author's Johnny Blender series on You Tube and that was free.