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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough guide for new users, 8 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
Blender is a free 3d modelling tool. For a new user, however, the interface is extremely daunting, and a good guide to get the best out of this powerful tool is essential. Ben's book provides an in-deth introduction to using Blender using three real-world projects from designing the concepts for the projects, all the way through creating models, sculpting, and rendering. The book also discusses the use of the free-paining tool GIMP for producing textures and background images. The hardcopy of the book comes with a DVD with all the supporting and example files that you need. These are also available for download for the ebook version. The book is well illustrated with many pictures and screenshots to explain the material in discussed in the text.

The first two chapters provide an overview to the two tools used in the book, Blender and GIMP, including an introduction to working with objects in the user interface. The third chapter provides guidance on how to go about getting inspiration and reference material for a project, how to create effective compositions and test them in blender, and using GIMP to create reference sheets so that your reference materials can be incorporated into Blender to help you while you work.

Chapters 4 and 5 focus on the techniques for creating models starting with adding placeholders for the modelling objects and moving on to refining the details by working with topologies, meshes, and modifiers. Various techniques used for each of the different types of objects in scenes are discussed, giving examples of how to create different kinds of effects that you might use in your own projects. Chapters 6 and 7 focus on using the Sculpt mode in Blender to create detailed forms and textures. This includes detailed information on how to configure Blender to make working in this mode more effective and using the Multi-resolution modifier to create a high level of detail, and using retopology as an alternative method to create topologies.

Chapters 8 to 12 provide in-depth guidance on working with materials and textures. This includes the use of particle systems to add and customise fur or hair to models and to create landscape elements such as grass to a scene; UV unwrapping for creating coordinates to enable textures to be added to models; using images as textures; creating textures by hand using techniques in Blender and Gimp; a detailed overview of material rendering; and creating materials using GIMP. The final chapters provide details of creating the final rendering of the models including different lighting scenarios and settings, rendering and colour correction, compositing, creating backgrounds, touching up, and embellishments.

The book is very thorough in terms of its explanations and providing guidance for best practices in creating models and working in Blender. This book does not provide a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create the projects used, but uses them as illustrations for the particular techniques under discussion with instructions for the difficult or most important tasks. For this reason, the book is probably best suited to readers who already have some experience working with 3d tools and who are willing to experiment. The book and the accompanying files provide ample material for learning and experimentation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars but it still all seems to gel pretty well and it didn't cause major difficulty since these ..., 1 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
Firstly if you are an absolute beginner in Blender, then there will be a certain amount of self searching you will have to do to pick up on certain 3D concepts and jargon to aid your understanding of what the Author is saying. But, because this book has seemingly been written with guidance from a Blender technical expert, it explains the detail of the Blender tools in enough detail without blowing your mind and sticks to the point.

The book's projects have been well chosen are all very do-able. Your results may not turn out exactly as in the book but the processes and workflows are something that you will get a lot from and for me that element is just as important if not more so. The layout of the book can get a little confusing at times, since the author suggests on occasion that you jump to another chapter to learn a technique or get an explanation and then return to the current one, but it still all seems to gel pretty well and it didn't cause major difficulty since these instances are well highlighted by the author.

It will be assumed that you can get to grips with a graphics editor too (GIMP/Photoshop) so if you already have one of these then you will be fine.
On a personal level, this book made me search for other third party tools that might speed up certain processes (for example, the author encourages you to use Mesh Lab at one point) but I went on and researched lots of other software and plugins to aid in the creation process (for example, the Contours retopology plugin for Blender). I also got the chance to delve into the many corners of the Blender software where I had feared to venture before and discovered some of my strengths and weaknesses while at the same time building a new and badly needed confidence with the software.

In conclusion, I'm not sure what kind of text sandwich this review is making but I have absolutely zero regrets in purchasing this book and highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 5 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
Good book
For Advanced Users
Lots of information and easy to read.
Note: this is not a novice read, you need to at least know the basics of Blender.
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4.0 out of 5 stars From a Beginners Point of View - A Worthwhile Book, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
As a newcomer to Blender I was at something of a loss. I had read several items and tutorials online but not progressed too well and so I bought this book.
It is really a guide to making those projects within the book, which I did not copy and make but instead tried making other things. The projects are very well illustrated in colour and it also has a CD with lots of data files.
This book certainly broke the ice for me with its explanations and allowed me to gain a better understanding of modelling and texturing in Blender.
I would recommend it to anyone starting out and trying to make headway in this wonderful but complex software.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
Brilliant book! I am building up my collection
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering (Paperback)
0/5 spider on the front.
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