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on 9 September 2013
I was looking for a book to introduce me to the subject of shaders within Unity and especially within the new version 4. So far this book has been exactly what I needed.

Chapter 1 is a great introduction to the world of shaders for beginners within Unity. The earlier information within the chapter also gives non-Unity users a good basis so they can grasp the concept of shaders and how they can be used within a game project.

Although this is a good book for beginners new to shaders, having basic knowledge of the Unity editor and programming I'd say is a definite must. The terms used, although not complex, may confuse someone not used to common terms associated with scripting and programming e.g. variables. Saying that I found the language very easy to understand and follow at each stage within the recipes.

Each recipe is self-contained which is useful as you can work through them individually. During the preface they do state that the book has been designed so that beginners or those wishing to pick up the book for specific recipes can jump to whichever chapter they require without the need to read the book from start to finish. I would disagree with this statement solely from the perspective of a beginner new to shaders. I think that by skipping chapter 1, as a beginner, you will miss a wealth of information that's helpful and that you will build upon through the subsequent recipes in later chapters. So if you're a beginner read chapter 1, then I'd advise you to pick the chapter or recipe to work from which is more closely related to your project or work through the book from start to finish. The first page of each chapter lists out what you will learn so at a glance you can see if the content is what you need or something that you can skip. If you are still confused with what recipe will work for you and your project at the beginning of each recipe (from chapter two) the author gives you examples of what the technique you are learning can be applied to which I found very useful.

Each chapter has the same basic layout. After the introduction where you are shown the product of the recipe, you start with "Getting Ready" which talks you through the basics of the set up. "How To Do It" walks you through a step by step set up of using this technique and "How It Works" explains what you have just done. Lastly, "There's More" provides you with other ways to adapt or extend what you have just created to build something more. I wasn't used to this layout so I've found myself flicking back and forth within the book a lot to keep referring to the goal then back to the latter pages. This format is taking me a bit of getting used to (as it's only the second cookbook I've read) but it's not a massive hindrance.

This book eases you into the world of shaders and effects gently and provides good tips throughout each recipe. Once you are familiar with the basics, you're able to jump to any recipe that you feel is suitable for your project. From a beginner's point of view I would highly recommend reading this book.
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on 7 July 2015
I am an intermediate user of Unity and decided to dip my toe into shader writing, or at least surface shader writing, in order to gain more control over the look of the game I am developing.

This book sounds perfect from the title, and it certainly does what it claims to do... but leaves you scratching your head at a lot of it.

If you are a complete beginner to coding, I would recommend getting to grips with something less specific first. This book assumes a basic level of experience, and will not hold your hand as to where to put the snippets of code. Almost every exercise required me to go away and try and figure out why the script wasn't working, and it was usually because I had put a code section in the wrong place.

Fair enough, my mistake, but the book doesn't tell you WHERE to put the code. It's essentially trial and error, which is good from a learning perspective, but frustrating when simply including the codes in full would have saved so much time. A good example of this is telling you to insert code into the CGPROGRAM statement, and then NOT telling you to write the next chunk in the VOID SURF function. All it shows you is what to actually type out, with none of the shader template code included. You are only getting half the picture, unless you already possess a reasonable amount of experience, and as such will likely avoid these basic mistakes.

Similarly, in some of the sections where it explains why a code works, it simply reels off the complex mathematics behind the code (basically the author repeating himself) without breaking down what is happening to the most elementary levels. Again, probably my fault for not already knowing it, but it means you have to go off and do a lot of research to understand what the book is claiming to 'teach' you.

What the book DOES do well is give you an idea of the kind of things you can achieve by writing your own shaders and lighting models. It covers everything from simple normal mapping to writing your own CGINCLUDE files, and I would imagine that anything you could ever want to achieve is probably touched on in here in some form.

It is also worth pointing out that some of the codes are not included on the publishers site, so you can't even cross reference your versions with his for mistakes, and some of the provided shader scripts on Unity's own website are better explained than his.
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on 19 July 2013
As a small indie developer I read a lot of books to try and get ahead on technology, when you first start out developing software, your ignorant of the amount of tech and data you are going to need to know. So when a new book comes out I'm always interested in what it has to say and how it says it and whether it can expedite my learning curve. This book is not for the absolute beginner, you need to know how to code.
However, for someone like me who is an absolute beginner with shaders, this book is a gem, if your working with Unity.
The author doesn't mess around, everything is explained in true English, and explained well. I've only re-read something twice because I'm trying to grasp the new concept of shaders, and not because the author sucks at writing, which I find common in other books.
Throughout the book are references for further material and further study, and real world examples where the shaders he's explaining are used.
I'm also impressed with the authors background, too many times I've come across books, that are written by teachers, and not actual producers of software, the two are not the same.
This book is a great companion to unity, and it made me fall in love with unity more, as it explains just how much work unity is doing for you.
Seriously like this book, thumbs up.
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on 8 August 2013
When I first started making games my main interest was wanting to make something that looked cool and was fun. It was only when I launched my first game that I learnt the importance of optimization, and in Unity a lot of that comes down to textures and shaders.

Having worked on several major apps since then, I've come to learn that all Unity developers should have at least a basic understanding of shader types, while knowing how to use effects can really help the overall appearance of your game. This book provides a very strong start in both these areas, with reasonable explanations and code that you can try out and test yourself.

I'd recommend this book as a good resource, which can expand the knowledge of any Unity developer, from artists to programmers.
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on 2 August 2013
This book has been a real help with my understanding of Unity Shaders. It features concise and easy to follow examples on each and every aspect of Unity Shaders. I particularly liked the chapter on creating Mobile friendly shaders made for performance in mind. Another good chapter was the chapters on screen effects.

The code is outlined in a pleasant and pleasing way and the imagery fits each chapter helping get the point across well.

All in all a very in depth and informative book.
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on 29 July 2013
This is a really good start point to somebody who was trying to start or improve your shaders skills.
Good samples clear explanations, even if your objective is move to GLSL or CG later like me, you are probably getting really good tips and concepts from this book .

I still miss some math and GPU explanations but i'm loving the book and finally i start to understand a little bit about shaders.
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on 18 July 2013
I'm finally learning a bit about surface shaders with this book's help. Although, the author needs to go into a little bit more detail with the explanations, especially why the layout of the basic shader is the way it is. Also, a few more diagrams of the concepts wouldn't go amiss. It's a good book however, with interesting examples to use in your own projects as you learn.
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