3D Game-Based Filmmaking: The Art of Machinima: Creating Animated Films with 3D Game Technology Paperback – 11 Apr 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I'd say someone who has only heard of machinima and hasn't designed their own level in a 3D game would get tons of gems from this book. Whereas poor me with a week's worth of Google searches looking for tutorials on UnrealEd 3.0 and so forth - well I only got enough information to round out my status as a serious machinima beginner.
In fairness, however, after a couple of hours with the book I was able to get the finishing touches I was looking for and successfully burned my first machinima movie to DVD. So it was a small boost I got but a very welcome one (the boost included my spending $29 for the full version of Fraps). So, yeah it will give you the tools in one place to get a finished product.
I am disappointed that Marino ends the book with a tutorial on character modeling. The tutorial is well-written but by its end you'll be looking at a cute character cast in concrete (no words on skinning or rigging, etc). Worse this character will be stranded in a program called Silo (by the way blender from blender.org seems just as good and is cross-platform and a free download) with no hint of the challenge of getting this spaceman into a 3D level designer.
The machinima community would be better served with a tutorial on how to get custom sounds and meshes into UnrealEd et al, and how to do lipsynching.
In short too much time spent teaching you how to use tools (tools generally come with their own instructions and tutorials anyway).
I was also disappointed to find no samples of machinima movies on the cd. These are such a pig to download after all. How about including one and then some kind of analysis about what makes that one sample special.
The book is called the Art of Machinima but it seems more like the Activity of Futzing with Tools.
3D Game-Based Film Making covers most of the basics in the creation of a machinima film while at the same time informing the reader of the many ways that machinima and conventional filming share some of the same techniques and history but also showing the power that machinima welds that sets it apart.
The tutorials in the book are geared for people just getting their feet wet in this vast new medium. Marino takes a slow but meaningful pace so that readers can "walk through" the lessons and have a chance to review the steps they have just taken without getting lost in the process.
The book does have it's shortfalls but I guess this is due to the world of machinima being so vast. Having some of the tutorials examples on the disc would have been nice to have something to compare you work to. Also having some machinima films to watch so there can be some visual reinforcement of what you are trying to create but I suspect it was due to legal issues that they could not be included.
Overall well worth the price for the beginner who is just getting into the medium. The amount of information is staggering but when you go through it, it enriches the journey of discovery into this brave new world.
The book then follows the path of increasing complexity, starting with moving lights around, then adding actors, animating the actors, controlling the characters and adding visual effects. He then continues all the way through to capturing the video and audio and completing the filmmaking process.
One of the best chapters is the section of cinematography where the author strays from the introductory form to give practical advice about how to make a better film. The chapter on character development is also excellent, showing the development of a character from rough sketches to a full three dimensional model.
I enjoyed this book. It was a well written introduction to a whole new field of artistic expression. Definitely a must buy for those interested in the field. Those who are curious may want to browse it, but won't find enough outside of the strict walkthrough to make it worth the price.
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