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Computer Animation Complete: All-in-One: Learn Motion Capture, Characteristic, Point-Based, and Maya Winning Techniques Paperback – 27 Oct 2009
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"Computer Animation Complete sets the stage with a well written introduction. In this section, the first chapter discusses some of the key events in the history of animation to introduce the principles of animation and film making. This chapter is written at a non-technical level and makes very interesting reading for anyone interested in animation. The target audience, however, is experienced animators. This book does not disappoint."--School Tech Talk Blog and MacDirectory.com
About the Author
Rick Parent is an Associate Professor at Ohio State University, where he teaches computer graphics and computer animation. His research in computer animation focuses on its relation to modeling and animating the human figure, with special emphasis on geometric modeling and implicit surfaces. Rick earned a Ph.D. in computer science from Ohio State University and a Bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Dayton. In 1977, he was awarded "Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award" (one of four given nationally) by the NCC. He has served on numerous SIGGRAPH committees, in addition to the Computer Graphics International 2000 Program Committee and the Computer Animation '99 Program Committee and is on the editorial board of the Visual Computer Journal.
Top customer reviews
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Do not overlook the introductory section as it tells of the different histories of animation and can be a book in its self. Then there is the description of the contributors to the work; to really know a work you need to know something of the contributors. Each chapter has references out the wazoo. There are quite a few terms to learn so, even if you are familiar with the industry, it would be a good idea to at least scan from front to back to be sure you have not missed any. However you can also use the index if you know what you are looking for. Even though "Maya" is touted in the title of the book, other packages and their data types are covered. I was surprised and pleased to find many of the formulas in the book on such subjects as fluid dynamics are the same ones taught in fluid dynamics for other projects.
The last animation I actually worked on was in the world of the Z80 on simple games with simple animation. This was before "Asteroids." On the film side I only dabbled in a few commercial animation programs. I was not aware of all the strides made in the field. So this book is a real eye opener. My previous life with AutoCAD 3d and computer math models prepared me for the explanations in the book. It cannot hurt having a background in programming. Some items can and should not be attempted without a classic technical background; however I did not even think about this in purchasing the book or until perusing the subject.
Just an observation is that artists in any field must first learn the mechanics of that field before venturing into that undiscovered country. It is the same with this field first learn the mechanics then apply the imagination. This book is a good starting place.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Nearly the first 100 pages are devoted to a massive history lesson on animation and motion capture, with very little practical information, strictly conceptual (ugh). Then it dives straight into the math and how to write a program to parse the motion capture file (with no practical information about how to actual accomplish the motion capture).
From there it covers such topics as the math behind fluid dynamics, physics of hard body collisions, animation of gaseous volumes, and other similar topics. It has a few chapters on animation in Maya, but those chapters are useless imho. The chapters are too basic to help anyone who uses Maya, yet there is not near enough information to be helpful for those who don't.
So I dunno, I think there are a few useful gems in this book that is useful for graphics programmers. But make no mistake, there is nothing here for artists, and a graphics programmer is not going to learn anything here that will help them create the art side of the animation.
Here are the content headings for the first 9 chapters (out of 13). Interestingly, the Table of Contents shows two bonus chapters beyond Chapter 13 - Chapter 14 (Setting Up Your Character) & 15 (The Basics of MEL Commands) but I could not locate them in this book.
Chapter 1 A Brief History of Computer Animation by Rick Parent
1.1 Perception, 1.2 The Heritage of Animation, 1.3 Animation Production (sound), 1.4 Computer Animation Production (tasks, digital editing, video, & audio), 1.5 A Brief History of Computer Animation (pre-1980, 1980s, mid-1980's & beyond), 1.6 Chapter Summary. The most recent reference for this chapter is 2006.
Chapter 2 Technical Background by Rick Parent
2.1 Spaces and Transformation (display pipeline, homogeneous coordinates & transformation matrix, compound transformation: concatenating, basic representing an arbitrary orientation, extracting transformation from a matrix, description of transformation in the display pipeline, error considerations), 2.2 Orientation Representation (fixed angle, Euler angle, angle and axis, quaternion, exponential map), 2.3 Chapter Summary. The most recent reference for this chapter is 1998.
Chapter 3 Motion Capture Primer by Alberto Menache
3.1 Motion Capture & Performance Animation, 3.2 History of Performance Animation in the Entertainment Field (rotoscope, brilliance, pacific data image, deGraf/Wahrman, Kleiser-Walczak construction co., Homer & Assoc.), 3.3 Types of Motion Capture (optical systems, electromagnetic trackers, electromechanical suits, digital armatures, other systems), 3.4 Application of Motion Capture (medicine, sports, entertainment, law). There are no references cited for this chapter.
Chapter 4 The Motion Data by Alberto Menache
4.1 Motion Data Types and Formats (Acclaim File format, .asf, .amc, .bva. .bvh. .trc. .htr), Writing a Motion Capture Translator.
There are no references cited for this chapter.
Chapter 5 Animating Facial Features by Rick Parent
5.1 The Human Face (anatomic structure, the facial action coding system), 5.2 Facial Models (creating a continuous surface model, textures), 5.3 Animating the Face (parameterized models, blend shapes, muscle models, expressions, summary), 5.4 Lip-Sync Animation (articulators of speech, phonemes, coarticulation, prosody), 5.5 Chapter Summary.
The most recent reference for this chapter is 2006.
Chapter 6 Animating Solid Spaces by David S. Ebert
6.1 Animation Paths, 6.2 Animating Solid Textures (marble forming, marble moving, animating solid-textured transparency), 6.3 Animation of Gaseous Volumes (helical path effects), 6.4 Three-Dimensional Tables (accessing table entries, function flow field tables & functions, combination of functions), 6.5 Animating Hypertexture (volumetric marble formation), 6.6 Particle Systems: Another Procedural Animation Technique, 6.7 Conclusion.
The most recent reference for this chapter is 2000 (only one) - remaining 15 are 1980s & 1990s.
Chapter 7 Animating Fluids and Gases by Rick Parent
7.1 Specific Fluid Models (models of water, clouds (by David Ebert), fire), 7.2 Computational Fluid Dynamics (General Approaches to Modeling Fluids, CFD Equations), 7.3 Chapter Summary.
The most recent reference for this chapter is 2007. Of 42 references 1 is from 2002, 2 from 2005 & 1 from 2007 - remainder are from 1980s and 1990s).
Chapter 8 Animating Biology by Jason Sharpe, Charles J. Lumsden, & Nicholas Woolridge
8.1 Intro, 8.2 Animation and Film Perception (seeing in brief & seeing motion & animation), 8.3 The Animator's Workflow (story - workflow's driving force), 8.4 The Three-Stage Workflow (Stage 1: Preproduction, Stage 2: Production, Stage 3: Postproduction, Putting It All Together), 8.5 Animation, 8.6 Maya (8.6.1 Procedures vs Keyframe Animation, 8.6.2 Keyframes and Memory, 8.6.3 The Animation Menu Set, 8.6.4 Setting Keys, 8.6.5 Auto Keyframe, 8.6.6 Graphing Animation, 8.6.7 Deleting Keys, 8.6.8 Time Units, 8.6.9 Playback Settings), 8.7 Tutorial 08.01: A Keyframe Animation (Preparation, Set the Keyframes, Play, Scrub, & Stop the Animation, Edit the Animation Curves, The Graph Editor Outliner, The Graph Editor Graph View, The Graph Editor Toolbar, Moving Keys), 8.8 Animation Nodes in the Hypergraph & Attribute Editor, 8.9 Tutorial 08.02: A Simple Procedures Animation (Animation Expression in Brief, Create an Animation Expression, Animation Expression Nodes). 8.10 Summary.
The most recent reference from Chapter 8 is 2008, of 8 references.
Chapter 9 Point-Based Animation by Matthias Muller-Fisher, Mark Pauly, Markus Gross, Richard Keiser, & Martin Wicke
9.1 Introduction, 9.2 Meshless Finite Elements (Overview, Continuum Elasticity, Meshless Discretization, Moving Least Equares Interpolation, Updating Strains & Stresses, Computation of Forces via Strain Energy, Animation of Elastic Objects, Plasticity, Passive Surfel Advection, Conclusion), 9.3 Animation of Fracturing Material (Overview, Historical Background, Modeling of Discontinuities, Surface Model, Crack Initiation and Propagation, Topology Control, Volumetric Sampling, Fracture Control, Simulation Pipeline, Conclusion), 9.4 Fluid Simulation (Overview, Simulation Methods, Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics, Surface Representation, Surface Tracking Using Point Samples, Conclusion), References.
The most recent reference from Chapter 9 is 2005, of 63 references.
Chapter 10 Maya Under the Hood by Mark R. Wilkins & Chris Kazmier
Chapter 11 MEL Animation by David A.D. Gould
Chapter 12 Examples Using MEL with Solid Body Dynamics by Mark R. Wilkins & Chris Kazmier
Chapter 13 Examples Using MEL in Character Rigging by Mark R. Wilkins & Chris Kazmier
The first three chapters are basically a history lesson on the world of animation. It's interesting if you didn't know anything but it will most likely bore people who are experienced in this field.
The next 4 chapters mainly deal with the programing, data, math and science aspects of things such as animating fluid motion, particle, facial, 3d tables, etc. Not exactly, topics a beginner would like and in fact would get bored by the math, generic code, and data file formats presented.
Chapter 8 was a little more interesting for me as it introduced Maya and biological animation. Pretty basic stuff and it has examples of Maya. However, assumption is made that you have experience with Maya which at this time I do not so the examples were lost as I don't have a frame of reference to draw on.
Chapter 9 was point based animation which goes back to concept discussion and math.
Chapters 10-13 involved Animating with MEL for Maya. Problem is again the assumption of being versed with Maya so much of it was lost as I am not.
As I mentioned this is not a book for a beginner. It is more of a reference experienced people especially with backgrounds in math, programming and graphics. If you are starting out with animation, you will not like this book.