Game Character Modeling and Animation with 3ds Max Paperback – 12 Oct 2007
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About the Author
Yancey Clinton is an internationally known Master of 3DS Max. Having taught 3ds before Max existed, back in the 'dark days' of DOS, he instructed thousands for new careers in the 3D arts. With his own freelance production company and over 15 years experience in 3D production, Yancey has worked on all different kinds 3D related projects, mostly for video games, print, and production. As one of the few Discreet Certified Instructor of 3ds Max, and an Adobe Certified Trainer, Yancey brings his rich background of production and instructional experience to the DMA programs. He lives in San Francisco.
Top customer reviews
The modelling technique outlined in the book really seemed quite unnatural and judging by the resulting images in the book, doesn't yield great results. It looks blocky, very messy and seems to take quite a bit longer than some of the more common techniques. I was also a little concerned about the lack of documention on deformation too, which is important considering the model is going to be animated.
The next section of the book covered unwrapping. Unfortunately it was also quite badly done and also lacked any real depth.
I only really glanced through the texturing part of the book because I was getting fed up at this point, but from what I saw of it, it didn't seem all that great. I can't really comment on the UT2004 section of the book as I had no interest in it.
All in all, I really wanted to give this book a chance but it seemed to just get worse the more I progressed with it. I quickly found myself referring to other sources for guidance. For a book aimed at a novice, I'd advise anyone new to character modeling to refer to other sources instead, as the methods outlined here are dated and inferior.
Furthermore the DVD which accompanies the text provides further support in terms of exercise files, demo software etc. The author is fluent in his use of technical language yet the text remains easy to understand and follow. The pacing is just right starting with the fundamentals and working through to incorporating the finished model into the Unreal engine.
The one criticism I would have of the text is that the actual model isn't completely realistic but this is so that anyone who intends using the book can successful implement the design. All of the key priciples are addressed but further artistic development may be required from those serious about character development.
In saying that I have yet to find a better text that covers all aspects like this.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I am the author, and I would like to respond to the concerns of the reviews already posted. First of all this book was made from a class I developed for teenagers approximately 11-16 years old, it’s in the introduction. The class was a summer school and only lasted a week, that’s five days to teach teenagers how to use 3DS Max and the Unreal Editor. In which they would create a character and put it in game so they can run around and shoot each other with their own character. After working in the field of 3D asset creation for more than 20 years and teaching for 10 of those I know the only way this class was possible was to make it as simple as possible. Most people with no 3D application experience at all can still understand 2D, so that’s the reason for unusual modeling technique based on “spline” or “NURBS” style of modeling. It’s ease for beginners to trace a “simple line drawing” in the front view then from the side view pull the vertexes in and out to make the model 3D. Another reason for making the model exactly the way I did was to make it easy to rig. If you make the model exactly the way I do you can rig the model with only 1 vertex that needs to be reassigned. That was the way I planned it, everything I did was to make it easy enough for teenagers to understand, and do in the shortest amount of time. This also goes to the question of “generating mapping coordinates” or mapping. This process is one of the hardest for the novice to grasp including polygonal layouts, especially pelt mapping. The technique I used takes minimal time and is easy for the novice to modify. Some of my students who went on the second week class were able to take the simple model they created from the first week and change it into about a dozen different characters. I would consider this a great success, so not only were they able to build assets for their own game mod, they were able to make another characters of their own design. As for the question of my background, yes I started my 3D carrier as a 3D designer using programs like Autocad, Cadkey, Pads 2000, it’s in the introduction. At the time I started my 3D carrier 3D programs were very basic, Alias Wavefront was developed in my home town, I visited them and they were coding the 3D, like “Sphere r:300 x0:y0:z0” so I decided design was the way to go, much better developed UI’s. So it took about 10 years for they to come along and 3D Studio r3 was my first true 3D program. One final note on tutorials, I have seen literally thousands, they never explained an entire production pipeline, and even it is in its most basic form. Most assume that the viewer has touched a 3D program and understands the lingo. This was not my audience; it was teenagers at summer camp that had never used a 3D program. From the reactions and productions generated this was a very successful and a fun class for the kids. I only wish that when I was a kid they had camps like this. I hope those of you looking for a good summer project for your Xbox child would take my book into consideration.
Sincerely, Yancey Clinton
The author seems to have very little in the way of artistic ability in that the anatomy of the model is ridiculous and this stems from his bizarre, convoluted and laborious technique of developing a character mesh by `drawing' individual vertices then connecting them together (utter nonsense - most established 3D artists start with approximate primary forms as in fine art; and then work into them with low poly tools) this technique is prehistoric and ill advised as it is unnatural, time consuming and generates an appallingly uneven non-organic mesh I'm open to different ways of doing things; but this is a highly questionable an unintelligible approach to creating a character model and certainly ill advised for those wishing to learn how to model.
The author seems to have very little in the way of artistic ability in that his procedure for generating texture coordinates on his `mutant' anatomical character involves using lots of dated techniques which although are a means to getting the job done with zero finesse are hardly representative of easier, modern cutting edge approaches to organic texture creation in 3D Studio Max (i.e. like using the Pelt mapping gizmo designed purely for this purpose which has been in 3DS for years now - how long ago did the author write this book exactly?). Again I appreciate there are many ways of doing things but surely as this book has just been released it should be representative of what is going on now. All I can presume is that the author is an engineer posing as a 3D artist.
Its not all bad but there are far more useful, current and informed tutorials out there for free on the web; written by talented 3D artists who know what they are talking about from individual experience - no comment.
The example is where this book lacks it's potential. The concept art used to model from is weak. It is a basic line drawing you would expect from a 14 year old. And from this reference art you can go through the process of creating inproportional character. I believe realism is what many people shoot for and the example is missing some of that realism.
This book I would recommend for someone that is struggling with the process but would just need to preface it, saying the techniques that the book is trying to get across are important, but do not rely on the examples to get a job.
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