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Inside LightWave v9 5th , Kindle Edition
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|Length: 746 pages||Optimised for larger screens|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
First, this is good training. Dan rarely skips steps, and is incredibly attentive to pointing out where to find tools and the name of the tool being used. This is a huge relief to an amateur, and almost pushes me into giving this 5 stars. Even using version 9.6, his explanations are clear enough that this book is still relevant (if you're willing to do some extra googling & helpfile lookups to fill in the blanks from 9.2). The projects are interesting, giving you good-looking renders to be proud of. Dan's obviously passionate about what he does, and it's infectious. Each chapter feels energetic and fun.
Of course, I have a few nits to pick. Things that would've made the process quicker & less frustrating. There are editing problems that get increasingly problematic as the chapters progress. By Chapter 11 there are missing steps in the examples, a scene file on the DVD that was never finished (a couple of the scene elements are there, but a lot of work needs to be done to get it to the point assumed by the book), and a general feeling that the author didn't get enough time to finish what was outlined. I'd be happier if I could've found an Errata or Corrections document somewhere to save me time.
Additionally, the author needs to keep in mind that the audience is NOT a classroom. Providing a node review in the CH11a_NodeIntro video - while mentioning that this material was covered in a CH3 video, *then proceeding to review anyway* doesn't make sense. I can open the CH3 video if I want a review. Covering the same material twice is a duplication & waste of the number of hours' video instruction that was claimed to be included with the book.
Minor cons, relative to the pros - but it'd be nice to see better followthrough and organization to match the high quality in the other areas.
I bought Dan's book used, and it was listed as very good condition; however after I received it, it was sans the Dvd rom. I'm not giving the book a bad review as this has nothing to do with the book, this is more a caveat for any perspective buyers out there that if you can find out if the book includes the disc before-hand find out. The info in the book is still great and you'll learn a lot, but the extra exercises will more than likely really help cement the knowledge home. I'll be taking a chance on getting another copy in hopes of getting the Dvd next time. The book is that good.
Also of value on the DVD, the videos extend the tutorials in the book. They aren't just a recap of the book tutorials; they're additional content, and they're quite good. There's so much video content, in fact, he couldn't fit it all on the DVD. There's additional free material on the author's website, though. As of August 2007 there are no videos available for chapters 15 and 16, though the chapter 14 video seems to indicate that there are. Also, there are objects and scenes missing from the DVD that are supposed to be used in the chapters 15 and 16 tutorials.
For many of the chapters I felt the book tutorials didn't go far enough, like they had ended too soon. The videos are necessary to continue the tutorial. While I gave credit for this additional material above, this is also a drawback to this book. I bought a book because I like that format. The videos are nice, but I prefer printed tutorials. As the book is already a hefty 700 pages, I'll just have to conclude that LightWave tutorials of this depth just don't fit in one book.
Also of note, this is very much a learn-by-example book. It is comprised almost entirely of tutorials. Remember that you have LightWave's manual as a reference, and Mr. Ablan reminds you of that throughout this book.
LightWave is a very deep program and this book doesn't cover every option available. It does cover a great deal of material, though. You'll get more than just a taste of what the program can do. The tutorials are easy to follow, and perhaps credit to the LightWave program itself, when Mr. Ablan tells you to do something you've done before, without explaining it again, you'll usually not cry out, "I don't remember how to do that!" Things that need to be explained are explained.
The Node Editor is a huge new addition to LightWave. Mr. Ablan does a fine job explaining how to use it, but in just one book he can only scratch the surface in explaining how to achieve specific effects. I hope the lighting and texturing books I've ordered cover this in more detail. If Mr. Ablan wrote a whole book about the Node Editor I'd surely get a copy.
Pretty much everything you need to learn Lightwave is in this book. Also Lightwave pros will still be able to use it for reference. I refer to it a few times a week and I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about Lightwave.
In conclusion, if you use Lightwave you need this book. Enough said!
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