Photo-based 3D Graphics in C++: Compositing, Warping, Morphing and Other Digital Special Effects Paperback – 18 Sep 1995
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From the Back Cover
Everything you need to create spectacular special effects on your PC a complete hands–on guide/toolkit for developers and artists
Digital image compositing is both a powerful tool for envisioning ideas and information, and a versatile artistic medium allowing users unlimited freedom to construct novel images from any number of original sources. Now this book/disk set arms you with everything you need to produce sophisticated digital special effects on your computer, including many of the image processing techniques and algorithms used to create the amazing effects seen in movies and computer games. With an emphasis on practical applications, it features clear, step–by–step guidance and handy software tools that make it easier than ever for newcomers and experienced professionals alike to:
- Create photo–realistic 2D and 3D composited images
- Perform image warping, morphing, simulation, and other sophisticated image processing techniques
- Develop new and exciting ways to visualize data
- C++ code for all functions and tools described in the book
- The Image Compositor′s Toolkit demonstrates all the techniques and enables you to create your own composited images
The only purely applications–oriented, how–to book on the subject, Photo–Based 3D Graphics in C++ is a valuable resource for software developers, graphics programmers, artists, and anyone interested in exploring the vast potential of this exciting medium.
About the Author
TIM WITTENBURG is a team leader at Ameridata Consulting, who specializes in image processing, modeling, and simulation. He developed flight simulator technology for the U.S. Air Force and holds two patents in image processing.
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I should have first recognized that there would be a problem when I started reading about the time the author spent working with the "Windows 95 beta 3". Sure enough, the book was published in 1995, and contains quite a bit of information specific to Win 3.1 and the 95 beta. It also has a chapter devoted to the Borland C++ 4.5 compiler with an appendix on using the code with Visual C++ 2.0.(!) The enclosed disk (3.5" floppy) contains software written by the author, called "The Image Compositor's Toolkit", which is basically the compilation of the source code included in the book. The disk requires an installation of the software before you can access the source code or images.
The book proposes to cover topics in image compositing such as alpha blending, warping, morphing, and 3-d transforms. However, it does not go into key areas such as color keying (bluescreen or greenscreen), color correction, gamma adjustments, or shadow control. The section on warping is woefully inadequate, considering only the case of flat-plane 3-D transforms, though he does deal with perspective. The only mention of mesh warping is a lone paragraph in the section on morphing, which simply states "... A mesh of splines is then formed between the two lists of vertices. The splines are used to vary the contents of each image over a series of frames". There is no discussion of how the contents of each image are varied, no discussion of interpolation, not even a discussion of keyframing or tweening. The morphing example provided is very simple, and is little more than a "cross-dissolve" using an alpha mask, and does no image warping at all. To be fair, mesh warping is not an easily programmed task, but to provide only a brief mention that it exists is a pretty glaring omission in a book that states that it is "Everything you need to create spectacular special effects on your PC".
There are two bits of information that this book provides that can withstand the test of time: basic image handling in Windows (using device contexts to work with bitmaps), and a nice treatise on 3-D transforms using matrix algebra that is clear and easy to understand. However, that same information is available in other books on image processing, and I can't recommend buying this book for those sections alone.
This would be a good second or third reference for someone exploring image compositing, but I would not make it a first purchase.
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