Clear and concise about what it does and what it doesn't, put simply if you're only going to buy one book on compositing then this is the one to get - even if you have the first edition consider getting this; the layout has been greatly enhanced with the colour coded sections which make it easier to read and more noticeable the colour images which are used to great effect are now easier to understand. Staying away from being a program's manual it instead focuses on the techniques and principles which are always explained simply whilst giving hints and prods as to, artistically, make what you doing a better piece - this book is widely known as the compositors bible, and upon reading it you to will wonder what you did without it.
I work in VFX and was told my many people that this is a must read. It is almost like a bible for anyone working in the industry and after reading it, can understand why it has such high praise. Anyone who is a compositor or interesting in becoming one has to own a copy of this
I bought this book whilst considering making a career change into the VFX field. I still haven't made that jump, but I found the book a really interesting read. It covered lots of useful topics, and gave me an interesting grounding in the subject. I don't doubt that were I involved in the field, it would be a daily reference manual!
The digital compositor has recently received as much acknowledgement and appreciation in his work as the cameraman and director. Never before have there been so many films that have had some subtle or blatantly obvious compositing. Although compositing is only part of the production process it is however a vast and often complex area to get to grips with. Ron Brinkman has very delicately taken the major processes of compositing and broken them down into easy to understand steps, which often go in to great depth and therefore lead to a good understanding of all the processes and techniques involved. With his great experience he has passed on some fundamental tips and examples. Sometimes I felt that there should be a few more illustrations and images to explain some of the processes but generally there are clear and precise explanations. A world of warning, I would not recommend this book to those who do not have a basic knowledge of digital imagery. As the cover suggests, there is a degree of science involved! As a experience compositor myself, I would however recommend it as a great companion for those who want to learn or are quite experienced in compositing.
I can't recommend this enough - the definitive overview of the subject, from the most basic principles of how we and the camera see the world to in-depth compositing examples from major movies, it's got something for everyone. Even if you already know pretty much all of it, Brinkman's lucid and perfectly laid out overview is packed with fascinating detail, so it's ideal for both practising compositors and anyone who wants to get a broad understanding of the field. As one of the guys who originally developed Shake (but note that the book is not in any way application specific), he really knows what he's talking about from the inside and he's drawn on a wealth of experience from colleagues at the very top of their game.
He writes simply and well about even the most complicated stuff. It's a book every compositor will want to have and keep handy - the excellent structure means it's a great work of reference.
My only reservation is that for me I could have done with more detailed discussion of the "techniques" of the title, as apart from the specific movie examples at the end of the book (which are written up by the teams that executed those individual projects rather than Brinkman himself and are of varying usefulness), it's much more a work of theory and principles than it is of specifics. This new edition is pretty much right up to date but the author is the first to admit that it's an incredibly rapidly evolving discipline. All in all, well worth the investment.