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on 1 August 2006
If you use 3DSMAX there is no reason why you shouldn't own this book! It will astronomically increase your understanding of procedural texturing using many multiple nested maps, Particle flow, legacy particles and other fancy trickery i never knew existed until buying this book.

I have worked through the first 4-5 tutorial and can honeslty say that my own knowledge has grown exponentially (I am a 3D art hobbyist 2yrs exp) and now i find myself attempting things and problem solving in a whole new way after working through only 1/10th of the books content.

Awesome colour images every step of the way and tons of reference images / movie files are also supplied on the DVD as well as the best video tutorial i've ever seen! (a teapot entering a planets atmosphere and violently burning as it heats up!)

Congrats to Pete draper on creating, in my opinion, the best 3D learning resource out there.
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on 13 November 2006
If your looking for creating some quite convincing effects without plugins, this is the book for you.

Book is aimed mainly at the intermediate user, but after working through autodesks good tutorials in 3dsmax, this book is a snap.

Ever wanted to combine live video with CGI effects? do what the film makers do in most modern films?

Would recommend this book to anyone interested in film or game productions.

Structure of the book is well laid out, each section (Earth, water, fire and air) is sectioned nicely, and such is each section that you can jump to an effect that interests you (or require), and not worry about it asking for information contained in previous sections - can tend to repeat some things in each section, but personally prefer this method.

Much easier to follow than some of the books in previous years.

Would give it a 5 star rating, but the DVD was a bit of a pain, badly pressed disc gave some trouble, but made a copy, and works great now.

Files all contained in relevant sections and rendered clips of what you do from the tutorials provided.

Another nice thing about this book involves "Taking further", which gives ideas on how each effect can be taken further (adding glows, particles). Also has some additional material of tutorials not featured in the book, and some video tutorials if you get stuck.

Thumbs up for this book - look forward to seeing more books like this
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on 18 February 2014
For anyone familiar with Autodesk Max, they will be aware that there are very many different ways to achieve particular end results including using third party plug ins. This book is not specific to any particular version of the Max software which truth to tell, is fundamentally the same as it was when first launched but now runs more reliably on better hardware.

If you are a complete novice then I suspect that this book will be pretty useless to you because it is not about learning Max from the beginning and assumes an intermediate level of familiarity with the program. However, for anyone at that level and wanting to squeeze a bit more out from the basic program, it is a very good reference. The style is rather like the Scott Kelby's "Down and Dirty" books on Photoshop, particular effects are demonstrated in a walk through way or workflow sequence, from there you can experiment and extend the principles for yourself. For what it does, an excellent reference to have on your bookshelf.
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on 13 June 2013
I have to say I was rather disappointed with this cook book. I anticipated that I would be able make use of examples via the online details stated. The web url no longer excists and does not redirect and the examples were not in synch with the text.
I also found it frustrating that as an e book I am unable to zoom in on the images. This would have supported the text and possibly overcome the missing assets.
Yes it is highly technical and I bought it specifically for guidance and inspiration on sun and solar flares. Despite seevral attempts I simply failed to get it up and running.
I tried contacting the author via the emails stated in the text - but no response.
All in all - better off sticking to the freebie stuff on the web and having this as a decoration on the book shelf until you really are expert at which point this book will be a weighty tombe of work of immense benefit
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on 18 December 2009
Pete Draper is clearly an expert in the field of visual effects within 3DS max but he is also very good as a tutor, not only does he know his stuff he knows how to communicate it well and guides you through the processes he uses without over complicating, over simplifying or omitting any relevant information.

What you get with this book are 12 tutorials based around "the four elements", but if thats not enouugh it also includes access to the companion website that has many more tutorials and resources.

This is an excellent book for the confident 3DS user that does not teach you how to use the software but how to use the software to a high potential.
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on 16 March 2012
Well I bought his last version of this book about 6 years ago (mountain on the front), which I thought was a bit better than this book for the time it was released.

The tutorials are still great, and I'm glad I bought it.

Pete Draper knows his stuff in this area better than anyone else I can think of, and I'll be sure to buy the next release... even though lots of the books cover things you already know, it's the details and things you didn't know about which come across so well and make them so worth owning for general reference use.
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on 11 October 2011
This book is not for the feint hearted but it is absolutely brilliant, as are the tutorials videos and files you can download from Pete's website once registered with the code in your book.

Although I haven't been through all the tutorials I have thumbed through them for hints on techniques.

So if you're looking for great environmental modelling and techniques this book is definitely recommended.
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on 6 February 2013
Great resource for 3d artists. Although a lot of plugins are out there to streamline the effects in this book, it's good to learn the theory and methods behind building the effects - which is where this book really excels. Definitely worth having as a reference if you are involved in 3d and visual effects with a wealth of knowledge from 3ds max master Pete Draper.
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on 24 February 2009
The first thing to consider when buying this book is the amount of content you get. You will get all the tutorials of the previous book as well as all the new ones. That's about 20 high quality video tutorials and probably 30 written tutorials all with included project files in total. One particular video tutorial is nearly 4 hours long, that's more than what you get when you buy a Gnomon DVD.

And it's not quantity over quality, it's very evident Pete has put a lot of time into the research and development of every singly tutorial. They all include reference images and videos, multiple scene files and every map used. Both the written tutorials and the video tutorials start off with studying the reference footage before actually beginning in 3ds max. This is something a lot of people forget, your work can only be as good as your references. At least in terms of realism.

The online content is also working perfectly now. It only took me a couple of hours to download every single video and project file from the site.

This book is great for just learning different aspects of 3d and 3ds Max, but it's also invaluable that time you find yourself struggling with a specific project.

Bottom line: You won't find more content and better value in any other 3d book out there.
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on 2 December 2013
I have not yet started working the tutorials, but I have browsed through the book and the tutorials seems easy to follow and will give great results - especially with the "Taking it further" chapter in the end of each tutorial.
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