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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 November 2010
I think this is the first book based on Blender's radical user-interface overhaul, so I decided it was a must-buy.

For the confused, the title is a bit misleading. Blender 2.6 is a long way off, and even 2.55 is currently available only as a beta version. This means that occasionally the book refers to an as-yet unavailable feature or hot-key.

As you would expect from this established Blender author (and nice guy!), his book is very, very good. Not only does it cover a vast amount of what Blender can do, but at various points it also gives you a heads-up on related matters that it DOESN'T cover.

Chapters include:
The interface
Animation basics
Modelling a scene
Modelling and rigging a character (including hair)
Adding textures
Using the 'sculpt' tool
Shape keys and morphing
And stuff like cloth, force fields, soft bodies, particles, etc.
And a final chapter on Video compilation and final output.

It's a great book, and only a few things prevented me from giving it a 5-star review. The MAIN one is that when I buy a book, I prefer it to be 'stand alone'. If someone new to Blender picks up this book, they have NO CHANCE at all of making sense of it unless they're prepared to frequently visit the associated website. The book doesn't give nearly enough step-by-step illustrations - instead, it tells you that you'll find them on the website, together with various other videos etc. (which I admit, are all very good - but I would have preferred them on a DVD, making the book a 'complete' product.)

Maybe this is just a personal thing - if it doesn't bother you, then consider this a four-and-a-half star review. The missing half-star is because of some fairly serious errata (which, again, is put right on the website... mostly.)

Despite these reservations, I recommend the book very much. If you're uncertain whether or not to purchase, why not visit the website in advance? (blenderfoundationsDOTcom)
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on 9 May 2011
As someone totally new to Blender I find this book an excellent starting point. I have not read it from cover to cover but have dipped into the parts that I find most useful. I also use it together with the mass of information available online. There is some confusion with the different versions of blender, I am using 2.57, and some screens do not match the book, but that is not the authors fault, and I would rather have a book which is a little ahead of the game. My personal opinion is that too much of the book was devoted to animation and not enough to modelling but it obviously depends on what the reader wants to get out of Blender. On the whole well worth the money.
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on 30 December 2014
Don't bother, there is nothing in this book that you can not find for free online. The tutorials are boring and after reading it cover to cover I am beyond disappointed.
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on 12 February 2011
Having given up trying to learn Blender using online tutorials, I turned to this book - expecting it to be hard work and something of a slog.

What I found was perhaps the best introduction to a 3D program I've read in a long time. It's diagrams are clear (and in colour), it expertly explain modelling, molding, and animation, and I can say now I feel quite at home using the new version of Blander.

So why not five stars? I found the chapter on textures and materials a little confusing and there weren't any tutorials on using the game/physics engine. That said, don't let that put you off. If you understand everything in this book, you'll be way ahead of the curve and be able to produce really interesting renders.
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on 5 September 2010
This is definitely one of the best books written about any graphical program. The whole complexity of Blender would demand similarly complex book about it. However, this book manages to present huge quantity of information in a shortest possible manner and still keeps it very entertaining and useful. In just about few hours from when you start reading you will have a great understanding of 3D in general and of Blender UI and how best to use it. Both of these topics are vast but author manages to introduce this in such a way that after few hours of reading and working with Blender you feel like you gained years worth of knowledge.

After this initial introduction you start building your project which takes you through the rest of the book. Again, you will be taken through a series of very difficult tasks in a way that is fun, educative and very condense. These tasks will cover all the aspects of Blender including modelling, materials, textures, ligthing, compositing, etc., and along the way you will gain even more insight in how best to use Blender's complex interface to minimize your work flow.

Another good thing about this book is that author promises to help you along the way, and says he usually responds within 24 hours if you have any questions. I didn't really expect that until I really did ask him something, and he responded within two hours - on Saturday :)
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on 16 January 2013
I am actually writing this review due to the fact that I am about to write a less positive review of a different instructional book, and was trying to identify what I was I so dearly disliked about that particular failing example. I quizzed my mind for an example of a good instructional book and this one sprung immediately to mind.

Firstly, this IS instructional. Not merely describing what might be achieved, it clearly describes how you can achieve the results in the book as well as being interesting. It is both well illustrated with clear, relevant and plentiful images, and is well referenced in terms of identifying the correct figures throughout passages.

I think it is important to note (again bearing in mind the unfavorable review I shall shortly pen for another title), that the information provided in this book cannot be obtained by watching a few youtube tutorials. Certainly all of it can if you watch lots and lots and lots of videos, but by then you will have probably forgotten some of the fundamentals. This book clean explains the way blender operates, teaches you how to use it and explains the numerous ways of achieving the same result (e.g keyboard shortcuts versus menus as a very basic example of this). This is a book that condenses down a lot of the useful information available widely into a single useful and accessible source.

I have a number of books on blender and this is by far the best. Would definitely recommend.
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on 24 August 2011
I decided before I even started using blender that I was not going to get lost in a sea of online video tutorials, dipping in here and there and learning little. So I got this book, started at page 1 and that was that. Roland Hess knows his subject, but more importantly can write about it in a way that is very readable. You will achieve far more than you imagined you could in a very short amount of time. It's a long book, but whilst you should definitely start at the beginning if you're a novice, you don't necessarily have to finish it. I probably got about half way through before moving on to other projects, and am now ready to get back to it after several months. It can be quite heavy going, so you have to apply yourself - think of it as like a school text book, and your dedication will pay off. This book was written for the beta version of blender 2.5 but is still perfectly appropriate to the latest blender release. Pay a bit of money, get a good book on your desk, don't look back!
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on 26 December 2012
I'm still only about a third of the way through this book but it is teaching me so much about Blender 3D, that if I can remember it all at the end, then I know I will be an accomplished "Blender Head", of cause, if I forget things (at my age of 75, it is normal to forget) then I can just use the book for reference, which is easy, as it has a good index at the back of the book.

Billy Boy
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on 14 March 2013
Absolutely fantastic book!

Takes anyone from an absolute beginner, and through building your own animation short, shows them the way of Blender 2.6 and it's features. I've tried a few Blender books, but this was the one that made me stick at it, and taught me the most.

I couldn't put it down, and if I didn't need to sleep / work, I would have finished the book in one sitting!

My only problem with it, is that the drawings needed if you want to create the models yourself (instead of downloading the Authors) are a bit of a trek through the internet to find them - although in reality, that's what you tend to do anyway if you are modelling something realistic!
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on 5 June 2012
Good idea, planned and executed badly. Starts off well but, by chapter 4, tiny but vital omissions start creeping in. By the end of chapter 7, the writer has clearly abandoned his target audience and given up on his original idea.
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