This book is an excellent introduction to 3ds Max 4, and useful for those of us that have been using Max since version 1 as well. It is well written by an obviously authoritative author - even if his style is a little abrasive, even condescending sometimes. The USP of this book is its focus on producing a digital movie start to finish - not just techy blow-by-blow accounts of the multitude of functions in Max. I own it and recommend it.
If this book had been proof read I'd give it 5/5. Some fairly serious jumps of procedure have been taken in some places. By chapter 4 you will be seriously wondering why your available bump map parameters are not the same as described!! On the amazon.com site the author admits this is his fault. It's just frustrating as a total beginner when you spend two hours banging your head on the table and then open up the book CD example which is using different maps, frame no.s, etc. to what the book instructs. Chapter 4 was particulary annoying when the author forgot to mention that cloud map had to be created in the diffuse map. As a total beginner the 'follow the steps and then hit a brick wall' problems can be very annoying. A lot of the examples were also zipped up on the CD as well(loads of spare room). Annoying when you can't run everything from one source automatically or from the non-existent CD directories listed in the book. Enough moaning anyway. As instructional tool when it's right it's good. As the author admits it won't show you everything but the project is good enough to fire your imagination and inspire you to further you 3ds knowledge more than diving into something like the 3ds bible would as a first book. I looked through a number of tutorial based books and this had the 'I want to do that' factor. Recommened as long as realise some of the tutorials don't work exactly as instructed. Just take two minutes to think about what you think you should do rather than what you're being told in text and it'll work!(hopefully)If you go to amazon.com the author has left an email address so pester him if you get stuck! Has the magic inspiration factor but please proof read it next time!!!!
I started working in Max4 using 3ds max In Depth. This provided me with alot of technical info, but there was no insight into the creative aspect of working with 3ds. 3ds 4 Workshop made my introduction alot easier by going through the creative processes and introducing new terms and content with a relaxed 'for the beginner' type of attitude. Although this book does not go deeply in-depth, it provides you with the basic understanding of MAX by guiding you through all levels of production of a one minute project about Area51(for all you sci-fi-heads). This book has made it easy fo me to understand Max and has prepared me for more demanding projects.