Game Development Books
Blender Master Class: A Hands-On Guide to Modeling, Sculpting, Materials, and Rendering
By Ben Simonds
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Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook
Published January 2011
Amazon.com Sales Rank: 1,876,728
Availability: Usually ships in 24 hours
Blender 2.5 is one of the most usable 3D suites available. Its material and texture functions offer spectacular surface creation possibilities. It can take you hours just to create basic textures and materials in Blender and when you think of creating complex materials and textures you are petrified. Imagine how you will feel when you overcome these obstacles.
This book wastes no time on boring theory and bombards you with examples of ready-created materials and textures from the start, with clear instructions on how they were created, and what you can learn from them for making your own. It covers all core Blender functions you will ever need to easily create perfect simulation of objects from the simplest to the most complex ones.
The book begins with recipes that show you how to create natural surface materials, including a variety of pebbles, rocks, wood, and water, as well as man-made metals, complete with rust. By utilizing some of the easiest-to-use animation tools available, you will be able to produce accurate movement in mesh objects. Familiarize yourself with a plethora of tools that will help you to effectively organize your textures and materials.
You will learn how to emulate the reflective properties of natural materials and how to simulate materials such as rusted iron, which is difficult to make believable. Transparency and reflection are both tricky natural surface properties to simulate but these recipes will make it easy. Explore ways to speed up animations by using special painting techniques to significantly lower render times. By the end of the book, you will be able to simulate some of the most difficult effects to recreate in any 3D suite, such as smoke, fire, and explosions.
A practical book packed with powerful techniques and solutions for adding materials and textures to your Blender projects
GDNet Staff Review:
Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook is quite a bit different from other "how to make textures for 3D" books that I've read. Typically those books are tutorials for a 2D bitmap editor, usually Adobe Photoshop, where you're shown how to apply brushes and filters and such until you've made a rather convincing brick or steel or rust or whatever. Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook dispenses entirely with creation of the textures and shows you how to use the Materials panel in Blender to create realistic textures. And these textures are built out of any combination of colors and/or bitmaps and/or procedural materials to make something realistic.
And this is important to know, as Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook isn't just a generic "how to make textures" book. It's all about Blender. Pretty-much everything in the book is done in Blender. You're not gently ushered elsewhere to make your materials. You'll build materials and apply them to models entirely within Blender. Which stands to reason, as Blender is capable of doing everything, so why not do it there?
Another advantage of the book's approach is that it's platform-agnostic and free. No matter what platform you're on, you'll be able to follow along. You're not required to purchase the bitmap editor and/or OS of the author's choice to make use of this book. Gimp is mentioned a couple of times as an example of a free bitmap editor, but you'll need to look elsewhere for how to use it. Also, this means that the book does not require you to purchase anything else. Too many times, I've read books about how to make some kind of asset for a programming system, and you suddenly find yourself roped into purchasing $500 worth of software just to follow along.
But that also means that you're on your own when it comes to creating bitmaps. While high-quality bitmap editing software is free nowadays, the know-how to use it effectively is not. Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook is all about the Materials editor and UV Mapping, but not 2D bitmap drawing.
If I had a beef with Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook, it'd be with its lack of color. While color isn't necessary in every danged programming tutorial that arrives on my doorstep, there are some places in this book where color would have been very helpful. While the example rock texture does look properly granite-y, does it look as good as the (grayscale) photograph it's using as a prototype?
As with the previous Packt Publishing title I mentioned last week, Blender 2.5 Materials and Textures Cookbook is quite a bit better deal as an ebook on their website. For about the same price as the paper copy on Amazon, you can get the paper copy and the ebook on their site. Or you can just get the ebook and save quite a bit.
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