Papervision3D Essentials Book: Learn All, The Easy Way

image I just finished the book of Packt Publishing called "Papervision3D Essentials", and I really enjoyed it. This is an excellent manual for Papervision3D. You may start having no idea of this Flash technology and end being an intermediate developer, on the way to be an expert.

Jeff Winder and Paul Tondeur, two skilled Flash developers, are the authors of this book. They have a deep knowledge of all these technologies and make easy to get deep into Papervision3D.

I think the best way to help you choose to buy this book is to tell you what's inside, so here it goes:

Chapter 1 tells you how to configure your system to work with Papervision3D, using Flash Builder or Flex Builder.

Don't wanna spend a penny? There is an open source alternative, though. It is called FlashDevelop. I have tested it and works great. These are some links to start with FlashDevelop as IDE for Papervision3D:

FlashDevelop home page

Installation steps for FlashDevelop

Simple configuration guide

How to setup FlashDevelop for Papervision3D

Chapter 2 is an intro to object oriented programming in Papervision3D, and how to create the basic structure of a P3D file, and a template for future quick creation of P3D documents.
If you are familiar to another OOP like me, you will find P3D syntax very easy, even if you have no idea of ActionScript.

Chapter 3 introduces you to Papervision3D primitives, and everything that is related to them, followed by explanations on how to parent objects to other objects or group them together, so all the transformations applied to the parent affect the associated children objects.

In chapter 4 the authors tell you about P3D materials, how to assign them, including how to make materials that are double-sided, flip them or use a movie or a streamed video as a texture.

Papervision3D has a number of different camera types, and all them are described in chapter 5. You will learn these camera types, and what are they for, their differences and everything related to them. You will also learn how to add basic navigation to an object so the user can move it. The chapter ends with the explanation of concepts like culling and clipping applied to Papervision3D.

After this, chapter 6 is centered in animation, showing how to move the camera inside the 3D worlds, but also other objects. Mouse and keyboard will be used to move them, and we will also learn how to create animations and guided tours. The third person view and first person view, so useful when we deal with virtual worlds, games, and any immersive application, will also be covered.

In the following chapter, you will see how Papervision3D has different shading modes, and also the possibility of using bump maps and reflection, even mirror effects.

Building 3D scenes with only primitives may be challenging, so Papervision3D can also import an external model. On chapter 8 you will learn how to model for P3D, and import your models. The authors explain the basic steps for applications like 3D Studio Max, Google Sketchup, and Blender (want a good book for blender?).

Chapter 9 is about Z-sorting, a common problem in P3D, and how to solve it using viewport layers. This may not sound very exciting, but it's of great help for the developer.

Particle effects have basic support in Papervision3D, but the book explains how to use an external open source library called Flint to achieve exciting effects. The book also tells you about billboards and their advantages and disadvantages compared to particles, in chapter 10.

As you may know, Flash has many visual effects, and they can also be applied to 3D, as chapter 11 explains. Things like fog, reflection, blur, glow, manipulate transparency of objects, change all this dynamically, create vapor, a comet trail, fire, smoke, apply this all to a viewport, layer effects, illusion of depth...

With this chapter, and the following (chapter 12), you can see that you can use the best of both worlds of Flash, 2D and 3D.  Include 3D text, using fonts, adding interactivity to text, drawing lines, vectors, and 2D shapes to your 3D scene.

The last chapter (13) is about optimization. Anyone that makes worlds for use in Internet knows that optimization is essential. Optimizing allows you to do more with less resources. The book tells you different techniques for this, ranging from basic optimization tips to optimizing the different aspects of a scene: materials, objects, shading, rendering.

So that is what you'll find.  Even if you have no idea of ActionScript, but some notions of OOP, you will get results from this book.

This is one of the most neat and useful computer books that I have faced in years. It is full of pure knowledge explained in an easy way.

So don't hesitate and get it, it may make a perfect gift too. This book may be the best way to get you started in Papervision3D, one of the most innovative Flash technologies of our days for interactive 3D in the Web.

Get Papervision3D Essentials

-Jordi R. Cardona-

© 2008 by Jordi R. Cardona. Link to this post without copying the text.

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