Bender3D is one of the most popular 3D modelers. It is open source and has been used in the making of many cinema productions, and in the development of many computer games.
This book, Blender 3D 2.49 Incredible Machines, tells you how to construct machines that doesn't exist in our world, but belong to sci-fi or steampunk fantasy, and have amazing capabilities.
This title is focused to those that already know how to model with Blender, and uses a project-based learning approach. You learn following several projects, that are like tutorials, and you learn the workflows, the tricks, and everything in this easy way.
The author also gives you some hints on how is the usual workflow in a software (games) company. You are given some concept art, and you model using them as a reference. These reference images can be downloaded from Packt Publishing's site.
The book illustrates its lessons with 3 projects: a handgun, a steam punk spacecraft, and a transforming robot.
As you read, you are introduced to the different modeling techniques, their advantages and disadvantages for every project.
In the first project, you learn how to model from a reference image. You'll also get deep into YafaRay. If you remember, YafRay was the renderer used in the other book by Allan Brito. This application is now called YafaRay. They changed its name because of a complete rewrite and improvement of the source code.
YafaRay runs, like Blender, on Windows, Linux, and Mac Os X, and can integrate with Blender.
And what about texturing? You are told everything: advanced UV mapping with Blender, the use of procedural textures and image-based textures, layered UV layouts, UV map edition, exporting texture maps to modify them in graphics edition applications (like GIMP).
In the chapter about the spacecraft, special effects using particles are explained, and we get deeper into YafaRay's use of materials and lighting.
The last chapter may be very exciting for animators, because it's about how to build a transforming robot. In this chapter, we switch to LuxRender for rendering engine.
LuxRender can pause and resume a render, even resume the render in another computer, and also runs in all major platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux).
Like with YafaRay, the use of materials and lighting in LuxRender is also explained, and even more: render and animate lights, make videos, and change some aspects of the final result while it's still being rendered (a feature of LuxRender).
The language is plain and you can notice how the author masters the art of teaching, because it reads fast and everything is understandable.
If you got the other book by Allan Brito ("Blender 3D Architecture, Buildings, And Scenery"), or if you already have some experience with Blender, this book will help you to start building sci-fi machines, and tell you techniques that you will surely use in your own 3D projects:
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