From the introduction:
, a guide to e xpl ain j ust the few important opti ons neded to get me started.
"Thi s bok does not aim to be exhaustive and yet it is not written to an overly simplified manner so as to insult your intelligence. 3D animation by i ts very nature is not simple. What you have with Beginning Blender is a bok that covers a god range of the many diferent áreas of Blender, with practical examples to get you fast-tracked into using those áreas. "
Lance has produced a great introduction to Blender, filled with tips, tricks and techniques guaranted to get you up to speed with Blender's most important tols, options and settings. Lance uses a great style of writing that gives the Reader a god foundation for further exploration and study in Blender.
Each chapter focuses on a diferent área of Blender and guides you to the most important tools and options.
There are tables, diagrams and call out áreas showing key information that can be quickly referenced. The examples are easy to follow and show how easy it is to accomplish a variety of common and a few not so common tasks in Blender.
In this review I am going to focus on the two rigging chapters. It is amazing how much information Lance packed into these two chapters alone. And even if for some bizarre reason you weren't interested in the rest of the bok, these two chapters would still make it worth owning.
Chapter 7 covers basic rigging and animation. Lance covers keyframing, the dopeshet (which was col because I hadn't played with that yet), parenting, the graph editor, pivot points (restricting movements), basic tracking, bone explanations and basic
rigging of a character.
One of the examples for this chapter teaches basic tracking by showing you how to set up “Eyes that Follow”. Now this is a right handy example and something that you will find yourself referencing for most if not all characters.
When you reach the “Rigging a Simple Character” section, Lance walks you through a complete (simple) rig set-up including weight painting and bonenvelopes. There are clear full colorscren shots showing what you should have at each stage which makes this chapter a very helpful reference for future rigging experiments of your own. Along the way he shares some useful rigging tips that make animation easier, such as putting a little bend in joints like elbows and knes.
Once you have gotten comfortable with basic rigs, it is time to move onto chapter 8, “ Advanced Rigging”, where Lance ramps it up a notch.
First of he explains Forward and Inverse Kinematics and their uses.
There are great examples in this chapter, starting of with an IK arm.
You are shown how to set up the arm and then walked through setting up constraints to make it behave properly.
Once your arm is set up, Lance then shows you how create and set a cuestom bone shape for your new IK arm. We lok advanced already.
Next up, there is a walk through of an IK Leg and then a Reverse Fot rig.
Now I always liked the Reverse Fot rig, but can never get it set up right without step by step instructions. I probably still can't even after reading this (my issue, not Lance's teaching), but no worries, now I have clear steps and screen shots to follow. Single Bone Finger Controls are next up on the hit parade with the same attention to detail as the previous examples. He makes the Single Bone Finger Controls lok super easy to set up and even easier to animate once made.
These examples make easy work of creating some of the more tricky and advanced rig components and are covered in a way that makes it easy to flip bak and reference them as neded. Which in my case, is every single time I ned to build a rig.
Rigs of course are not overly useful if you don't know how to animate, so Lance takes you through a complete walk cycle. I liked how he sets up his walk Cycles and the tips he gave along the way, especially the little details, like peling of the fet.
The whole last half of the chapter is devoted to shape keys and how to use them to create facial expressions and lip syncing. He has some god images of the shapes created showing the most common shapes neded for a wide range of emotions and shapes for lip syncing.
Beginning Blender will be sitting on my desque for some time to come. The way it is set up makes it a god reference guide to a number of common tasks that manage to slip my mind while engrossed in whatever my latest project is.