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A hands-on guide to modeling, sculpting, materials, and rendering
His book, Blender Master Class walks the reader the through the workflow of three distinctly different projects, covering a wide range of techniques and tools. The book is published by No Starch Press, who were kind enough to send me a copy for review.
Get 30% off your copy when you purchase through No Starch with code: CGCOOKIE
About the Book
From No Starch Press:
…For those who have struggled to create professional-quality projects in Blender, author Ben Simonds offers this peek inside his studio. You’ll learn how to create 3D models as you explore the creative process that he uses to model three example projects: a muscular bat creature, a futuristic robotic spider, and ancient temple ruins. Along the way, you’ll master the Blender interface and learn how to create and refine your own models.
Read the complete blurb here.
The first thing I noticed with the book is the excellent print quality. I might venture to say it has the highest quality of any Blender book I’ve thumbed through to date. Everything in the book is printed in full-color with great quality. Although I am no expert, I also really liked the type-setting. It’s well formatted, with a modern style that lends to very easy reading. This was particularly good since the book is jam-packed with great tips and tricks.
Beyond that, it was also immediately clear how much ground the book covers. Just looking at the detailed index got me excited to jump in. The way the book is organized, based on the index, makes it really easy to find intriguing topics if you want to pick and choose or to also go from cover to cover.
Anytime I pick up a new book I first flip through the book to see what catches my eye, and then I go back and start from the beginning. Let’s just say there were a lot of things that caught my attention.
Content Value and Structure
Without a doubt, there’s a ton of value in this book. No matter your current skill level you will stand to learn a wealth of new tricks and techniques. In part, this is due to the structure of the book. Even though the book covers three complete projects, from start to finish, it is not a paint-by-numbers type of book. Rather the book takes more of an overview approach to the projects. Some readers may be disappointed by this, but for me I found it much more preferable.
If you’ve ever meant Ben in person, then you’ll know that he is a very relaxed, genuine fellow that’s easy to approach.
What Ben does through the book is show you his workflow for each of the projects by describing all of the tools/options he is and isn’t using for each particular part. For example, he may start by introducing you to the differences between global and local coordinates, using simple examples, then he’ll go on to show you how he uses them to his advantage in the projects.
The real value to this book, as I see it, is not in the detailed specifics of Blender. These details are great, don’t get me wrong, but the true value comes from the insight into Ben’s workflow. This is not just a book on doing X and X with Blender, but it’s a book that gives insight into how Ben does what he does in a logical, easy-to-follow method.
Ben’s writing style lends very well to a book like this. So often, technical manuals, and similar titles, tend to be very dry. This makes them boring, no matter how valuable the content.
However, in this case, the writing is very well done. If you’ve ever met Ben in person, then you’ll know that he is a very relaxed, genuine fellow that’s easy to approach. This is exactly how his book comes across, and it’s great.
The writing is also complimented by a great number of illustrations, screenshots, and reference examples that make the text really easy to follow.
If you’re a Blender artist that likes working from books, and would like another resource to learn from, then I really can’t recommend this enough. Even as a long-time Blender user I learned a lot of tricks that come right from Ben’s workflow. Really, the only person that might not get much value from the book is an absolute beginner. However, even then it still presents a wealth of information that will be valuable to them as they get on their feet.
You can purchase the book from No Starch Press, Amazon, or the Blender Foundation. One advantage to purchasing through the Blender Foundation is a portion of the procedes go back into supporting Blender development.