03 June 2012

Andrew Price - The Wow Factor - Ebook Review

The thing about Australia is that it's big, and mostly empty. This means that at anyone time, there are large swathes of Australians with not a lot to do. So obviously, to fill the vast chasms that are their lives, they pray to Kylie Minogue, drink Fosters and watch Neighbours or Home and Away, on alternate days on the Television.

While most Australians are totally happy with their lot, there are the odd aberrations, the ones that don't own a cork hat, that do hate Steve Erwin, the ones that maybe think cricket is a totally pointless game and that England plays it better anyway, sort of Australians. These Australians, although rarer than a healthy Tasmanian Devil, do indeed exist and are making useful things, things that don't involve sheep/lousy beer/soaps and midget sized big assed singers.

One such rare Australian individual is Andrew Price, whom a lot of Blender users will know from the BlenderGuru.com website.

He is a very accomplished Blender user and has made multiple tutorials and guides covering both Blender 2.4x and 2.5x series.

This time round Andrew has produced an EBook in PDF format that covers various techniques of creating special effects in Blender 2.5's using the Compositor.

Product Specifications:
  • Name: The Wow Factor
  • Price: $47
  • Type: EBook PDF Format
  • Pages: 105

The Ebook is organised in to a series of bite sized sections, each covering a different special effect, achieved using the Compositor.

Topics Covered Listing:
  • Soft Glow
  • Bright Glow
  • Anamorphic Flare
  • Bloom
  • Lens Flare
  • Glare Ghosting
  • Reflecting Glare
  • Glare Burnout
  • Depth of Field
  • Chromatic Aberration
  • Vignetting
  • Motion Blur
  • Lens Distortion
  • Dirty Lens
  • Color Grading
  • Image Sharpening
Each process is described in a step by step, numbered manner, with numerous screen shots showing the various stages of Compositing, showing the progressive results of the different Compositing Nodes. Each different topic is also assigned a completion time indicating how long it should take the reader to carry out the task. I am not sure of the point of timing each process, but some users may find it useful.

Most of the topics are covered with minimal reading involved, which to be honest when dealing with the Compositor is a good thing. The pictures within the EBook are very clear and Andrew takes enough time to explain most of the important node features used to achieve the particular effects he is after. I would have liked a more detailed description of some features used by certain nodes, but for the purposes of getting certain effects, they were described adequately.

For the amount of information and number of pages within the EBook, some could argue that the price is a little high and while it certainly isn't a cheep EBook, it probably justifies the price. Because it covers Blender 2.5's way of doing things (one of a very few that do) and covers special effects using Blender's Node editor, so it is worth the price for people who want to get up and running with Blender 2.5's Node Editor as quickly as possible and have a set of special effects technique available to them after having read the EBook. As an added bonus Andrew mentions that the book will be updated as things change in Blender 2.5's Compositor up to year 2012, so looking at it from that point of view, the price is not quiet as high as it seems.

The Beginning and Intermediate Blender users will, I think, get the most benefit out of this material rather than an advanced Blender user, as it is likely that someone with extensive knowledge will already know the Compositor tricks to produce the demonstrated special effects.

Overall an excellent resource for special effects and Blender 2.5 Compositor functionality.

Just goes to show that there are some good things coming out of Australia, get this EBook, it's more useful than Kylie Minogue!

Review Score 85%