03 June 2012

Blender 3D Architecture, Buildings and Scenery - Chapter 7 of 14 Review

This chapter (Materials) covers using Materials in terms of Organisational use within Blender's graphical user interface setup. It give a reasonably good description of what materials are. After describing in general terms it gets to the specifics by first explaining how to create and organise your newly created materials. It also show how to link and append material from other files which is very useful. Buffer copy and pasting methods are also covered so the more rarely covered aspects seem to be covered almost right at the beginning, which is a good thing.

Once the creating an organising of materials has been cover things move on to material properties and settings and describes some of them. This is a problem because most of them, is not all of them, and a description of more of the options and buttons within the GUI would of been very useful; as it's not entirely certain to a newbie what some of the options affect. For example the specular and mirror colour buttons options aren't described in the chapter until later. Strangely though one of the more advanced features of materials, Ramp shaders is covered but much too briefly. It would of been useful to have more examples of what this feature can be used for. As it does have many, many uses. The one example that it does give is so poor, and so under represent ramp shader powers as to be almost useless.

Next comes good descriptions of the different shaders for Diffuse and Specular shading, though examples of how they affect colour and models would of helped.

Another different between older versions of Blender and Blender 2.46 pops up in the form of a completely different layout for the Mirror and Transparent panels. While it should not be to difficult to track what the new panel does, it really should of been updated in the book.

The useful setting for creating glass materials and mirror effects are mentioned which will come in handy for newbies.

One thing I was really impressed with was the clear description of what Fresnel effect does. Out of many tutorial and books that I have read specific to Blender not many of them give good descriptions of what Fresnel is about.

Ray Traced shadows are given a brief description and how to make transparent shadows is also described. While short and needing more expansive coverage of the settings for shadows, will none the less prove useful to some users.

This chapter could of given many more examples and covered a lot more details. But the information it did give was clear if too short.