03 June 2012

Jason Van Gumster - Blender For Dummies - Thoughts on the Book

Ok so I am not keeping up on my Blender reading list and it took me a while to get around to reading the Blender For Dummies book. I have been busy that's my excuse and I am sticking with it.

Now however I have finally managed to read through the book.

Here are my thoughts:

First things first, I have to let it be known that I wasn't expecting much from this book given its title. I was of the opinion that any Dummies book would not be able to properly present the functionality of Blender without dumbing it down to an unacceptable level. After all Blender is a very advanced and powerful 3D modelling application suite, so what would be the chances of being able to convert some of the very advanced things that Blender can do into a Dummies book?

Well I was wrong!

Or arguably I think that title of the book is. If I had named the book I would of called it "Blender For Basic and Intermediate Users and Dummies". The Dummies moniker completely undersells what you can expect in terms of valuable information contained within the book.

I probably should not have been surprised that the book is of a very high standard given that Jason Van Gumster is the author. A very, very talented Blender guru/user.

  • Product Specifications
  • Price : € 28.95 (on 14th of Apr 2009)
  • Page Count : 400 roughly useful pages
  • CD Included : Yes
The above is the price from the official Blender e-shop.

A lot of ground is covered in this book from the basics to some of the more obscure features of Blender that I did not know about.

I think that the nearest competitor to this book would be the "Blender Essentials" book, which just recently was posted up on the Blender wiki for free.

In terms of scope and how up to date the Blender For Dummies book is though, there is no comparison. The Blender For Dummies book wins in all areas. Obviously it's more timely, because it is a newer book many of Blenders newer features are covered. Blender For Dummies basically makes the "Blender Essentials" book irrelevant. It covers more topics in more detail than the Blender Essentials book.

All the major areas of Blender functionality are covered with a few exceptions (proxy objects are not covered and really should of been given that other linking and appending methods were). At this point some of you will be saying that Proxy Objects are an advanced feature, however it's not a difficult feature to use (how difficult is it to describe ctrl-alt-p keypress!). Also the fact that other methods for linking objects were covered which are just as difficult and involved, so invalidating the it's an advanced feature argument.

Python scripting wasn't covered in any kind of depth either, but this is to be expected in a book at the Beginner/Intermediate level of Blender usage.

These gripes aside this is an excellent book, even people who think they really know their way around Blenders various features could probably get something from it as some of the things it covers are not widely known (making and using your own fonts in Blender using Family objects for example).

I would say that this book is the best broad topic coverage book on Blender so far. Yes it is true that other book go into more detail on specific areas but they tend to limit the areas of information to specific topics.

This book is a definite buy.

Review Score 90%