03 June 2012

Roger Wickes - Foundation Blender Compositing - Book Review

Well another week and another Blender book to review.

This time around it's written by Roger Wickes a well known Blender user. I have reviewed other products made by Mr Wickes before and from what I remember I was impressed with them.

This time round Mr Wickes has graced the world with a book on compositing techniques using Blender.
  • Product Specifications:
  • Price : $31.39 (on 15th on Aug 2009 from amazon)
  • Useful page count : 447
  • DVD included : Yes

I was eager to get hold of this book and had it on pre-order the second I heard about it. Reason being that I knew there were no books specifically dedicated to using Blender for compositing tasks (at least when I ordered it). Also Mr Wickes has previously produced compositing videos that can be obtained from his website that also covered compositing. Those videos were very good and I was curious as to how this book would compare.

The first thing that I noticed about the book was that it looked very thick and chunky, physically very well made and good quality paper, also pleasingly the pictures and diagrams in the book were in full color.

Color pictures in any Blender related book are always useful and it definitely improves the usefulness of this book. Also handy was the color theme used in the screenshots, which made seeing the contents of the pictures much easier (the default gray theme of Blender really does not lend itself to being displayed in books).

The book is reasonably priced (at least when you get it from Amazon), when you take into account that you get color pages and a DVD also which is packed with very useful examples and resources.

A lot of Blender users see compositing as a bit of a black art. The end result usually being that they don't get a good grasp of how to use Blender's compositing abilities very well or they discover its power many years after they started using Blender. So you may think that this book is not for the beginning Blender user. This is not true.

Mr Wickes has used a large portion of the book going over the basic functions of Blender as they relate to the tools needed to do compositing tasks within Blender. So even if you are completely new to Blender you should be able to pickup this book and learn how to use Blender to composite.

Once the basics are covered (about halfway through the book), an almost complete treatment of the Blender Nodes Editor and Video Sequence Editor is covered (from the point of view of a compositor). Most of the useful Node and VSE features are described, both what they are for and how to use them.

For the most part everything is very well explained and only very occasionally do topics seem vaguely explained (though that could just be me being a bit slow). Some theory of compositing processes are explained, although I would have liked more theory explanations (i.e more depth on pixel math etc. and maybe more information on the various way nodes can be combined to make different compositing setups).

All in all very useful book especially when used in combination with the included DVD.

I am going to have to keep an eye on the Friend of ED publishers of this book and see if they come out with anymore Blender books. I hope they do as if this book is anything to go by, it will be worth getting.

Review Score 85%