03 June 2012

Virgilio Vasconcelos - Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook - EBook Review

Packt Publishing recently released another book in their Cookbook series, given how disappointed I was about the last Cookbook of theirs I had to review, I was a little bit apprehensive about reading another one. Thankfully though this time around this particular cookbook is of excellent quality.

This book written by Virgilio Vasconcelos, covers using Blender 2.5 to carryout out various aspects of character animation and rigging.

Product Specifications:
  • Name: Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook
  • Author: Virgilio Vasconcelos
  • Price: £16.14 (8 July 2011)
  • Type: EBook
  • Pages: 300 (Roughly)
Mr Vasconcelos is a very talented character animator and uses Blender extensively to carryout out his works. He has a very informative website demonstrating his works (virgiliovasconcelos.com), take a look at his demo real to see what he can do.

Like the other Cookbooks in the Blender series of books, the approach taken to teach topics is in the form of short recipes which inform the reader as to how to carry out a specific tasks, and then after the recipe has been described, the book moves on to describe why a recipe is done the way it is.

This cookbook presents 50 recipes related to Blender 2.5 Character Animation topics. It can be read from cover to cover or used in the form of a quick reference, if you are only interested in a specific animation topic.

Each recipe is very clearly written and more has more than enough information to be useful to both beginning Blender users all the way up to experienced Blender users. One of the most memorable things about recipes was how much of the time I was reading and being impressed that I was learning novel ways of doing rigging and other clever techniques.

Each of the 50 recipes is described in a roughly ordered manner going from basics towards more advanced recipes as the book continues. As far as I was able to tell the recipes give you all the information you would need to rig and animate a human character.

Throughout the book support files and a human character armature called otto are used to demonstrate various topics. The otto character is very flexible and serves well as a demonstration model.

The first two thirds of the book introduces the reader to the various recipes while the last third is more general and brings together all the previously learned recipes leaving you to use what you have learned to carryout the later parts of the book.

This was a short review but part of the reason for that is the book does what it says it does i.e. teaches you various important recipes which are very likely to be useful to you as a character animator. It carries out this task extremely well and very clearly.

One thing that I kept thinking to myself while reading this book was, I wish I had this when I was first learning to use Blender, it would have made my life so much easier. I would imagine that would apply to other Blender users as much as it would for me. There were a few mistakes in some of the recipes, but nothing that really matters or that would not be very obvious and easily spotted and so aren't worth worrying about.

So all in all an Excellent book, well worth the time to work through all the recipes like I did, you will learn a lot if you are a new Blender user and probably a fair bit even if you are not so new.

Review Score 85%