3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualization Advanced to Expert Book by 3DATS Reviewed
Review by Chad Warner www.bluelimestudio.com
Firstly, the name of the book is a bit of a misnomer. This book is meant to compliment the two additional 3DATS books, “3ds Max 2008 Architectural Visualization Beginner to Intermediate” and “3ds Max 2009 Architectural Visualization Intermediate to Advanced,” so the 3ds Max 2010 part of the title has only a cursory relation to the content in the book, which is a good thing in this case. The vast majority of the book can be applied to most versions of 3ds Max, so if you are still using an older version, don’t let the name of the book dissuade you from purchasing.
Instead of trying to write the entire book by themselves, the guys at 3DATS did the smartest thing they could have done to write a book for experts: they asked the experts themselves to write the book. The final result is a compilation of 20 chapters, written and reviewed by over 40 top professionals in the industry.
The book is broken down into six main sections: Color and Composition, Materials, Lighting, Animation, Workflow, and Post Production. Each of the main sections has several chapters discussing various aspects of each component, broken down below (with the authors listed):
|Part I - Color and Composition |
|Chapter 1 - Color Management |
Chapter 2 – Composition
|Jeff Mottle |
|Part II - Materials|
|Chapter 3 - Advanced mental ray Shaders |
Chapter 4 - Advanced Unwrapping
Chapter 5 - Texture Painting
Chapter 6 - Physically Based Materials
|Joep van de Steen |
Liegh van der Byl
|Part III - Lighting|
|Chapter 7 - Lighting Analysis tools |
Chapter 8 - Render to Texture
Chapter 9 - Advanced mental ray lighting
|Tod Stephens |
|Part IV - Animation|
| Chapter 10 – Reactor |
Chapter 11 - Particle Systems
Chapter 12 – Rigging
|Mir Vadim |
|Part V - Workflow|
|Chapter 13 - Revit Integration |
Chapter 14 - Advanced Poly Modeling
Chapter 15 - Managing Large-scale Projects
Chapter 16 – MAXScript
|Scott Rosenbloom |
|Part VI - Post production|
|Chapter 17 – Camera Matching |
Chapter 18 - Green Screening
Chapter 19 – Digital Compositing
Chapter 20 - Video Editing
|Mike Merron |
Gary M. Davis
|Cloth Modifier||Danny Jones|
As the name implies, this is a book for advanced to expert users, so there are no “basic” instructions on how to do simple things. I would divide the book into two types of chapters, those that build on existing skills an intermediate to advanced user would have, and those that teach techniques that an advanced user would want to know.
A few examples of the first type would be the chapter on “Texture Painting,” which teaches the reader advanced techniques for creating custom textures; the chapter on “Advanced Poly Modeling,” which teaches advanced polygon editing techniques; and the chapter on “Physically based Materials,” which teaches about creating physically correct reflections, refractions, and using real world textures to accurately depict materials. All of these chapters (and some of the others) expect that the reader has existing knowledge of Photoshop, 3ds Max, and Mental Ray to achieve the end result.
The second type of chapter is more about using techniques and applications that an intermediate user might not normally use, and treats the chapter is an introduction to those techniques and applications. These chapters include the chapters on reactor, particle systems, camera matching, green screening, as well as many others. These chapters give the reader a “cold start” so to speak, so that you can work with these techniques with no prior knowledge of the subject matter.
For me personally, I found the second type of chapter the most enjoyable to read, only because it introduces techniques and methodologies that I have always wanted to use but may not have had the time to figure out how to do on my own. With these chapters, the technique is broken down into step by step methods that are easily followed and easily understood.
This does not discount the validity of the other chapters in any way. I think there are things in every single chapter that even an “expert” can learn from, and there are techniques discussed that every user will be able to apply to their daily workflow.
All in all, this is a very well put together book. The organization of the book makes it easy to find specific topics that you may be interested in as a reader, and every chapter is very well written with clear, concise instructions and explanations. I really only have one complaint with the entire book, and that is that all of the material and lighting chapters deal specifically with Mental Ray (which ships with 3ds max 2010, so I can understand its inclusion). It would have been nice to include a chapter or two on V-ray, as there are a lot of max users out there who use V-Ray as their render engine. Again, that is a minor critique of an otherwise great book. I would highly recommend this book (as well as the other two) to anyone involved with the architectural visualization industry, not just those that use 3ds Max.
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