Book Review: Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cook Book

animation-cookbookNot too long ago, I received a copy of Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cook Book. This book is written by Virgilio Vasconcelos. This article is a brief review of the book.

Now, it should be noted that although I use Blender quite a bit, the work we do here in Studiorola are mainly in the areas of 3D modelling, rendering and visualisation. If a project involves animation, our nature of work will be mainly in the area of product or mechanical based  animation. As such, character animation was never my specialty. So the review will be based on and filtered through my own understanding (or lack) of the subject matter.

This book offers close explorations with regards to the practical application and methods for Character Animation. At times, it covers the finer details of how certain more unusual movement can be done. For example, how does one rig an object that can curl (such as a tail)? Since, there are entire books dedicated to character animation using Blender, how does this one fit into the big picture? Most  (if not all) of the other ones out there covers a broad range of principles leading up to the final output of an animated movie. For this book, the approach is different. This one breaks down different techniques (related to character animation) into smaller ‘bite size’ sections. In all 50 pieces of ‘recipes’ are included in the book.

The information in the cook book are presented in ‘digestible’ portions. There are very few lengthy passages…rarely will the Reader see an entire page fully filled with words. This is a good thing. The information are always presented in a concise yet clear manner. This greatly reduces the ‘heaviness’ found in some other related books.  The result of such a style of delivery is increased ease in understanding the subjects at hand. Additionally, the tutorials/recipes are accompanied by supporting Blend files.

Character Animation is a tough subject to cover and getting good results can be tricky. The author really explains things very well. For many instances, he will explain why certain things should not be done in a particular way although that particular way may seems more logical. The ‘why’s are supported by ‘how’ certain things should be done instead. That way, potential pitfalls and their corresponding solutions are explained.

Based on my somewhat  limited knowledge of character animation, the book is very up-to-date. For instance, topics on ‘Rigify’ which is a very recent ‘add on’ development for Blender (that will promise to make life easier for rigger) are included in this book.

Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cook Book contains many valuable tips and techniques. To have the book with you is like having an experienced animator sitting beside you pointing out the finer points pertaining to ways of achieving certain results and effects.

The book is very systemically structured. The topics and purpose of each section are clearly defined. This clarity in the presentation makes it easy for the reader to find information fast. As such it will serve as an excellent reference book.  In all there are 10 chapters, each one covering a specific area pertaining to Character Animation.

Who will find this book useful? To be able to benefit well from the book, the Reader should have a basic working knowledge of Blender. Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cook Book is not meant for beginners to 3D or Blender in general. This book is for someone who want to learn the finer points of  character animation. Since this book is written for Blender 2.5, I will expect this book to remain very relevant for a long time.

To find out more about Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cook Book, click the link below: