Saturday , April 13 2024
An excellent resource in getting to know the Blender 3D program.

Book Review: Blender Master Class by Ben Simonds

Blender takes the home-studio idea of media production into the three-dimensional realm. It is kind of amazing what one can do these days from their desktop, and the Blender program is integral to the process. Author Ben Simonds is a 3D artist and co-director of a company called Gecko Animation Ltd., who are based in London. Blender has become a huge tool for him in creating visual effects, models, animation, and graphics for TV and Advertising at Gecko. In Blender Master Class, he shares some of his secrets to help the rest of us unlock the power of this incredible program.

I came to Blender as sort of the next step after familiarizing myself with GIMP. GIMP is the acronym for a program along the lines of Photoshop. The initials stand for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and is an excellent bit of software, offered at the best price of all, free.

Blender Master Class is written for those who use GIMP, so knowledge of the program is pretty important. What Blender does more or less, is to allow the users to create amazing three-dimensional objects (or sculptures) from two-dimensional images. The book uses three projects as examples. These are a bat-man creature, a scary looking robotic spider, and some temple ruins. They look mighty impressive, especially the robot spider that adorns the cover. By working “with” Simonds on creating these sculptures, we learn to master the ins and outs of Blender.

The information is very detailed, but I never felt that it was over my head. Simonds takes a very logical, and easy to follow approach, and while I would not call myself a “master,” I do feel much more comfortable with the program after working through the book.

One of the most useful aspects of Blender Master Class is the DVD that comes with it. With this, one is able to see exactly what Simonds is describing, and I found it extremely helpful. You need a computer that is fairly powerful, and to repeat, some knowledge of GIMP will serve you well. But with those in place, Blender Master Class will help a person to create things that are very, very impressive.

To be honest, my previous experience with Blender was a little frustrating. Like GIMP, it is not the easiest program to use for newbies. Thanks to the great folks at No Starch Press though, we have some very good roadmaps for both of these powerful pieces of software. For GIMP users, I suggest The Book of GIMP by Olivier Lecarme and Karine Delvare, which was recently published by No Starch. And for the proverbial “next step,” look no further than Blender Master Class by Ben Simonds.

I really thought that I had found everything I needed for fun with pictures in GIMP, but by using Blender, I realize that was just the starting point. Simonds has made this his vocation, which is a great thing. For many of the rest of us though, it is just a hobby. What I found to be the most satisfying aspect of it all was just how enjoyable it is to work with Blender, especially in showing it off to my friends and family. Blender Master Class is absolutely the best resource I have come across to help in this process. The book is very highly recommended for those who are looking to take their work into the three-dimensional arena.

About Greg Barbrick

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