Digital Character Animation 2, Volume II: Advanced Techniques

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9780735700444: Digital Character Animation 2, Volume II: Advanced Techniques

As soon as George Maestri's classic (digital) Character Animation was released, people began asking when he was going to do on edition for trully high-end users with the most advanced skill sets. Here it is; George writes directly to CG professionals, with more non-software-specific approaches to character animation.

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Review:

George Maestri broke new ground with his first book, Digital Character Animation 2: Essential Techniques, which quickly became a fixture on the recommended reading list of just about every contemporary digital animator. It demonstrated solid methods for building characters and preparing them for animation, and touched on animation itself, all the while staying away from hardware and software specifics. Maestri explained the "why" of doing something. It was up to you to know "how."

The second volume, Digital Character Animation 2: Advanced Techniques, delves deeper into the art of animation itself without losing its digital perspective and yet while still maintaining some distance from hardware platforms and software applications.

The book cuts right to the chase; there are no chapters on modeling, lighting, or rendering. Every chapter focuses on character motivation, character movement, framing a story, preparing a character for animation, and acting itself. As the animator, you are also an actor, and the more you know about acting, the better you can animate.

As if one section about motion isn't enough, there are separate sections on "human motion," "animal motion," and "anthropomorphic animation," each with some powerful visual examples and demonstrations on ancillary topics such as rigging the underlying skeletal structures and creating morph targets.

This book may not be the massive tome that something like Inside 3ds Max 4 is, but in its 200-plus pages is more information designed to help animators of any level take their careers up one notch. --Mike Caputo

From the Publisher:

At last, George Maestri’s advanced-techniques volume of his groundbreaking [digital] Character Animation book. Completely new: No updated material from the first volume (covering Essential Techniques) or from the first edition (published in 1996 and now out of print). If you are into 3D animation at all—learning, practicing (or managing those who do), teaching—you owe it to yourself buy this book. If you’re into other 3D disciplines—modeling, compositing, lighting, etc.—it’s highly recommended that you at least take a look at this volume; it provides a ton of insight into what the folks over in modeling do 16 hours a day and as a result, might make you more valuable as a member of the project team. See why Maestri’s books have been adopted as teaching texts around the world and are on the bookshelves of so many working pros in CG: it’s all about the foundational techniques and the secrets involved that bring life and verve to the characters you’re working on. Nobody teaches this stuff better than Maestri these days. And the books are just fun to look at and use: full-color, lots of visuals, to-the-point writing style, all backed up by George’s years of industry experience. Wrapped up nicely with the contributing help of Angie Jones (game-design hero and now becoming an MVP in Hollywood’s CG effects community).

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