3ds max Magic will follow the same project-based pedagogy that has made previous Magic titles a success. The primary goals are to present changes in functionality, best practices, and inspirational effects. Each project will be 10-15 pages in length and provide instruction as well as suggestions for enhancing or modifying the project/effect. Each page will be designed in a 3-column format with step-by-step instructions on the left and corresponding graphics (or code) in the middle. The third column will be used to provide additional tips and tricks. Any effect, technique, or tip can easily be customized to fit the readers¿ own design needs.
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Diving into 3ds max 4 Magic is like immersing yourself in a pool of experience. Written by a montage of professional 3ds max users, 13 chapters cover everything from flowing water to asteroid impacts to using inverse kinematics for complex machinery, and more.
Spanning five sections, the tutorials are grouped according to effect. "Special Effects" includes two chapters illustrating particle systems. For example, "Impact" describes a technique for creating explosive surface impacts (an asteroid collision), while "Flowing Water" demonstrates how to create water pouring from a faucet.
"Lighting" is the next section, also with two chapters, followed by "Modeling and Animation" (four chapters, including one on setting up Max 4's Inverse Kinematics), "Materials," and "Expanding Max," which includes chapters on nonphotorealistic rendering (think sketchbook illustrations), camera matching, and setting up a scene and animating objects using displacement effects and MAXScript.
In addition to the tutorials in the book, the enclosed CD-ROM contains five more projects (two of which build on chapters in the book) that explore and teach things like facial expressions, lip-synch, and modeling and mapping a photorealistic head. The CD-ROM also includes the files needed for each of the book and CD-ROM projects, and a collection of shareware and commercial plug-ins for creating things like forests of plants and trees, hair, and more.
There are some fine tutorials here. Project 8, "Mechanical Machine," is a great example of solid writing mixed with an exciting project, and deftly explains a number of new key features in Max 4. Each chapter strives to illustrate a particular technique or new feature, and the book is worthwhile for users new to Max 4 as well as users new to Max. --Mike CaputoAbout the Author:
Sean Bonney is a 3D animator, fine artist, and game designer who lives in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sean graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, in 1991 with a BFA in illustration and design. He has been employed as Graphic Designer for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system for nine years. He has worked for Rainbow Studios in Phoenix, Arizona, on a variety of game and broadcast projects. Sean has written for two previous New Riders books, 3D Studio MAX 3 Magic and 3D Studio MAX 3 Professional Animation. Sean is currently the principal of Anvil Studio and specializes in freelance animation and game design. For more information about Sean Bonney or Anvil Studio, visit the Web site at http://www.anvil-studio.com or email email@example.com.
Laurent M. Abecassis comes from a traditional animation background and has worked with 3ds max since the release of 3D Studio R3 for DOS. His projects have included character projects for video games, TV series, special effects, motion capture performances, and other outlets. Prompted by his desire to spend more energy on enhancing his expertise in 3ds max, Laurent left his position as the research and development lead for KliK Animation in 1999 to pursue freelance opportunities. He has since found numerous ways to share his knowledge with the 3D community. Laurent is now a discreet Training Specialist based in Montreal, Canada. He teaches all class levels of 3ds max, character studio, mental ray, combustion, and Lightscape, as well as how to incorporate plug-ins from various developers. All his courses are devoted to bringing 3D characters to life.
Laurent is also president/product manager of Di-O-Matic, a company that produces plug-ins and training CDs for 3ds max. For more information, visithttp://www.di-o-matic.com.
Sue Blackman is a freelance artist from Temecula, California, who in the early 1990s was delighted to find a common use for all her interests as a 3D artist.
Horse training, exhibiting and judging, fine furniture design and creation, landscaping and horticulture, house construction, and of course, several of the more traditional fine art media have come together to provide a solid base for the 3D environments and animation she produces for Radish Works, a Southern California game developer. She also finds time to teach 3ds max at two Southland community colleges and is in the process of finishing a long-forgotten degree at UC Riverside. She admits to being a "max junkie" and a compulsive tutorial writer, and she has always been fascinated by widgets and all things mechanical.
If she can ever find enough time to create her Web page, it will be found at http://www.3dxxzone.com. That is, XX as in the female chromosome, not X-rated (sorry guys)!
Pete Draper had a passion for 3D from an early age. Pete originally started out as a fine artist and graphic designer before and during university, where he studied for an Engineering IT degree. After discovering 3D Studio MAX 3 in one of the uni's CAD labs, he decided to channel his love for art into this new medium. Now a die-hard max nut, he spends his days as Head of Media for Orchard Creative Design Group, based in the southwest of England, and he moonlights by night as an artist and tutorial and Q&A writer for 3D World magazine. If you've got nothing else better to do, his Web page can be viewed at http://www.xenomorphic.co.uk.
Richard Katz is an artist and animator living in the San Francisco Bay area. Originally from New Jersey, he received his BFA from Trenton State College before heading west to make games. He is currently the Lead Artist on the Playstation 2 title Warriors of Might and Magic at the 3DO company. He has been working in the games industry for four years and has been using 3ds max on a daily basis on several titles for 3DO and Sierra On-Line. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his Web site http://www.katz3d.com.
Randy M. Kreitzman is a senior Quality Engineer at discreet (a division of Autodesk, Inc.), working exclusively with 3ds max. His career in computer graphics began in 1991, producing fully animated shorts for a Southern California cable affiliate using Autodesk Animator and 3D Studio R1 for DOS. In 1994, he relocated to Northern California in search of high-end 3D-production work. He joined FTI Communications (San Francisco) in 1995 to create 3D forensic animation for a variety of corporate clients including AT&T, Boeing, Chyron, Chevron, and DSC, using Alias/Wavefront software. In 1996, he joined Autodesk, Inc.'s Multimedia Division as a Quality Analyst to test 3D Studio MAX in real-world production scenarios. Randy now resides in Central California with his lovely wife, Kimberlie, four sled dogs, and three horses. He wishes to thank Kimberlie and the critters for their never-ending love and support. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Daniel Manahan is more than just an artist, musician, singer, dancer, chess and Go expert, swimmer, water polo goalie, wrestler, husband, and father. He is a passionate teacher who is on a mission to make life simpler for eager learners.
He currently teaches max at five colleges in Southern California and has helped develop curriculum for 12 schools in the last four years. When not busy helping develop artists for employment, he is in his studio performing animations for film, forensics, and commercial visualization. For information on his Southern California beginning and advanced classes, contact 3DMan@Charter.net.
Michael Reiser, MD is currently a radiology resident in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began working with 3D graphics five years ago and has been addicted ever since. He has written multiple magazine articles and numerous online tutorials. Michael enjoys 3D medical illustration and its applications in radiology. However, his real love lies in creature development. "I am playing doctor until someone wants to hire me to model dinosaurs all day." Contact Michael at MikeReiser@aol.com.
Marcus Richardson has always been a fine artist at heart. He started his CG pilgrimage back in 1994 when he created his first 3D world in Rend 386. Since then, he has endeavored to pursue a serious career in 3D graphics and film by forming IonAmation Studios. A graduate from the Art Institute of Colorado, Marcus has produced numerous professional animations for many clients, including Qwest Communications. Currently he is settled in Aspen, Colorado, where he is living out his dream of living in the mountains and creating television and film animations for Versatile Productions, Inc. For more information on IonAmation Studios, please visit http://www.ionamation.com. For Versatile Productions, Inc., visit http://www.versatileproductions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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