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Animating Real-Time Game Characters (Charles River Media Game Development) Paperback – December 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Series: Charles River Media Game Development
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Charles River Media; 1 edition (December 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584502703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584502708
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,378,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

..".a well-crafted and deep 'how-to' book on creating an animated video game character from scratch."

About the Author

For the past eleven years, Paul Steed has been modeling and animating for hugely successful games such as the Wing Commander and Quake series. He is a regular speaker at the Game Developers Conference and serves on the Game Developer magazine advisory board.

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Customer Reviews

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His techniques are easily applied to a potential game sprite, or a straight render.
erik turchin
Now, in 2011, I opened the book again and I'm finding it very relevant even though 3ds Max is now almost 10 years older than it was when Paul first wrote this.
N. T. Jones
Keep in mind, this was just in a matter of days I went from clueless to...well, not so clueless!!
Salamando

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Salamando on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul, I have to tell you: You rock!!
Thanks to your easy-to-understand-and-follow-book, I'm now way ahead of my character setup & animation class at my school (art institute of portland). Keep in mind, this was just in a matter of days I went from clueless to...well, not so clueless!!
For people wondering if this will indeed improve their character rigging and/or animating skills:
It will. If you're already comfortable in using Max 4 or 5, you can easily take Paul's walkthoughs of rigging your character of any kind with biped and using physique to attach the mesh to the biped and be well on your way to understanding how to rig any future characters you create for excellent and easy animation. Well, easy to a point, anyway. You know how it is. With Paul's excellent methods of key frame animation, as well as using mocap, you'll be able to create convincing animations that no one would scrutinize! Even Paul's short-but-sweet section on things to consider when building a mesh can even improve your modeling techniques and thought process of when designing a character for optimum animating, hence the title of the section, 'built to move.'
The one thing that makes Paul's books so nice is that you don't even have to use the packaged files to understand how to apply his methods of madness, you can just go straight from his examples and apply it to your own work and come away with the same oustanding results. I modeled my first character with Paul's book 'modeling a character in 3ds max' by just using his techniques and came away with a model better than almost everyone in my class that had previous modeling experience.
Like I said, you just plain rock Paul. Hopefully I'll gain the skills you have so graciously bestowed upon us lowly wannabe animators to reach your status in this industry as a top-notch realtime modeler/animator someday. So far, things are looking bright!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By erik turchin on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the 2nd character studio book I have read. The other is the Discreet CS courseware manual. I think everyone should read them both if you want full knowledge of Character Studio. Paul's book does not cover many techniques that are implemented in the Discreet manual, but his book does indeed cover what the title implies. Game animation sets, and rigid vertex assignment. Two topics that are lacking from the Discreet manual. Paul's book successfully de-mystifies the process of manual vertex assignment via the Physique modifier. The first half of the book will give you great techniques for rigging a Biped to a mesh. His techniques are easily applied to a potential game sprite, or a straight render. The real power of this book comes from the subsequent animation chapters. The attention to detail that he drills into your head is perhaps the most valuable skill an animator can have. An outstanding chapter on pose-to-pose keyframing techniques is invaluable. It shows how easily and stylish animating in CS can and should be. There is also very valuable motion capture editing instructions that show you how to exploit mocap in combo with keys to realize the creative potential one has. There is also alot of Dope Sheet work that helps one become very comfortable with one of the more intimidating aspects of 3DS Max. If you can, read the discreet CS manual first, and then study this book to polish it all up.
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By N. T. Jones on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was first published in 2002. I bought this book back in 2003, read the whole thing cover to cover two to three times, and then put it back on the shelf having assimilated what I needed at the time. (Incidentally, I found a "Finding Nemo" movie stub in the book that was a bookmark from what I last read it in 2003.

Now, in 2011, I opened the book again and I'm finding it very relevant even though 3ds Max is now almost 10 years older than it was when Paul first wrote this.

Specifically, what I still like about this book are the following:

1. The amount of time and attention to detail that Paul puts into teaching certain timeless lessons, such as building shoulders, elbows, knees, etc. so that they deform properly (something that I can't seem to find in any other book I've seen),

2. The PHILOSOPHY behind animation approaches
3. Certain character animation best practices that apply to any software you're working with.
4. Good mocap advice
5. Great guidance in terms of using Track View for motion editing (another thing I haven't really found good resources for)

Another thing that's really good is the link Paul makes between the way a character LOOKS and how you should animate him/her/ it . He's a very intuitive artist and you can really see a certain amount of feeling that he puts into his approach to animation.

In my opinion , this book is much more priceless and timeless than his modeling only book: Modeling a Character in 3DS Max, Second Edition (Wordware Game Developer's Library).
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