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The Art and Science of Digital Compositing (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) Hardcover – May 1, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0121339609 ISBN-10: 0121339602 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics
  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0121339602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0121339609
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,276,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Digital compositing, defined here as "the digitally manipulated combination of at least two source images to produce an integrated result," is a huge field incorporating 2-D and 3-D still and animated artwork. The Art and Science of Digital Compositing homes in on a specific area--visual effects in film, multimedia, and commercials--and expands on it in a highly precise and technical fashion. The author, Ron Brinkmann, has applied his expertise to many projects, including such feature films as James and the Giant Peach and Die Hard.

Here he teaches aspiring film, video, and multimedia artists how to create mattes; manipulate time; track, view, and analyze images; work with various film and video formats; and understand the issues of quality versus efficiency. Brinkmann concentrates on improving what you've put together by manipulating color, brightness, perspective, lighting, cameras, and more. You can apply much of the introductory information--resolution, bit depth, compression, color, and geometric manipulations--to simple image-compositing projects. But then you're off into Hollywood territory, though the tone is one of serious insight, not whimsical observation. This is essentially a textbook for people who are looking for an in-depth discussion of technology for advanced animation production. As such, it does an excellent job. --Kathleen Caster

From the Back Cover

Computer-generated visual effects are now used extensively in feature films, commercials, music videos, and multimedia. The backbone of this process, the final and most important step, is known as digital compositing. The Art and Science of Digital Compositing is a comprehensive reference that provides a complete overview of the technical and the artistic nature of this process. This book covers a wide range of topics from basic image creation, representation, and manipulation, to a look at the visual cues that are necessary to create a believable composite. Designed as both an introduction to the field as well as a valuable technical reference, this book should be of interest to both novices and professionals alike.

Written by a working professional in the visual effects industry, the book provides over 250 different images and illustrations (including a 40-page color insert) as well as a complete glossary of compositing and visual-effects terminology. Also included are in-depth case studies from well-known films such as Speed, Independence Day, and Titanic.

More About the Author

Occasional supervisor in the visual effects and animation world. One of the founding employees of Sony Pictures Imageworks. Part of the initial design and development team that produced the digital compositing application Shake (acquired by Apple in 2002). Continued as Shake Product Designer for a few years, until development on the product was ruthlessly terminated. Also was slightly involved with Apple's photo-management software Aperture. Slightly. Frequently speaks at seminars on the topics of visual effects, digital filmmaking and general technology. (Has spoken in England, Netherlands, Russia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Japan and India... and several less-interesting locations). Regular guest/host on This Week in Photography podcast.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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If you want to get the digital process at the whole part, you must buy this book.
For anyone who wants the clearest, most comprehensive reference on digital compositing, this book is a must.
This book is a bible for digital compositing that starts from the basics to advanced techniques used.
Tamim Naseer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Sean Devereaux on June 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I started my career in visual effects around the same time the first edition was published and have referenced it constantly through out the 9+ years. I bought the 2nd edition for two reasons, my copy of the first edition was falling apart and nostalgia. I was not expecting much new information and was mostly just looking for an intact copy of the first edition with a few new tidbits here and there. I could not have been more wrong.

The second edition has so much NEW information in it was like reading a time capsule of the technological advances of the last ten years. There is not a topic or subject used in compositing that is not covered here. Only two books have sat on my desk my entire career, the first edition and the cinematographers manual. I have read many books available on visual effects, but none compare, honestly. The main reason for that is complete software independence, not partial, complete.

There is no other book that teaches you the raw knowledge you need to be an artist. Anyone can teach you how to push certain buttons of a specific app, this is the only book that clearly teaches you when to push them and why. Artists in today's marketplace need a deep core knowledge of what the software packages are doing so that they can easily switch to other packages. This is especially true in feature film compositing where the industry is at a point of impasse and there is no clear winner of the package wars, fingers crossed for NUKE ;). There is no standard tool anymore so the best way to stay employable is to know what this book teaches, the math, the science, the art.

This book is chock full of examples, color photos and production examples. Whether you've been at this for a while or are new to the art, own this book. Own it for years and years and years.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jason White on December 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This was our assigned textbook for a course I took in digital effects. The author has created a book with techniques and info that are not likely to become dated anytime soon, which is a good thing, but to do this he had to completely avoid application specific information. So the book will work regardless of your preference of software, but this can be frustrating too. Many times I wanted him to confirm that the tool he was describing was 'just like the ______ tool in Photoshop.' Overall the book is solid, what it really is, is a book of compositing techniques that are universal. How and why to achieve certain things.
There are chapters on motion tracking, matte creation, formats & aspect ratios. Sections on lighting, shadows, atmosphere, curve editing. There's a interesting 'case studies' section in the back, which breaks down and explain certain composites from movies like Titanic, Star Trek, Independance Day, and a few others. Definately a worthwhile book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Sean Devereaux on July 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been studying digital compositing for about five years, but due to the youth of this profession, gaining knowledge had to come from experience. This is the first book I have come across that defines digital compositing and explains it's vast tool set in one collective volume. Mr. Brinkman's book will soon be the desk reference for every seasoned artist and required reading for every student of visual effects.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ducatimark on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Second Edition: Techniques for Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics)

I've been doing video and 3D work for the last couple of years without really knowing how or why I do many things. This book gives me the source knowledge of the nuts and bolts of composisting that don't come in the directions for compositing software. I would consider this required reading for anyone in the video or 3D world. Serves as a great reference book as well.

The book is full of excellent photos and examples, too. The writer does a great job of building the reader's knowledge from review of basic photography to hard core compositing techniques. This book will live close at hand for a long time.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rajneesh on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book front to back in 7 days. Not that I'm an avid reader or I can read 1000s of words a minute. The content is so exceptionally good that I just could not stop letting go off the book. I think I finally found something that can replace sex. There are many masters in compositing but very few are good teachers. Ron is one of those rare Zen master's who not only realized nirvana but can also teach the ways to achieve it. Try explaining light to a blind man and you will know how difficult it becomes with words.

The patience and accuracy with which Ron has laid out the nuts and bolts of the whole process of digital compositing is rare and for loss of a better word I will call it "Excellent". I also think that amazon should incorporate another rating system that calls "SuperHero stuff" or something. There are lots of books that say push this button and select that option and fall in love with the resulting image. But when the next version of the software is released those buttons are either gone or the options have been changed completely and what not.

Anyway, if you want to go underneath the hood, and I think you should, of any modern compositing software be it nuke or after effects or fusion or katana (i heard that nuke will incorporate some of katana into their software) please look no further. Real world compositing problems are not as simple as pushing this button or that. There will be no button in any software for that matter that says "Ladies! push this button if you have an uneven greenscreen with a flickering foreground element that is heavy in motion blur". Wallah, the problem is solved, your boss is ecstatic that you won an academy award for visual effects just because of that single lovable, darling, push me again and again - button.
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