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Digital Art Masters: Volume 9
Digital Art Masters: Volume 9
by 3DTotal
Edition: Paperback
Price: $33.65
32 used & new from $28.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal, July 10, 2014
Length:: 2:04 Mins

Every year when a new volume for Digital Art Maters comes out, I would use the thesarus to find a word that's synonymous with awesome. Soon, I'll have to repeat the adjectives.

The 9th volume features another 50 artists and their amazing digital artworks complete with descriptions and screenshots. Altogether, there are over 600 beautiful images included in the five sections, namely Sci-Fi, Scenes, Fantasy, Characters and Cartoons.

If you've been collecting the previous volumes, you already know what to expect. If you're new, you might be inspired to get the earlier volumes after looking through this. The quality of the work featured is phenomenal, from the concept to the execution. You should definitely check out the websites of all the artists in th ebook.

There are 288 pages. For the first time, I found out that there's actually a hardcover available as well but it's only sold at 3DTotal's online shop. The paperback edition is available where artbooks are sold.

Great book. Highly recommended as usual.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)


Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog
Bloggers Boot Camp: Learning How to Build, Write, and Run a Successful Blog
by Charlie White
Edition: Paperback
Price: $26.86
33 used & new from $22.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Great guide and resource to blogging, July 7, 2014
This is a great resource for beginner and intermediate bloggers. I've been blogging for a few years and many of the advice dished out in the book are some of what I practice, and then there are also new tips I've never seen before.

The authors Charlie White and John Biggs definitely have the credentials to write this book. They have worked for Wired, Mashable, Gizmodo, TechCrunch and other companies. The experience they get are from the ground, from the front lines. Many live examples, so called war stories, are included.

This book is different from other blogging books because it has very actionable and technical tips. In a way, the instructions are actually training you to be a journalist, one that writes online. As a blogger, you're less constrained by the rules, but you still need journalistic skills to make sure that your writing is engaging enough for your readers. It teaches you how to source for stories, how to angle them, and even talk about things like commonly misused words.

This book is quite frank at stating what will and will not work. Your success is directly related to the degree at which you follow through all the instructions. The focus of the book is on creating quality content. One of the main tips is to write 1000 words each day. It's not easy, but it's good training, and the book has lots of ideas on what you can write to achieve the length and quality.

What's lacking is perhaps the part on monetizing your blog which is a rather short section that you will need to explore further on your own. The book does not promote quick get-rich tips, however it's one that will get you started on the right track and mindset.

Get the Kindle version if you can since the book is mainly text. The page layout with huge blocks of text aren't very inviting. But it's still an easy read because the tone of the authors is very conversational.

It's a great book that I'll read again just to have the advice sink in and break whatever bad habits I have.

This is one of the better books on blogging I've read, and I've read quite a few.

Highly recommended to beginner to intermediate bloggers.


The Unreal Game Engine: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Playable Levels
The Unreal Game Engine: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Playable Levels
by Andrew Finch
Edition: Paperback
Price: $35.39
39 used & new from $27.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful resource for learning UDK, July 1, 2014
Length:: 2:25 Mins

Here's a helpful resource for those who want to venture into indie game development.

Andrew Finch is an experienced environment artist who has worked on eight game titles and counting. He's very knowledgable and it shows in the book. In addition to the techniques shown, he also gives tips on how to create believable game environments.

The tutorials are based on the Unreal Development's Kit (UDK) that's used for indie game development.

This book is designed for 3D artists at an intermediate level. You'll definitely need some knowledge of the software so you can get familiar and up to speed quickly with the tutorials and know what's being shown. The software you'll need are UDK, Photoshop, 3ds Max.

The tutorials go through the process of creating playable levels and assets. You'll get to create environments, weapons and vehicles. It covers the different stages in the pipleine, namely modeling, texturing, setting up materials, lighting and post effects.

The tutorials are detailed. Just for the first example, you get to create an Italian courtyard, and you have to model the whole environment and props, texture and light the whole scene. That particular example is spread about eight chapters.

There are other examples, such as creating a handgun, submarine pen, bus, zombie town and they, too, are spread over several chapters with pictures and step-by-step instructions to follow along.

It's a useful resource for learning UDK.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)


Da Vinci 5330 Russian Red Sable Watercolor Paint Brush Travel Set in Protective Case
Da Vinci 5330 Russian Red Sable Watercolor Paint Brush Travel Set in Protective Case
Price: $44.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who like drawing details, June 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Da Vinci Series 5330 Watercolor Brush Travel Set is suitable for those who are into drawing details.

The brushes are short handle, body is made of wood. They are light but strong. The nickel plated brass ferrule holds the Russian Red Sable hair, or if you look at the brushes body, it says 'USSURI SABLE'. Ussuri is the name of the river in Russia where the Kolinsky lives.

These sable hair brushes can hold their shape and tip well after each stroke.

The set consist of 6 watercolour brushes for sizes 3/0, 2/0, 0, 2, 4, 6.

Since the brush sizes are quite small, it's less frustrating when you work on smaller paper or sketchbook sizes, such as A5 sizes (open to A4). You can use the size 6 for filling colours for larger areas, and the smaller ones for minute detail.

The lightweight travel case that it comes with comes in two parts. There's the clear plastic slipcover, and the blue cushion foam. On the blue foam, there are six holes for you the put the brushes in so that they can stand upright, easy to be picked up. Nifty. The blue foam is sort of thicker than an A5 sketchbook.

While I use it outdoors, under the sun, I found out that it can be quite difficult to put the foam back into the slipcover. The foam probably expanded making it slightly too big to slip back in. After it cools down, the problem goes away. You need the slipcover to prevent the brushes from falling out.

And if you need a travel brush set that's even more compact (because of the big blue foam), I suggest the Da Vinci Series 1503 Maestro Travel Watercolour Brushes which has sizes 1 to 12.

Overall, recommended to those who draws details.

You can see some of my watercolour works in the links in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:55 PM PDT


Derwent Pencil Tin (2300582)
Derwent Pencil Tin (2300582)
Offered by Jacksons Art Supplies
Price: $5.78
3 used & new from $5.78

5.0 out of 5 stars Simple tin case just the way I like it, June 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Derwent Pencil Tin Case is the a very simple pencil case, just the way I like it.

The design is simple. The edges and corners are rounded. On top, you have the Derwent logo embossed. It's made of tin with brushed surface.

It's quite a big pencil case, and quite thick. It comes with a removable interior tray that can up to 20 pencils, and below, you can hold another 20.

For pens, the tin holds much less as pens and their caps take up more space. It can hold around 6 pens on each tray, depending on their sizes.

Overall, it's really well built and looks nice.

I've some bigger pictures of the pencil tin in the link in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:57 PM PDT


Viarco ArtGraf Water-Soluble Graphite Pan 20 gram Tin
Viarco ArtGraf Water-Soluble Graphite Pan 20 gram Tin
Offered by THE BT GROUP
Price: $18.73
6 used & new from $13.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful to use, June 27, 2014
The graphite comes in a small tin.

The amount may look small, but when you add a bit of water, you can get very concentrated washes. When it dries up, it goes back to its solid form -- very convenient. I use the cap as a pan to control the intensity of the wash instead of using it directly from the graphite. It's easy and fast to apply.

The effect you get with the watersoluble graphite is very textural. It is very granulating and looks really interesting. It will also depend on the paper you use it on.

It's also a good starter set for beginners also looking to practice tonal values.

Highly recommended.

You can see some of the drawings I've done in the links in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:47 PM PDT


Artgraf Watercolor Graphite Set
Artgraf Watercolor Graphite Set
Offered by Hyatt's All Things Creative
Price: $54.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful set of watersoluble graphite, June 27, 2014
This review is from: Artgraf Watercolor Graphite Set
I like using watersoluble graphite. They are handy and a good medium to practice tonal values with.

The set I'm reviewing today is the Viarco's ARTGRAF watercolour graphite set. The product is made in Portugal.

This set consist an Escoda size 4 synthetic travel brush, a graphite stick and graphite pan. They are laid out nicely in a box with cushion padding.

Graphite is a very textural medium, and when you have something like watersoluble graphite, you can expect some really beautiful textures that result from the granulation. If you look at the full size scan, you'll be able to see how the graphite settles on the watercolour paper. The texture is almost a character by itself.

To achieve a flat wash, definitely use a normal brush, and premix the graphite evenly first.

To get truly dark blacks, you need to layer the washes a few times, or use a thick coat of graphite. The graphite stick included is much darker.

The gray from the graphite is a neutral gray. I've tried using it alongside watercolours, but the gray and the colours just do not go well together.

The first time I ran the waterbrush across the graphite from the stick on the paper, I was shocked by how dark the shade is. It's much darker than the graphite from the tin pan.

If you apply the graphite stick to the paper and then add water, it's going to be quite dark. If you want to achieve tonal variation, I suggest premixing on a palette first for better control on the intensity.

Prior the using ARTGRAF, I was using the Derwent Graphitone pencils. I prefer the ARTGRAF. The graphite from the pan is hard but dissolves more readily and can be applied quicker. It also goes back to the nice hard solid form after drying up. There's no flaky stuff to deal with.

After the graphite is dried on the paper, it's more or less permanent but I would suggest using fixative to protect the surface. Without fixative, your fingers can pick up the graphite, just as you would if you rub your fingers against pencil lines on paper.

The items in the set are also sold separately. And if I were to buy them separately, I would just get the graphite pan. If you already have the brush, you don't need the synthetic one that comes in the set.

Overall, highly recommended.

You can see some drawings I've done in the links in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:45 PM PDT


Global Art Materials Viarco Watercolor Graphite Set by ArtGraf
Global Art Materials Viarco Watercolor Graphite Set by ArtGraf
Price: $46.06
6 used & new from $43.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful set of watersoluble graphite, June 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I like using watersoluble graphite. They are handy and a good medium to practice tonal values with.

The set I'm reviewing today is the Viarco's ARTGRAF watercolour graphite set. The product is made in Portugal.

This set consist an Escoda size 4 synthetic travel brush, a graphite stick and graphite pan. They are laid out nicely in a box with cushion padding.

Graphite is a very textural medium, and when you have something like watersoluble graphite, you can expect some really beautiful textures that result from the granulation. If you look at the full size scan, you'll be able to see how the graphite settles on the watercolour paper. The texture is almost a character by itself.

To achieve a flat wash, definitely use a normal brush, and premix the graphite evenly first.

To get truly dark blacks, you need to layer the washes a few times, or use a thick coat of graphite. The graphite stick included is much darker.

The gray from the graphite is a neutral gray. I've tried using it alongside watercolours, but the gray and the colours just do not go well together.

The first time I ran the waterbrush across the graphite from the stick on the paper, I was shocked by how dark the shade is. It's much darker than the graphite from the tin pan.

If you apply the graphite stick to the paper and then add water, it's going to be quite dark. If you want to achieve tonal variation, I suggest premixing on a palette first for better control on the intensity.

Prior the using ARTGRAF, I was using the Derwent Graphitone pencils. I prefer the ARTGRAF. The graphite from the pan is hard but dissolves more readily and can be applied quicker. It also goes back to the nice hard solid form after drying up. There's no flaky stuff to deal with.

After the graphite is dried on the paper, it's more or less permanent but I would suggest using fixative to protect the surface. Without fixative, your fingers can pick up the graphite, just as you would if you rub your fingers against pencil lines on paper.

The items in the set are also sold separately. And if I were to buy them separately, I would just get the graphite pan. If you already have the brush, you don't need the synthetic one that comes in the set.

Overall, highly recommended.

You can see some drawings I've done in the links in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:43 PM PDT


Artgraf Watercolor Graphite In Tin
Artgraf Watercolor Graphite In Tin
Offered by THE BT GROUP
Price: $20.47
4 used & new from $12.70

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful to use, June 27, 2014
The graphite comes in a small tin.

The amount may look small, but when you add a bit of water, you can get very concentrated washes. When it dries up, it goes back to its solid form -- very convenient. I use the cap as a pan to control the intensity of the wash instead of using it directly from the graphite. It's easy and fast to apply.

The effect you get with the watersoluble graphite is very textural. It is very granulating and looks really interesting. It will also depend on the paper you use it on.

It's also a good starter set for beginners also looking to practice tonal values.

Highly recommended.

You can see some of the drawings I've done in the links in the comments section below.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 27, 2014 2:39 PM PDT


The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order
The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order
by Machine Games
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $29.69
38 used & new from $24.89

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing artbook. Highly recommended., June 27, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Length:: 1:42 Mins

The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order is definitely one of top artbooks for 2014, and it's one amazing video game artbook. I was caught by surprised at how good it is.

My copy of the book came with its own cardboard packaging. Usually books come shrink-wrapped or not wrapped at all. Publisher Dark Horse certainly does not want the book to be damaged during shipment.

By the way, there are 208 pages instead of 184 that are listed on some websites, even on Dark Horse's website. Nice little bonus.

This is an oversized artbook with a thick cover and pages. Good binding too.

Inside the concept art are split into 16 levels. For each level, we are shown the characters, environments, props, weapons, robots, vehicles and enemies. They are revealed in order just as in the game.

The art is incredible to look at. It's quite astonishing the amount of detail they put into the concept art. The resolution and definition on the characters are down to the pores. What you'll notice is this level of meticulous detail is applied throughout the book.

Robot designs are fantastic. For the 3D models, I can't even see or feel the polygonal look. These machines looks like very high polygon count models. In short, they look great. There are a lot of robots, mechanical vehicles, props, and quite a few metal hounds. The designs feel as if they have weight, and you won't want to stand in the way of any of the robots.

The environment artworks are beautiful. The artists really nailed the lighting and mood. Many are painted, and I think many are painted over 3D models, but you would feel that it's painted with lots of details rather than that it's modelled in 3D.

In addition to art of the actual assets in the game, there are pre-development concept art, basically artworks that are used to pitch the vision of the world and game play.

The commentary talks briefly about the designs and character profiles.

This is a amazing artbook. One of my favourites for 2014.

Highly recommended.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)


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