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Creating a 3D Animated CGI Short: The Making of the Autiton Archives Fault Effect - Pilot Webisode Paperback – March 3, 2010
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Fault Effect is a beautifully animated and artistically brilliant animated short written, produced and directed by the author, Michael Scaramozzino. And this book I am reviewing is about how Mr. Scaramozzino created Fault Effect.
Okay... what does it offer? Essentially this is a step-by-step how-to book showing how Michael created Fault Effect pretty much on his own with standard off-the-shelf software along with lots of perseverence and determination. From concept to final creation, it is chock-full of what to do and what to look out for. He offers very useful advice when it comes to making your own short (or feature if you are so inclined) and explains what the differences are between large productions and smaller ones such as Fault Effect. I've found lots of useful information that I will be using in my own short and I'm looking forward to implementing quite a bit of the info he provided. And the included DVD is just an added bonus and contains color pictures of everything in the book as well as the Fault Effect short and award-winning BlastOff! short.
The only thing I would have liked to see more of would be a little more balance between Mac and Windows programs in the post production area. Michael is primarily a "Mac Guy" and avoids Windows programs pretty much completely in favor of an all-Mac flavor. I can't really fault him for this, since most everything written today is Windows/PC-centric. I guess it's about time that we had a great book for mostly Mac-users too. This of course does not mean that the book is ONLY for Mac users. On the contrary, most of the procedures Mike writes about can be used by either camps and even for 3D software other than Lightwave, which is his software of choice. The concepts are identical, just the software would be different.
All in all, this is a great book and must-have asset for the independent animator. It's not often that I feel I've got my moneys-worth out of a product, but in this case I feel I've got much MORE than I paid for. It's not easy to spend money in this economy, but this was an easy decision and I couldn't be more pleased with this book. Now I'm REALLY anxious to get my short completed! Kudos to Michael Scaramozzino for having the patience and temperament to write this wonderful book!
He has some discussion on the hardware to use, saying Use What Will Get the Job Done. I like his comment that maybe he will add a few more 8-core Mac Pros. But if what you have is a Windows PC. Go ahead and use it. Likewise with software, he says that if you have a limited budget, LightWave 3D is hard to beat. Then he uses that for nearly every illustration in the book. He does comment on Blender which is free, a very good price in my mind. But then he comments that Blender has an non-Maclike interface which really slowed him down.
A lot of animation takes a lot of computer processing, so you may want to upgrade, I suggest you look at equipment on eBay. Used servers are really cheap look at Dell or HP equipment. For Instance I bought an HP dl385 with two dual core AMD Opterons and 16GB of memory for some $38. It had no hard disks, but I got them for $6.32 each.