If you're familiar with the Lightwave community, Dan Ablan should ring a bell as the author of the Inside Lightwave series of books. This time round, Dan returns with another book - but this time on a more general topic within the 3D field. [digital] Cinematography & Directing follows the tradition of the other [digital] titles from New Riders in that it takes a non-software specific approach to the subject matter.
Dan is currently heading his own company called AGA Digital Studios based just outside of Chicago, IL, and has just completed shots for a music video for the band Adema. I got a chance to have a quick chat with Dan about his latest title.
Leo: What is [digital] Cinematography & Directing?
Dan Ablan: [digital] Cinematography & Directing is different from any other cinematography book as it focuses its efforts on the 3D animator. It’s a book about what I think is one of the most powerful aspects of 3D animation - the camera. And, along side that is all the other elements such as project planning, storyboarding, post production, compressions and rendering. It is a book that can help beginning animators understand what the 3D camera can do by examining real world cinematic principles. For experienced animators that have a good handle on the camera and its uses, this book can open their eyes to some shot ideas and varying techniques they might not have thought of.
Leo: What prompted you to write [digital] Cinematography & Directing?
Dan Ablan: I’ve written 5 books for New Riders Publishing, all on LightWave 3D. I’ve worked as technical editor for Jeremy Birn’s excellent [digital] Lighting & Rendering, and contributed to the After Effects 5.5 Magic book. In this process, I’ve found that the [digital] series is one of (if not the best) resources for general 3D learning. The format is excellent and the content is always rich, and straight to the point for digital artists. But as the years progressed, I saw a digital lighting book, a digital texture book, digital character books, and coming soon, a digital compositing book. But what about the camera? I’ve seen a lot of 3D animation, and not many really take advantage of the 3D camera… mostly because there isn’t really much specific information out there. So, I approached the publisher about it and they were confident enough in the topic and moreso, me – and the book was underway.
Leo: What level of readers or what sort of readers is this book aimed at?
Dan Ablan: This book is for anyone in 3D animation that wants to take advantage of the camera in 3D space. With that said, people new to the field of animation can use this reference, such as students in school, or what I call people like I was “professional hobbyists.” Even people who are very skilled at modeling, textures, lighting and motion can benefit from this book.
[digital] Cinematography & Directing is now available from bookstores with New Riders titles. You can also purchase it online here.