3D Graphics and Animation

With 3D becoming so widespread thanks to Hollywood, it’s no wonder that interest in 3D animation is becoming widespread and schools are introducing 3D into curriculums. While there is a wealth of books available that cover application-specific training, there lack non-software specific books for total beginners in our craft. This is where Mark Giambruno’s 3D Graphics and Animation, published by New Riders comes in.

The book is made for absolute beginners, going through the entire process of explaining 3D space, what modeling is and what “keyframe” means all the way to lighting, rendering and inverse kinematics. The book is unique in that it also touches on the non-technical side of 3D – what is a demo reel, what employers are looking for in a reel, how to write a script, etc. What I found illuminating are the interviews with various artists actually working in the industry such as Mike Jones (Westwood), Richard Green (LucasArts) and Andy Murdock (Lot’s of Robots).

The great thing about the book is that it does try to be as non-software-specific as possible. Though the printed examples are in 3ds max, the accompanying CD-ROM contains tutorials and files in Maya and Lightwave formats too. The CD also contains a number of animations such as Andy Murdock’s “Rocketpants”, as well as the two “Gone Bad” short films by Mondo Media in San Francisco.

This book looks like it belongs in the classroom. For college or high school curriculums that have a 3D course going for a semester or two, 3D Graphics and Animation serves as a brilliant starting point to introduce people to 3D as it goes all the way back to basics. What will really sell beginners are the insights from folk already working in the industry, and the non-technical advise documented in the book such as “What’s it like to be a 3D artist”. If you’re completely new to 3D, or you’re putting together a 3D course, take a look at 3D Graphics and Animation by Mark Giambruno.

3D Graphics & Animation, by Mark Giambruno
New Riders