If, like yours truly, you are that kind of a person for whom reading manuals sits somewhere close to the end of your priorities list, then this book is for you.
At first glance the book looks very appealing - full of illustrations, box-outs, tips and other goodies. There's even a DVD in it!
Starting from the Introduction the book is written in a very friendly, easy to follow way. Unlike many other publications, Anne's book points to many facets of image production. It is not about how complex your model is, it is about the idea and its execution (hence the word artist in the title). There are many references to our perception of visual reality and its representation in the world of 3D.
The whole book is project based and follows a logical progression.
The projects start with simple modelling exercises. The instructions are clear and to the point, often explaining the logic behind the processes and alternative methods. Most of the steps are illustrated with screen-shots and shaded box-outs give you additional info on technical or artistic issues.
The projects soon progress to animation, key framing, F-curves etc. The progression always feels smooth and logical.
The modelling takes you as far as modelling a human head and is followed by facial animation (at which stage you are not a beginner any more).
The animation section covers everything you'd need to know to start working independently. Starting with key framing it goes on all the way to character rigging, IK and MOCCA.
The Materials and Lights sections are good, but did leave me wanting more.
At the end of each chapter there is a Springboard!. Springboard is a nifty little thing giving you a nudge in the right direction and encouraging to experiment and learn more. There are also clear directions to finding more information on the included DVD.
A whole section of the book is dedicated to third party C4D plug-ins. It is a very comprehensive look at the most creative and useful plug-ins available, complete with work examples and distributors details - bravo!
Yet another big bonus is the part dedicated to working with third party software. The info on using Illustrator and Photoshop is a great addition to the book.
Finally Anne encourages you to turn your computer off and spend some time just looking around and sketching - I could not agree more.
The DVD included with the book is filled with useful information (and there is 1.5GB of it!).
It is very well organized with folders for each chapter, with the working files, other examples and other mind-expanding goodies.
All illustrations included in the book are also included for your reference.
There are galleries of masters and guest artists as well as additional information on creating artwork and textures in third party applications (Illustrator, Photoshop etc.).
My only gripe with the DVD was that most of the files were saved with save path in them (pointing to Anne's Desktop) and after hitting render, you have to stop, change the path and go again. A small issue, but it can get a bit annoying. Also some of the example files seem to have their textures buried far away from the project and you need to search for them on the DVD.