Gordon Fisher’s Blender 3D Printing Essentials (published by PACKT, who sent me a review copy), is a guide to creating models for 3D printing with Blender. As PACKT currently have a five-bucks-on-all-E-Books sale going, I might advise you pickup an E-Book copy (NOT a physical one – read on) if you’re interested in the topic. At full price though I would suggest looking elsewhere.
The book is admirable in that Fisher is clearly knowledgeable when it comes to 3D printing. He discusses the mechanisms of different 3D printing technologies. He details various types of 3D printers and covers techniques to make models printable with each of them. All of the important things you need to know with regard to modeling for both laser sintering and extrusion based 3D printers are discussed. Blenders mesh analysis tools are explained, as is the 3D Print Toolbox add-on. All of the important processes such as making objects hollow, checking wall thickness and sharpness, checking overhang and adding supports for extrusion printers and so on are covered. The writing is for the most part clear and functional.
The demo project for the book is a pencil-holder in the form of a dragon. Whilst not beautifully realised, this is adequate for the purposes of detailing the techniques required for 3D printing. The different stages in preparing it are covered in step-by-step fashion and Fisher does a good job of explaining the purpose behind each modification he makes to the model to render it printable.
I would strongly advise against buying a print copy of the book however. I prefer to do serious reading in dead tree format where possible, and so I requested a paper copy of the book to review. However the paper version of the book is printed in black-and-white, whilst the books illustrations and screenshots were intended to be seen in colour and are described as such in the text. In several places the book discusses the colours seen in screenshots, an exercise rendered entirely baffling by the accompanying black-and white image.
Obviously this is only a problem with the physical version of the book, and PACKT do provide an E-Book copy to those who purchase the paper copy through their own site. No warning is given to those purchasing the book elsewhere however, that certain portions of the book are rendered unusable by this oversight. PACKT offer a download of the colour images from the book, but this doesn’t really change the fact that the print edition of the book is fundamentally of less use than the E-Book, something they could have paid less for in the first place.
In conclusion, I might recommend the e-book version to those who need an introduction to creating models for 3D printing and are struggling to find the information elsewhere. The print version? Steer clear.
Blender Master class will begin shipping next week, and for a week starting today you can get the book (Print or E-Book edition) for 40% off at Nostarch.com. Just use the coupon code WILLITBLEND at the checkout.
For more about the book, check out this post.
— Ton Roosendaal (@tonroosendaal) February 15, 2013
You can now buy my book, Blender Master Class on the Blender.org E-Store, it’s roughly the same price as ordering anywhere else, and you’ll also be supporting the Blender Foundation.
If you’ve noticed I’ve been updating the site a bit less frequently of late, this (and busy times at Gecko Animation) is pretty much why. Along with the talented and patient folks at No Starch Press, I’ve been writing a book about creating art with Blender and GIMP. It covers everything from modeling to sculpting, through to textures, materials, lighting and rendering.
The book takes you through three different projects: a gruesome bat monster, a robotic spider, and an overgrown temple deep in the jungle. But this isn’t just a simple step by step tutorial. Whilst you can use the book that way, I chose each of the projects to provide a unique set of challenges, and I use the projects to help explain how to use GIMP and Blender in your own projects. The book is filled with examples from my other works too, as well as detailed descriptions of blenders tools, and guides to getting the most out of Blender and GIMP with your own custom UIs, Brushes and Materials.
Plus, the book comes with a DVD containing all of the project files and resources used in creating each of the projects, plus some extra goodies like brushes, mat-cap materials, textures, and sculpting alphas.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what’s covered in the book:
- Introductions to Blender and GIMP for new users.
- Working with reference images and concept art in Blender and GIMP.
- Modeling, from blocking out basic forms, to creating complex meshes.
- Sculpting both organic and hard-surface models.
- Retopology to turn complex sculpts into simple models with good topology.
- Creating hair and fur with Blender’s particle systems.
- Baking textures (Ambient Occlusion, Displacement, Normals, Colours) from models.
- Painting textures using both Blender and GIMP.
- Creating materials for Blender Internal and Cycles renderers. Creating materials for BI with the Properties editor, and building up complex cycles shader with the Node editor.
- Lighting, again with both Blender Internal and Cycles renderers.
- Rendering and compositing the final scenes, adding post-processing effects with compositing nodes and adding final touch-ups in GIMP.
The book will be published in February/March. You can pre-order it now from Amazon, the Blender.org Store or from the No Starch Press website. If you order from No Starch, you get a free E-Book edition of the book when you purchase the print edition.
It’s been a big project putting the book together, and I hope it’s resulted in something really useful. So if you’ve enjoyed the tutorials on this site I hope you’ll give it a look.