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GCG Feature: 'How to Learn 3D Animation: Part Three'

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, former Gamasutra editor Brad Kane presents part three of his series reviewing b
In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, former Gamasutra editor Brad Kane presents part three of his series reviewing books currently available to teach yourself the industry's two leading computer animation packages: Maya and 3D Studio Max, this time taking his first look at 3D Studio Max. As Kane's introduction explains: "Part One of this series covered introductory books on Maya, while Part Two stepped into intermediate territory with Maya book titles aimed at games. Part Three takes a jump over to 3D Studio Max. [...] 3D Studio Max has evolved into the industry's premiere game development tool, and is now geared in many ways toward the types of work done by game developers - polygonal modeling, UV-mapping, canned character setup and biped animation, etc. Additionally, vast arrays of plug-ins are available for different game-related applications, and many of the off-the-shelf game engines and middleware solutions on the market are designed to work specifically with 3D Studio Max. Even better, recent releases have given the software many of the more high end features previously found only in packages such as Maya, including state-of-the art techniques like sub-surface scattering (which made Gollum's skin look translucent) and global illumination (used for ultra-realistic lighting by many VFX houses), as well as a proprietary scripting language. And since 3D Studio Max is still less expensive and more accessible than its high-end counterparts, it remains the modeling and animation package of choice for most development houses. Both Max and Maya are outstanding pieces of software, and we're reviewing books on both packages because there are definite advantages to both packages. Either way, the process and pipeline of computer animation is the same, and as a new user, you may find yourself wanting to know both pieces of software. Financially speaking, a licensed copy of 3D Studio Max 9 can be purchased for only several hundred dollars (as opposed to thousands for Maya, but then again, there's the free Maya PLE - so really it's a matter of what you want to go with your computer animation skills). In this article, we'll check out the best books available for learning 3D Studio Max from the ground up." You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature to learn more about learn more about the best books currently available for 3D Studio Max beginners (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).

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