Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blender 2.49 Scripting Book Review

Just a few weeks ago, Packt Publishing (http://www.packtpub.com) sent me a personal ebook copy of the recently-released Blender 2.49 Scripting  by Michel Anders (aka “varkenvarken” at the Blender Artists Forum (http://www.blenderartists.org)) and I am very privileged to have the opportunity to review this resourceful book.

Aside from the fact that I’m not adept (or not at all) at Python programming and Python scripting in Blender per se, introducing my subconscious into comprehending the entirety of the book would have meant horror since that’s another aspect of Blender I wish I could’ve learned earlier, but stalled for the near future in fear of reaccepting one of the aspects of computer graphics – programming. But as I read through the pages, I slowly started to realize that scripting in Blender is not that cumbersome of a task I thought it would be; and I owe that to the author for being so modest and for having an approach that is so friendly you wouldn’t even think you’re on it already.

All the topics and subtopics were illustrated in such a way that even a beginner at Blender would grasp the ideas quite well. Unlike any other introductory technical books I’ve read before, this one is unique in ways that it doesn’t “assume” you already know something. It will also give you a brief idea just how flexible and powerful Python scripting in Blender is. If I have never read this, I wouldn’t have thought some methods were possible just by accessing the scripting capabilities embedded in Python and Blender.

One thing I found missing (or should’ve been the main topic) was a full scripting support for the latest version of Blender, 2.5, since whether we like it or not, that’s the path all Blender users are going to and it might seem obsolete to be understanding something you couldn’t use effectively at present. This is meant for Blender 2.49 which is using Python 2.6 API and the latest version of Blender is already using Python 3 as its API, which had some changes to the programming ways and scripting. But who knows, there might just be a Second Edition of this book coming up. It would make sense however because the latest version of Blender is not yet official and is still in Alpha stage and was really meant to be a testing version of Blender until 2.6 comes out, which would definitely be a great timing for another updated release of this book by Michel. Nevertheless, having read this book gave me a general idea on what to do and how to be efficient with Blender via the scripting tools available, then I could just derive the concepts and translate it to the current Blender Python API.

One last note; to fully understand what the author is trying to imply, it would be a good idea to at least read the official Python manual, though not necessary, it might help so you could understand some of the terms and lingoes used herein.

Here’s a link to the book > Blender 2.49 Scripting 

And here’s a free chapter for all of you > https://www.packtpub.com/sites/default/files/0400-Chapter-5-Acting-on-Frame-Changes.pdf

In this chapter you will learn to:

  • Get help with writing scripts that may be used to act on certain events.
  • Learn what script links and space handlers are and how they can be used to perform activities on each frame change in an animation.
  • Learn how to look into ways to augment the functionality of the 3D view

So if I were to rate the book, it would be 9/10 (no biases included).

No comments: