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Showing posts with label book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

VES Handbook now in eBook formats

The VES Handbook is finally out in Kindle format from Amazon. It came out last fall but had issues with the Table of Contents among other things.  Currently $37.22 on US amazon store. Paperback is $41.35

[July 17, 2012 Just checked amazon and they're back to selling it at full retail price. $64.95 Not sure why. I assume the publisher requested it?]

It also is out for the Nook format as well at Barnes and Noble.  Currently $64.95 on US Barnes and Noble.

There's hope for an iBook format version as well but unknown when that will happen.

(I haven't been able to do a full check yet)

The good news:
1. Now more portable. The paperback book is about 960 pages and is about 1 and 1/2 inches thick, so it's not an easy thing to carry around.

2 Should be able to run on any device that supports whichever format you buy. That includes the iPad and other devices.

3. The Kindle version at least includes the additional articles from the website so is closer to 1200 pages.

4. Working Table of Contents to make it quicker to go directly to chapters.

5. You can bookmark, highlight text and add notes to most of the eReaders to make it fast to go to a specific section.

The bad news:
1. Some of the photos from studios have restrictions and will not appear in the electronic versions.
(I'm not sure how many at this point)

2. The printed book included sub-chapter page numbers for the actual articles.  The electronic versions only list by chapters.  Wish they had the full table of contents working.

Other info about the Handbook:
It won a Prose award which is an award for profesional and scholarly excellence for publications. The Handbook won in the Art Technique category.

Animation World Review

We are actively seeking specific feedback for the handbook since we're already discussing version 2 update.  (They're already on the 2nd printing)  More than likely we'll be augmenting the book with added articles instead of totally revamping existing articles but please submit any thoughts and ideas.
Too much? Too little? What worked? What didn't?

Focal Press has a sample online.  The page also lists the table of contents. See link lower on that page for a sampler.   This is a section of Bill Taylor's article on shooting greenscreen/bluescreen.  This article gets into a lot detail because it's a defined technical process.  In the handbook there are a mix of articles, some that deal with very specific technical issues and some that deal with broader issues.

VES Handbook companion site - Includes author bios and extended versions of some of the articles.

(extended articles should be in Kindle version)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

VES handbook thoughts?

Now that the VES visual effects handbook has been out several months it would be great to get some specific feedback. Sometime in the next 2-3 years it will likely be updated slightly.

Keep in mind the idea of the handbook was to cover the full range of visual effects from pre-production to post-production. Most people working in vfx are primarily focused in post-production but we felt it was necessary to encompass the full range. If you're already an expert in any one area we still hope it provides some useful tips or info in that area. More importantly the hope is it allows vfx artists to see the entire process, grow into other areas if they wish and to understand others facets of the process.

The idea was to provide reasonably detailed information by experts but we had a limit of 700 pages (and ended up with almost 1000 as is was). So while many of these articles could have turned into full books we wanted to provide a good base for the specific topic. We also wanted to try to balance the tone of the writing so there was a constancy even though we had 89 writers.

We tried to minimize specific software and hardware details since this was to provide the fundamentals no matter what you were using (and would avoid being out of date the moment it was released.)

So this is an opportunity to provide some feedback on the handbook. What did you like abount the handbook? Not like about it? What areas didn't we cover or cover enough? Are there particular areas that could be expanded or you felt were too long? What would make it more useful to you? It would also be good to have an idea of your experience level and specific area of interest if you're so inclined.

If the VES were to do other books in the future what would you like to see?

Emailing me would be best but you can post here if you wish.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

VES Handbook up for a Prose award

I've been notified the VES Handbook is up for a Prose award, which is nice recognition for all of those who worked on it.

Richard Kerrigan wrote a review on Animation World Network here.

Oddly on Amazon:
1. The Kindle version isn't listed any more.  I suspect this is because we (and buyers) flagged to Focal Press that the ebook was lacking a Table of Contents so they may want to fix it before selling more copies.

2. There are at least a couple of people selling it for $122 through Amazon.  Not sure why since the book is
still available as far as I know (Amazon lists it as in stock)  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

VES Handbook Released

The VES Handbook of Visual Effects is now shipping. I know at least a couple of people I spoke to thought "why do we need another vfx book?" Once they saw the scope and depth of the handbook they changed their minds. It's not a tutorial. It doesn't deal with specific software or hardware. The book covers a wide range of things: budgeting, previs, shooting on set, shooting elements, color issues, digital cameras, stereo, rendering fur, video game creation, workflow, etc. We've tried to at least touch on a bit of everything and in most cases we had experts writing a detailed article. I'm hoping vfx artist of all types will find a use for it as a reference, to help fill in gaps of knowledge, tips and tricks and as a means to come up to speed on other areas of visual effects that may be outside their expertise.

If you're at SIGGRAPH this week they have some copies at the Focal Press / Morgan Kaufman booth that you can check out. (update: Told if you show your membership card you'll get the discount there)

VES members check emails for member discount.

Amazon does have it on sale at 10% less than the marked retail.

Focal Press is hoping to release the book on Kindle and as a paid eBook PDF on their site shortly. There's some conversion involved to get it into an electronic version. They are also trying to get it on the iBook store but that may take a little longer.  Kindle edition would work on any device with Kindle software - iPhone, iPad, PC/Mac, etc.  iBook version would be for the iPad and iPhone. These eBook versions will be handy to have available where ever you are.  The printed book is 922 pages.

NOTE: Focal Press did want to alert buyers that the electronic versions will be missing 70 photos that are in the printed book. These are photos from the studios or other sources that we don't have e-rights to.

PIRATE COPIES:  Please don't pirate the book.  Pirating is stealing, despite what excuses people give themselves.  Assuming you are involved in vfx you are involved in making IP (Intellectual property) that can be pirated.  I suspect you'd like to be paid for your work and the time you put into something. Respect yourself and the business you're in.  I and the other authors/editors who worked on the book chose to volunteer so the VES could provide something of value to vfx artists and that could also provide a source of revenue for the VES.   The more copies that are pirated, the less likely updates are made. This is true of any product for sale.

Focal Press will also have a place on their site that will have some extended articles which were trimmed down for the book.

I was a co-editor and did write some of the articles. I cover some of the issues from this blog but these were all re-written from scratch for the book.

Added:  Focal Press has a sample online.  The page also lists the table of contents. See link lower on that page for a sampler.   This is a section of Bill Taylor's article on shooting greenscreen/bluescreen.  This article gets into a lot detail because it's a defined technical process.  In the handbook there are a mix of articles, some that deal with very specific technical issues and some that deal with broader issues.

VES Handbook companion site - Includes author bios and extended versions of some of the articles.

10/27/2010 Update

VES Handbook of Visual Effects released for the Kindle!  Now take it with you on the Kindle, iPad, iPhone, etc.

7/20/2011 Update  Now actually out for good on the Kindle and Nook.

8/4/2010 update
I was interviewed about the handbook by fxGuide which always does a fantastic podcast.  (Subscribe through iTunes)  In the video I'm trying to blink at 24fps and as always my hands are juggling invisible objects.  Sorry. I would be remiss if I didn't mentioned fxphd, which is an great online training program created by the same team involved with fxGuide.  They cover Nuke and many of the professional packages.

One other note is someone on Amazon reviewed the book and didn't think it would help you get a shot finished.  No it won't. It was never designed to do so.  As I mentioned in the video interview if you're already an expert in any one thing and that's the only article in the book you read then you're not going to get a lot out of it.  The book is designed to provide the principles to areas outside your expertise. It does cover pre-production and production, which not all vfx artists are involved with, but are critical in seeing a shot all the way through the process.  If the live action is not shot correctly then there's less likelihood of success downstream.

There are also an infinite number of vfx shots and numerous programs and other tools that can be used so trying to come up with a solution book for all 3D rendering, compositing, animating, (etc) issues would be impossible.  You're better off getting a specific book or online class targeted your specific software applications (and kept up to date).

You can post comments here for what changes/additions you'd like to see in the next update. I view the handbook like a software application that will get updates and have improvements made to it.  If you're a VES member there's a specific area of the forums at the VES site to provide feedback as well.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

VES Handbook of Visual Effects

I'm told the VES Handbook should be available July 30 (currently listed as Aug 13 on Amazon).
960 pages of info written by 88 vfx professionals. (I wrote a few articles and was a co-editor)
Full color.

It is available as a pre-order from Amazon (10% discount) and I would expect many cinema related bookstores would carry it. The VES was exploring discounts for members but no word on this.

The current plan is to try to provide it in eBook format as well for Kindle and iBook but when those options will be available I don't know.

For full details on the handbook and it's release, please follow link below.

Latest Info: Handbook has been released posting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

VES Handbook of Visual Effects

We're still finishing the VES Handbook but it's already listed on Amazon.

My understanding is it's supposed to be out this summer (July?).
I don't know if the VES has special rates or other options for VES members.

Co-editors included myself, Toni Pace-Carstensen and Kevin Rafferty

For full details on the handbook and it's release, please follow link below.

Latest Info: Handbook has been released posting.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Visual Effects Producer Book

This was written by Charles Finance and Susan Zwerman, both with the VIsual Effects Society.
Susan is also one of the editors of the VES Handbook that is in progress.

If you're interested in visual effects producing this is the book. Covers primarily the budgeting, scheduling and workflow issues but also covers basics of the technical issues along with pros and cons. 377 pages

Another book to check out is The VES Handbook of Visual Effects which was released end of July 2010.  More info.

Monday, February 23, 2009

VES Handbook

I wanted to let everyone know that there is a Visual Effects Society handbook being written by quite a few visual effects artists, myself included. There's already a publisher involved and the plan is to release it next year.

I have a few different articles halfway done for this blog that hopefully I'll be finishing up and posting once I have more writing completed on the handbook.

For full details on the handbook and it's release please follow link below.
Latest Info: Handbook has been released posting.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Close Encounters Book

There's a new book on Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This was the first film I worked on and the author covers the behind the scenes, including the visual effects. I still have to get around to covering some of the vfx on this blog, including the cloud tank but he's got most of it covered.

[My cloud tank effect posting describes how we created the clouds in Close Encounters]

Close Encounters VFX Video 1
Close Encounters VFX Video 2

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Filming the Fantastic

I recieved this email the other day from Mark Sawicki along with a notice from the Visual Effects Society. Unfortunately I haven't seen the book yet (looks good on Amazon) and probably won't be able to attend the screening.

From Mark Sawicki:
Another reason I'm writing is to let you know of a new book I've written on visual effects called "Filming the Fantastic" published by Focal Press and available through Amazon. (His site is Filming the Fantastic
I thought you might be kind enough to mention it on your site for your viewers who might be interested. It is my attempt to bridge the traditional era and the digital era by way of my varied experiences in the business. I have also been invited to show my film "Twilight Cameraman" at a Visual Effects Society event on July 25th. I did a romantic look back on the craft of the optical cameraman that I hope people will enjoy.

Here's the VES notice:
The VES Education/Technology Committee will present a screening and panel discussion looking back at the optical era of visual effects production to bid it a fond (and perhaps thankful) farewell while exploring those traditions and techniques that can still inform and inspire today's digital artists.
The evening begins with a reception before a screening of Mark Sawicki's short film, Twilight Cameraman, Sawicki's ode to the optical effects era shot during his last day on the job at Custom Film Effects as a motion picture optical cameraman.
After the screening, a panel of industry veterans will compare and contrast optical and digital effects pipelines to illustrate how past techniques can illuminate and inform current digital practices.
DATE: Wednesday, July 25, 2007
TIME: Reception: 6:30pm
Presentation: 7:30-9:00pm
LOCATION: Sony Picture Imageworks, Ince Theater 10202 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

This event if FREE for VES members and their guests. To RSVP, log onto, enter your username and password, then click "RSVP for Screening & Event." Although we will try to accommodate everyone who RSVPs to this event, this screening will be overbooked to ensure a full house, with admission determined on a first come, first served.