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From Barnes & NobleFor years, Rick Parent's Computer Animation has been praised as an exceptionally accessible introduction to the technical, mathematical, and scientific foundations of 3D digital animation. Fully reflecting major advances in the field, Parent's Second Edition covers an enormous amount of new material -- but it still offers the clarity and detail that made the original so popular. If you really want to understand what's going on underneath the hood of your animation software -- and if you want to accomplish things that can't be done with out-of-the-box tools -- this is the place to start.
Parent starts with a quick survey of the background material you need to be effective, from the basics of animation production to the rendering pipeline. Next, he turns to the technique much of CG is built upon: interpolation. Thoroughly understanding how to interpolate values gives you a foundation for the core techniques he covers next, including deformation and morphing.
Computer Animation then introduces kinematics (including forward and reverse kinematics, as well as forward dynamics). There's a full chapter on motion capture, showing how markers can be processed and how the resulting data can be modified.
After you walk through physics-based animation and fluid modeling, Parent carefully introduces techniques for animating living creatures: constructing and clothing figures, creating realistic facial expressions, lip-syncing, crowd behavior, even building "predator-prey" models. In the final chapter, he introduces three important "special models": implicit surfaces, subdivision surfaces, and L-systems for creating highly realistic animated plants and trees.
As you move through the book, the algorithms move to higher levels and greater sophistication. Parent illuminates many of them with code examples. Sometimes, he uses working C code; other times, where it's clearer, C-like pseudocode. The code is just one of the ways Parent demystifies one of today's most complex disciplines. Bill Camarda, from the December 2007 Read Only