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3D Game Art f/x and Design [Paperback]

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Item description for 3D Game Art f/x and Design by Luke Ahearn...

-- Covers the hottest technology of 2-D and 3-D game art and shows step-by-step how to create the special effects in today's leading games
-- Teaches specialized skills, tricks, and techniques used to create professional-quality game art elements, including backgrounds, special effects, lighting, and much more
-- Features a 32-page color section that displays various techniques, screen shots of games, game textures, and other game assets
-- Discusses the parts of a computer game from the artist's perspective including interfaces, menus, characters, 3-D models, and game levels
-- Includes a CDROM containing a large collection of game development software and graphic elements

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Item Specifications...

Pages   408
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.96" Width: 8.12" Height: 1"
Weight:   2.64 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2002
Publisher   Paraglyph Press
ISBN  1932111441  
ISBN13  9781932111446  
UPC  788581010044  

Availability  0 units.

More About Luke Ahearn

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Luke Ahearn was born in New Orleans and that definitely effected him as a writer. No city can be at one time so bawdy and noble, enlightened and inebriated... In a city isolated in the deep south, but serving as a gateway to the world, you are bound to have some serious dichotomies. He now lives in Monterey, CA.

Luke Ahearn has an academic affiliation as follows - Author; Game Publisher, Dead Reckoning and America's Army.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Graphics & Illustration > General
2Books > Subjects > Computers & Internet > Web Development > HTML, Graphics, & Design > Web Graphics

Reviews - What do customers think about 3D Game Art f/x and Design?

Excellent first book  Sep 17, 2006
Whenever I am contemplating a new game development book the first thing I look at is the copyright year. Software books become obsolete so quickly but..... You don't have to do that with this one.
This is not about coupling up with the latest software and understanding how to make game graphics. This is about understanding the principles behind graphics for games. and that means it is very relevant.

It teaches how to create, manage, and manipulate textures and tiles and how to create seamless tiling. Lots of other stuff too including a nice, but short, tutorial on how to use the genesis 3d game engine to create a game. Very useful tutorial. The genesis 3d engine is open software and a copy of it comes on the CD with the book. This alone is nice because you can take this book and actually make a game. Everything is right there including software, tutorial and sample textures.

Perfect book for the person looking to make a 3d dungeon type game but has never tried to make a game before.

I found the tutorials easy to follow except that it uses Photoshop and if you are a starving game maker like me you probably can't afford photoshop so you will have to work through your own translation into your paint program. I use Paint Shop Pro which is superb and about 1/10 the cost of photoshop.

All in all it is a great book to teach you some fundamentals of game art and I refer to it over and over.

A good starting point for the aspiring mod maker or mapper  Nov 14, 2002
I picked this book up without much research. After a quick flip through the pages I decided it was better to have around than no reference material at all.

Strong points: Luke Ahearn goes through a step-by-step process regarding building texture libraries, and efficient ways to structure your directory trees for referencing. These are all valid lessons that apply directly to working in a professional environment, so pay attention! Also, his feedback on tiling and cleaning up of digital images is relevant, although not comprehensive.

As far as the other game art tips included, I haven't tried them yet. I use a different mapping engine (Quake 3 / GTK Radiant) but the tips and interfaces between many engines are similar, so if you don't have a commercially supported editor, I assume Wild Tangent's Genesis 3D one is adequate (it's really designed for web-based 3D gaming, and doesn't require 3D cards for all applications). At any rate, this book is not the end-all-be-all of game art and level design books, but rather a very good place to start.

Weak points: The author puts a lot of information into the book without focusing on any one particular area. Perhaps that is due to the nature of the work. Be a good 2D artist and make textures. Be a good 3D artist and make models. Be a good level designer and put everything together. It's a lot to handle, and a lot of it is crammed into the book but no one area is really focused on entirely. Also, if you're not using Photoshop for texturing, have fun adapting these lessons to another application.

Given Mr. Ahearn's professional experience (he did the level work and artwork for America's Army: Operations - the free 1st person shooter released by the US Army powered by the Unreal engine) it's safe to say he knows what he's doing. Don't purchase this book thinking it'll be the only tome you need to read to become a fantastic 3D artist or level artist, but consider it if you want to have a handy reference manual on how to make effective textures and intriguing levels for your games. Since modern day games can get very complex very quickly (bot pathfinding and logic, creating shaders and sky boxes, etc.) it's good to start with the essentials and build up from there.

There aren't a lot of books out there that cover this type of work, so my suggestion is pick it up, work through it, and hit some message boards to learn how to do the tricky stuff.
A good start, though a way to go  Aug 26, 2002
The learning curve to produce good 3D content is pretty steep. As human beings, we are very familiar with what 3D spaces should look like, and therefore it can be very irksome to us when something looks bad, unreal, or out of place. This book attempts to act as a primer on how to create art for compelling worlds.

I work professionally as a developer on a 3D authoring application and so I'm pretty familiar with many of the skills required to create 3D content. There are many steps from concept to final, and some of them require at least a rudiment of artistic or design background.

The author at least does a good job of taking the reader through most of the important steps, and certainly focuses on the design related ones. The author gives some good source material and basic techniques for dirtying up and making textures tileable, though some of the tasks require at least a moderate knowledge of Photoshop. He also offers a few key tidbits of advice in modeling and lighting environments, though nothing groundbreaking.

A large portion of the book goes to explaining how to use Genesis3D, an open source 3D application that comes on the CD with the book. I applaud the author in at least packaging a pertinent program so the reader can be given a chance to use their skills. Unfortunately it is typical of 3D-game world editors and isn't very easy to use. I would recommend at least looking around and trying other editors before investing much time in learning one. Though this is certainly a necessary evil to learn at least one if you plan on doing any level editing.

I'd say the main weakness of the book is that it is geared primarily towards the creation of typical first-person shooter worlds. Fortunately these are very popular, and surrealistic enviroments tend not to require as much finesse because limited or extreme lighting and environments can be used to hide limitations in modeling experience. It tends to be much more difficult to create 3D enviroments of the familiar (i.e. offices, house interiors, etc.) though who wants to make those anyway, that's what everyone is trying to escape from in the first place, right? ;)

In closing, this book is a good start, however, even though the author may be a really great level designer he definitely hasn't imparted all of his tricks in this book. I don't mean to offend, though it possibly might be from lack of experience. The fact that he talks about how to get rid of "flash burn" from a camera instead of teaching techniques on how to avoid it in the first place, such as buying an [inexpensive]off-camera flash (or if you can't afford that, at least putting tissue paper in front of the flash to act as a diffuser)

For more information of how to create good textures, I'd recommend reading anything Hayden Duvall has written in Game Developer Magazine or on game development Web sites.

For more information of fundamental lighting techniques, I'd recommend [digital] Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn. Or, if you can afford it, take a technical theater course on lighting design at a community college.

Unfortunately, for 3D game level design there aren't very many good resources, they're all broken up by what editor is used to create the levels, so first pick your game/editor and then just look for forums dedicated to that one.

From a programmers perspective  Aug 25, 2002
I am reviewing this book from a Software Engineer's point of view. I have zero experience with generating game art. Which is precisely why I bought this book. So keep that in mind as you read this.

The book is dived into two parts. "Part 1 - 2D Interactive Game Art" is devoted to designing and building textures in Adobe Photoshop. This was a bit disapointing as I can't afford to pop ($) for Photoshop. But I imagine the techniques are pretty much the same regardless of the software you use (assuming that part of the industry uses any kind of a standard). Part 1 also has a few detours into things like "Logos" and their design process and "Menu's and Interfaces." In my opinion, these detours are bonus materials. The author uses a tutorial based approach for learning how to build textures in Photoshop. Each tutorial focuses on a basic method, i.e., Creating A Rust Texture, Creating Brushed Metal. Then, a group of tutorials is followed up by a multi texture project that may or may not use the textures you created in the previous tutorials.

The texture tutorials are a bit vague. They basically follow this kind of format (I'm paraphrasing each step):

To create a rust texture in Photshop, follow these steps:

1. Creat a new image document and make it 600x600...
2. Fill the background with a light brown...
3. Add noise to this layer with the Noise filter: Choose Noise|Add Noise. Set the amount to 40, Gaussian and make it Monochromatic.
4. Blur this layer by choosing Filter|Blur|Motion Blur. Set the angle to 45 and the Distanceto 45...

If you are already a texture artist, maybe you know what "Set the amount to 40, Gaussian and make it Monochromatic" means. But I would have liked an explanation of these types of things.

The problem with the tutorial approach is it is specific to Adobe Photoshop. If you don't have Photoshop to follow along with, it is hard to understand what is happening in these steps.

I would have liked a better explanation of designing textures for tiling. There are tutorials for designing seamless textures, but again, without having Photoshop (and zero game art experience) it is really hard to follow.

Part 1 also has some good insight into creating and managing your texture library.

Part 2 - World Building: Genesis3D and Reality Factory, focuses on building game levels for use in the Genesis3D game engine (Reality Factory is an upgraded and improved version of the Genesis3D engine). Part 2 of the book is, again, a tutorial based approach to building a game world with the level editor. In fact, all of the tutorials are part of one project that part 2 focuses on: building a castle, courtyard and models (to place in the castle gameworld). The last chapter of the book focuses on Reality Factory and the goodies it adds to Genesis3D.

My goal is to write my own level editor and game engine. I have the software knowledge to do so and now this book has given me a peek at what a level editor should do and how it goes hand in hand with the game engine. At first I was put off by the tutorial approach until I realized that in order to learn this stuff you need to do this stuff. And to do it you need some software. So on second thought it was only natural for the author to pick some software and teach you how to use it. In doing so, he succeeds in teaching you about "3D Game Art and f/x Design."

Of course, the CD does not come with Photoshop. But the author does provide other game art resources including an free GNU Photshop-like application (...).

I was a bit upset when I realized the minimum OS requirement for software on the CD was Windows 98. I am still running a 1997 version of Windows 95! (I know, I know... I'm in the process of ordering a tricked out Alienware machine!). But, having experience with these type of requirements, I decided to install everything anyway. And it works! At least the level editor and Genesis3D game engine work. As my machine is a 166 MHz P II, I'm not even going to attempt to run the Reality Factory (min reqs: P II 200 MHz, 64 mb ram, NVidia TNT-class 3D accelerator. recommended: P II 400 MHz, AGP NVidia TNT2-class 3D accelerator). Fair warning now, Reality Factory will not run without a 3D accelerator.

The CD comes with a test game. Genesis3D uses the DirectX API. My machine does not have a 3D accelerator so Genesis3D runs in software mode. My frame rate at 640x480 was a whopping 5 frames/second (yes, I'm being sarcastic)! But the author does warn you about this.

When all is said and done, I was very pleased with this book. It gave me some good insight to Game Art. The level editor and Genesis3D game engine were bonus materials.

A Gamer  Feb 18, 2002
When I got this book I was like WOW! This Is good.But after I
read It 3 times and did what It said I was very disaponted!It said what a game shoud be but not how to do it!It only does a few short lines of That.If you want two completely copy Doom Get this Book,If not,Don't.

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