Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies

Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies

Literature and the Web: Reading and Responding with New Technologies

  What it means to read and write has changed, making this an exhilarating and daunting time to be an English teacher. As teachers, Robert Rozema and Allen Webb understand this and offer a vision of how to teach with emerging tools in ways that amplify student learning. – Sara B. Kajder Author of The Tech-Savvy English Classroom   Read the technology book that’s about the content, not the computer. Literature and the Web is a thoughtful, nuts-and-bolts guide for any English teacher looking fo

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Mastering Blender

Mastering Blender

Blender, the free alternative for professional-quality 3D animation is a complex program to learn, but once users become familiar with its power, they begin to seek more from it.  This book is the first of its kind to explore the more advanced features of Blender so that you can get the most out of the software. You’ll take your Blender skills to a whole new level with the featured in-depth coverage of intricate uses for Blender’s modeling, texturing, animation, and visual effects tools in a

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  1. 20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Truly a guide to mastering Blender – and definitely not for beginners., July 9, 2009
    By 
    Jerry Saperstein (Evanston, IL USA) –
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    This review is from: Mastering Blender (Paperback)
    I am a Blender wannabe. I know I’ll never be anything more than a tinkerer with it and I certainly don’t have the artistic ability to do anything serious with it. Blender is an open source, free 3D program with an impressive list of capabilities. In fact, Blender rivals commercial programs costing thousands of dollars.

    “Mastering Blender” is the third Tony Mullen book I’ve read and it is as impressive as the first two. But Mullen’s books are aimed at people who are actually quite proficient with Blender. As Mullen puts it, he is writing for “intermediate and advanced” Blender users. If you’ve attempted to use Blender, you’ll immediately recognize that even achieving the intermediate stage of proficiency requires many hours of learning and doing.

    That said, there is nothing that prevents the patient novice Blender user from reading, looking at the pictures and, in my case, gasping both at what Blender can do and at the people like Mullen who can do it.

    The first chapter is actually helpful to inexperienced users, as it describes how you can gain control of the Blender interface.

    After that, it is strictly for the more advanced and capable user. Sculpting and Retopo Workflow explores sculpting; Creating Realistic Images with UV Textures and Node-Based Materials covers texturing snd then Mullen moves into Video Compositing, which is a Blender feature I didn’t know existed.

    The next six chapters cover scripting Blender with Python, another revelation, and mastering the Blender Game Engine.

    Mullen appears to be one of the most knowledgeable Blender users on the planet. His writing style tends to be matter of fact and very straight-forward. His coverage of each of his subject areas is very thorough. There are many large and clear illustrations.

    Overall, though it is highly doubtful that I will personally ever be able to use these Blender capabilities, I really enjoyed learning about them through Mullen’s ably crafted book.

    Jerry

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  2. 12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    covers all the *other* features in Blender, November 23, 2009
    By 
    Brad

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: Mastering Blender (Paperback)
    I just want to let people know that this book is not a follow-on to Tony Mullen’s earlier book on modeling and animation in Blender in that you are not going to learn advanced modeling and animation. This book simply covers all the other features in Blender such as sculpting, texturing (with gimp), video editing, compositing, python scripting and the Blender Game Engine. So if thats what youre interested in, this is the book. I think the Blender community is very lucky to have an author such as Tony Mullen considering that the vast majority of Blender users are hobbiests. If Mullen were to write book on commercial 3D apps, he would quickly make a name for himself as the best 3D graphics author around.

    It should be mentioned that this book is printed in B&W and that you have to look at the book’s pics on the CD to see them in color. Why oh why cant publishers mangage to print graphics books in color?

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  3. 7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Getting there is half the fun, July 19, 2009
    By 
    swmagicien (San Bruno, CA USA) –

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    This review is from: Mastering Blender (Paperback)
    I mainly bought this book for the chapters on programming blender with Python and though brief, they went beyond my expectations. The three chapters on the Blender Game Engine (including one on Python Power in the BGE) also exceeded my expectations and fill in some of the areas that are neglected in The Blender Game Kit. Incidentally, the definitive volumes on the subjects of Python for blender and the blender game engine have yet to be written.

    The rest of the material here is on other subjects that I didn’t find as interesting but the presentation is generally thorough and systematic and will pay off for anyone who has the time and patience to work through it.

    Much of the material is introduced through exercises presented in detail, with step-by-step instructions generously illustrated with screen captures. My impression and biggest criticism of the book was that most of the exercises seemed too detailed and too time-consuming but if you don’t do them you won’t feel you have really learned the material and all you will have gained is a general idea of the power of the features under discussion. I am referring specifically to the exercises on compositing, sculpting, and texturing.

    With many of the hard to follow, long and sometimes unexciting exercises, it surely would have been useful had the author provided narrated videos lessons in addition to the detailed written instructions. And while blend files of the completed exercises are provided on the book’s CD, it would have also more useful had the author provided blend files at intermediate stages for comparison, to get back on track where we might have had some trouble, or so that we can skip a few of the more repetitive steps.

    One unexpectedly nice feature about this book is that each chapter thoughtfully ends with a section labeled The Bottom Line that provides suggestions for further practice of the chapter material. Outstanding!

    I’ve tried to write a couple of tutorials on blender topics for my own use to get a handle on difficult subjects – it’s tough. The author earns my admiration for having the smarts and perseverence to craft difficult subjects into interesting, informative, and entertaining written lessons.

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