Book Review: The VES Handbook of Visual Effects
Seventy-six pages are dedicated to the challenges of stereoscopic 3-D. This chapter was particularly useful for me and provides a good overview of this newer but arrived technology. Lenny Lipton, one of the 3-D gurus, offers the lead-in, and as long as I have been in the business his name has always been in the fore of the background of film-making. His The Super 8 Book was one of the first volumes that focused on democratizing the film making process. Even the most perfunctory search online brings up the fact that when he was 19 he penned the words for "Puff the Magic Dragon," an enormous hit for Peter, Paul and Mary.
The next 240 pages deal with post production and image manipulation followed by more than 100 pages focused on the problems of digital element creation. The final three chapters are devoted to interactive games, complete animation and other workflow considerations. Included in the rear of the book are a glossary and a section dedicated to charts and formulas.
According to Okun, it had been five years since the inception of the book and it took the last three to write and pull it together. What they have created is the definitive visual effects textbook for our times and there is no doubt that it will remain the bible for those laboring in our business for many years to come. If you're in the vfx, animation, gaming or production business in general, you've got to have this book. Not on your shelf, but in your hand as you commence each new project. It's the most definitive book on the market today.
As a final note for those of you who can't remember how Tom Sawyer actually ends. Tom is involved in a conversation with Huck who is suffocating under the protection of the Widow Douglas and has run away. After several days of searching Huck is discovered by Tom sleeping in an old barrel down by the river. Tom convinces Huck to return to the Widow's care for one more month. As a reward, Huck will be allowed to join Tom's gang. Huck exhorts Tom to affirm this promise by swearing on a coffin and putting it in writing in blood.
Rick Kerrigan writes the VFX Beat blog for AWN (http://www.awn.com/blogs/vfx-beat). He began his career as an assistant visual effects cameraman on The Empire Strikes Back, has also worked on The Right Stuff, Ghostbusters and Ally McBeal, where he supervised the Dancing Baby episode.