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Book Review: Discreet Combustion 3

Long awaited training material now available By Stephen Schleicher

Until recently the only documentation available for the ins and outs of combustion 3 has been the discreet manual, online articles (like my Combustion Eye series), and the occasional training tape.  Thanks to Gary Davis and Focal Press, there is now a thorough and complete guide to using the application that puts everything into perspective.

?The Focal Easy Guide to Discreet combustion 3 For New Users and Professionals is one of those books that is not only a great tutorial, but also an easy book to pick up and thumb through to find a quick explanation on a particular topic.

The book is divided into 14 chapters that range from the very basic ?tour of the application and what key terms mean to more complex topics like keying, expressions, and using the particle system.  Following the first chapter ?tour, Davis walks you through a workflow on how a basic composition might be set up.  For someone making the switch from one compositing application to combustion, or even someone brand new to the world of compositing, this is an excellent way of getting to know the application in a friendly way.  One of the better aspects of Davis writing is that he makes no assumptions as to what your level of expertise is; he simply provides you with solid information.

At only 320 pages, one might think the book is a light skim over the topics without going into any real depth or examples.  However, Davis does an excellent job of explaining a concept and then presenting you with an exercise to work through.  While the exercises in this book dont go into detail as to how or why you are using this particular workflow, it does give you great tips and notes sections for clarification.  In fact the book doesnt pronounce that this workflow is the only way to do a task, it is simply presenting you with one possible option.  I like this in my training material.  Show me one way, but leave it open for other methods as well.

As for the examples you are creating yourself, the footage and other material is available, providing you have an Internet connection.  One highlight of this book is that it is in color.  This is something I have been asking publishers to do with all of their how-to/technical books.  The main problem with a color book is it greatly increases the cost of printing for the publisher, these means they have to cut costs in other places.  In the case of ?The Focal Easy Guide to Discreet combustion 3 For New Users and Professionals the cut appears to have come in the form of no DVD or CD packed with materials.  To compensate, they have placed all of the content on the Focal Press website.

Are there any negative points to consider about this book?  There is no problem with the writing or handling of the subject matter.  Davis does an excellent job here.  As with any training book or video series my major desire is to always have more more more.  More exercises, more example, more real world case studies.  Granted, publishers cant crank out massive volumes ala Dan Ablan, but I would love to see more exercises to really drive home key concepts and ideas.  Are the exercises a problem in this book?  Absolutely not they are perfect.  As a life long learner, I just desire more.

?The Focal Easy Guide to Discreet combustion 3 For New Users and Professionals is a great introductory book that covers the key areas of combustion 3 and will get most users up to speed on the power inside this application.  At only $24.95 (less from online bookstores) I give this book a Strong Buy Recommendation.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (, where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at

Related Keywords:combustion 3, gary davis, focal press, book, review, training, schleicher


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