Pluralsight Buys Digital Tutors

Pluralsight just bought Digital Tutors. If you haven’t heard of Pluralsight, it’s basically Digital Tutors for developers. I’ve been a subscriber for a few months now and it’s been great. Now that they’ve bought Digital Tutors, I automatically get access to the Digital Tutors library automatically. So if you haven’t heard of either, I highly recommend checking them out.

Packt’s 2000th Title Sale

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Packt Publishing has published its 2000th title and is having a sale of buy one, get one free across their whole eBook catalog. Use the link above to take advantage of the sale. There’s a lot of nice tech books in there with some good material if you’re in the mood to learn something new.

CGCircuit Request a Lesson

I have some lessons in mind but I am curious as to what sort of lessons people are interested in.

Possible topics could be:

  • Writing a Wrap Deformer
  • Writing Mesh Collision Deformer
  • Writing a Production Pipeline with Django
  • Facial Rigging for VFX
  • Advanced Maya API
  • PySide for VFX and Animation

Comment on this post and suggest a lesson!

Packt Publishing Columbus Day Campaign

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Packt Publishing is currently running a Columbus day Campaign. You can get 50% off all ebooks and videos by using the discount code COL50 at checkout

Packt Publishing is giving everyone the chance to explore its full range of over 1600 DRM-free eBooks this Columbus Day at a massive 50% off at http://bit.ly/1bqvB29, until Monday October 21. Customers simply use the code COL50 in their cart – as many times as they like until Monday October 21. The offer even extends to Packt’s bestselling pre-order of 2013, the highly acclaimed Mastering Web Application Development with AngularJS.

But that’s not all – to mark the transition out of beta stage, the publisher will also be including its Packt Video product range in this limited offer. These practical screencast tutorials give users the working knowledge they need to get the job done, and all videos will be featured in the Columbus Day sale at 50% off – that includes the hugely popular Kali Linux – Backtrack Evolved: A Penetration Tester’s Guide.

The exclusive 50% discount code COL50 will be active on all eBooks and Videos until Monday October 21.

DirectX 11.1 Game Programming Review

DirectX 11.1 Game Programming is a short book (146 pages) that introduces readers to programming Metro-style applications using DirectX 11.1. I found the majority of the DirectX 11 content to be mostly a rehash of what is freely available in the documentation and samples online at the Microsoft Dev Center. The only parts I found interesting were the Graphics Diagnostics discussion of Visual Studio 2012 (which I was unfamiliar with) and the short comparison discussion on different multithreading techniques. Other than that, the examples were largely uninteresting and the amount of time spent on each topic is so short and high level, readers will most likely get more out of just downloading a sample from the Dev Center and reading the documentation.

Rating:

Writing a Production-Ready Skin Exporter with the Python API

I released a new tutorial series over at CGCircuit called Writing a Production-Ready Skin Exporter with the Python API. In the videos I go over how to create a more robust skin weight exporter that also handles joint renaming. Head on over and check it out.

skin

Win a Copy of HLSL Development Cookbook

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I have teamed up with Packt Publishing to organize a contest of its newly published book: HLSL Development Cookbook. You can check my review on the book here. Three lucky winners stand a chance to win eBook copies of the book.

To enter, head on over to the book page, look through the product description of the book and write a comment here for this post to let us know what interests you the most about the book.

The contest will close in 1 weeks time. Winners will be contacted by email, so be sure to use your real email address when you comment!

Faceshift and Sven

Faceshift, the markerless facial capture company, demonstrated their latest tech at Siggraph using the Sven character from Autodesk’s Hyperspace Madness project. We helped out with the rigging. I wrote the facial system and our awesome modelers created the facial shapes. You can check out Sven at both the 4:09 mark and the 6:30 mark. The quality achieved with Faceshifts system is pretty impressive!

Update: Found some more videos

HLSL Development Cookbook Review

When Packt approached me to write a review on this book, I thought it was a great opportunity to get back into DirectX programming. I am in the visual effects industry and with the cross-platform nature of that industry I have mostly been using some basic OpenGL. With the way technology is advancing and with it having been many years since I last work with DX9, I wanted a refresher and to update my skills using the latest techniques. However, jumping straight into this book probably isn’t the best way to do that.

HLSL Development Cookbook is not an introduction to HLSL or an introduction to writing Direct3D 11/HLSL-based applications. Readers should already be familiar with HLSL and Direct3D 11. I was a bit disappointed in this having read the OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook, which introduces readers to GLSL and writing GLSL-based programs before going on to more advanced techniques. To be fair though, the author does say right before the first recipe that readers should already know how to

  • Compile and load the shaders.
  • Prepare a system that will load and manage the scene.
  • Prepare a framework that supports Direct3D draw calls with shaders that will render the scene

Although it might have made sense to put that information in the “Who this book is for” section. That section also states that people looking to transition from DX9 to DX11 should get this book. However, if you are trying to transition from DX9 to DX11, there really isn’t a whole lot about DX11 besides what values to fill in different structs in order to setup proper resources and buffers. The book is mostly the HLSL and it’s corresponding explanations on traditional lighting equations, deferred shading, shadow techniques, post-processing (hdr, bloom, dof, bokeh), screen space effects (ssao, lens flare, reflections, sun rays), and environment effects (dynamic decals, fog, and rain).

My own ignorance aside, the demos are interesting and the material is presented clearly. The demos all ran and provide great reference to study. The author just assumes a certain level of knowledge.

So if you are interested in this book but have little to no HLSL and/or D3D11 experience, I would recommend getting an introduction to HLSL and/or DirectX 11, such as Frank D. Luna’s Introduction to 3D Game Programming with DirectX 11 and the documentation on MSDN. Once you are comfortable with that material, then go ahead and get this book.

Rating:

HLSL Development Cookbook

With movie VFX and game technology converging closer and closer, I’ve decided to put on my real-time hat again and brush up on my graphics programming skill. The last time I really dug into the material was about 10 years ago when I wrote my DirectX 9 and Managed DirectX tutorials. To help get back into the material, I’ve been asked to review HLSL Development Cookbook. From the publisher’s website, this book is targeted towards the following people:

If you have some basic Direct3D knowledge and want to give your work some additional visual impact by utilizing advanced rendering techniques, then this book is for you. It is also ideal for those seeking to make the transition from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11, and those who want to implement powerful shaders with the High Level Shader Language (HLSL).

Which pretty much means I’m the target audience. And I do hope to eventually expand my tutorial section into DirectX 11 and HLSL. Maybe this book will be just the spark that I need.

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