Recommended Reading for DS'ers

Here are some books that are often recommended for DS users and a few that I've thrown in that may be of interest to some of you. Thanks.

3D Book Written by a DS'er


Realiser un film en animation 3D by Benoit Melancon.

This book explains the different steps of traditional film production for a better understanding of the creation process of a computer graphic short film. The book deals with many notions such as: previsualization and animatic, virtual camera, modeling and textures, lighting, rendering, editing etc. It has the merit to adapt the cinematographic language to new realities of the virtual cinema. Okay, it's in French, so I haven't read it yet, but since a famous DS'er wrote it, I'm sure it must be fantastic. (US) doesn't carry it, but you can get it at here's the link: Realiser un film en animation 3D (DT_1.24.07)

Compositing and Visual FX

Encyclopedia of Visual Effects (Apple Pro Training) by Damian Allen, Brian Connor.

This is an encyclopedia of visual effects, so it acts as a reference book, but it is much more of a how-to style book. There are even some tutorials for Shake, Motion and After Effects. The book not only covers keys and mattes, but other topics where information is more scarce. The book is almost 600 pages, but my one slight gripe is that I want more information on some of the topics. Even so, this is easily my favorite VFX/compositing book. Damian Allen is president of Pixeratti in LA and Brian Connor is a Senior Compositor at ILM. (DT_1.24.07)

The Art and Science of Digital Compositing - 2nd Edition by Ron Brinkmann.

This is usually the first book to be recommended when someone is looking to learn more about compositing or how to use the DS better. It's not a how-to book, but more of an in-depth look at what is happening when you composite. I think it's a better book for someone who already knows how to use keys and mattes, but is at the point that they want to really master it. Ron Brinkmann is one of the creators of Shake and has recently done work on the Foundry's Nuke software. (DT_1.24.07)

Digital Compositing for Film and Video (2nd Edition) by Steve Wright.

This is usually the second book to be recommended. The Brinkmann book seems to be more in-depth than this one, but that tends to make it seem more like a textbook. If you don't have either of these two books, I'd say get this one first and then get the Brinkmann book later. I actually have the first edition of this book, but this edition looks even better. (DT_1.24.07)

Color Correction

The Art and Technique of Digital Color Correction by Steve Hullfish.

Apparently, this is to be considered a similar but separate book to the popular color correction book listed below. Steve Hullfish, writing solo, interviews several working colorists as they go through the process of correcting shots. (DT_4.28.08)

Color Correction for Digital Video by Steve Hullfish, Jamie Fowler.

This is a very good book on color correction. There are plenty of examples and explanations to make everything crystal clear. After reading this, you won't know enough to be a full-time colorist, but could certainly be on your way. I wish I would've had a copy of this one ten years ago. (DT_1.24.07)


Producing Great Sound for Digital Video and Audio Postproduction for Digital Video by Jay Rose.

I had to include both of these books because I usually end up searching each of them for the information that I'm trying to find. Look through the tables of contents to see which one interests you the most and get that one. (DT_1.24.07)

Sound for Film and Television and Sound for Digital Video by Tomlinson Holman.

I haven't read these yet, but they come highly recommended. Read the Amazon reviews, look through the contents and judge for yourself. Tomlinson Holman is the "TH" in "THX." (DT_2.06.07)


High Definition Postproduction: Editing and Delivering HD Video by Steven Browne.

I haven't had the chance to look through this one, but the contents look good and it's from Focal Press, so it should be a quality book. Here's part of the description on Amazon:"This book begins with an overview of the HD format and then covers commonly-asked questions. A chapter on shooting details how to smooth the path for post. Postproduction workflows, including the digital intermediate, are covered in great detail, and are enhanced by real-world examples.* Numerous HD tables clear up what format is used for which purpose
  • Ample information on HDV
  • Debunks myths and answers common questions about HD"(DT_update_6.24.07)

DV Rebel's Guide by Stu Maschwitz.

Even though this one has sections about editing and finishing, it's more about how to shoot a movie on a budget. It's still a fun read and you may pick up a few tricks here and there - it may also tempt you to pick up a camera to do your own budget movie! Here are a couple of links to find out more: Rebel's Guide Website / Stu's Blog. Stu Maschwitz is a former ILM guy, co-founder of The Orphanage and also helped create the Magic Bullet and Colorista software. (DT_update_2.06.07)

Droidmaker: George Lucas and the Digital Revolution by Michael Rubin.

This book is partly about George Lucas and his friends trying to break away from Hollywood and partly about the creation of the tools and technology you use today (you'll be surprised!). Although the book does get a bit dry in a couple of spots, it can also be a page-turner in other spots. (DT_update_2.06.07)

Revised: Jun 9, 2008 5:06 pm