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Every couple of years, I refactor the little garden stream in my back yard. The previous version didn’t have enough water velocity in the lower half to generate the kind of visuals and cascading that I had wanted. But the nature of a project this is that by the time you actually get to run water through the thing, you’re basically done, and making baseline modifications amounts to tearing it all up and starting from scratch. So unless you have limitless free time you have to take your best shot and hope. Lesson learned from the last iteration then: you can only generate consistent water velocity by a consistent drop in the underlaying ground (and plastic shell). Trying to build the slope with rocks and such inside the shell doesn’t cut it. The water just happily re-routes around it, like electricity in a circuit or money in politics.

Anyway, here is this year’s version. It features nice velocity the whole way to the end, and a splashdown that is loud enough to hear consistently at night, in bed, even with the windows closed :) The foilage hasn’t started to grow in yet, but once it does the whole thing will be very nice to have in the background when he hang out in the courtyard with friends, build a little fire and have a drink.

Several weeks ago, my publisher touched base with me about doing an update to Blender Foundations. He noted that it had been their most successful Blender title to date, and obviously they would like to keep it up with the times. My response was that I understood his position as an acquisitions editor (i.e. to fill their pipeline), but that I wouldn’t be doing this for them in the traditional way.

Now, I do want to update Foundations. More than a few people (thanks everyone who trusted me enough to buy the book!) have found it extremely useful to their Blender education, and I think it deserves an update as well.

The thing is, I really hate being on deadline. I’m occasionally on deadline at work, and that’s fine. It’s work. But I write in my family time, and have found that being on deadline that way eats up the rest of my willpower. I’m short with my peeps. I don’t go the gym. I don’t floss. It’s not good.

So here’s what I’m doing: revising BF for the new 2.7 series on my own timeline. When I’m done (or the end is in sight), I’ll fill out all the paperwork with the publisher and get things going. Last weekend, I finished revising Chapter 3.

I’m basically working my way through the original text of the book, fixing things where they don’t match the current UI and workflows, and re-shooting all screen shots. The fundamentals are the same, though. It’s surprising how well the book has held up after these several years. I guess I kind of knew what I was doing way back when. Thanks, past me. The one thing I’m going to do differently is to integrate Cycles usage throughout the book. It will make it a little longer, but I’m going to parallel the materials, lighting and rendering sections with both Internal and Cycles.

Anyway, that’s the news. Cheers

Just about one year ago, Tiago Nunes finished his trek through Blender Foundations. He worked through the whole book, blogging about his progress along the way. You can read it here. It’s actually neat to follow his development, and I have to say that his style of learning was truly the ideal target for the book: curious and self-motivated.

Anyway, with Blender Foundations just over two years old now, I shot him an email with two questions. First, with a year’s distance on the other side of his learning experience, how well did he feel that material prepared him for his further work using Blender? Second, how well did he feel that the book’s content was holding up against the current Blender version?

You can see his response here.

Here’s a heads up about the new book. Reader Pete Robie pointed out to me that the website (blenderproduction.com) listed in the book is empty. Focal Press has the content available here, but the blenderproduction.com address was supposed to take you directly there. At the moment, it does not. Focal Press very recently changed hands, and according to my editor they are having problems with the domain registrar and taking possession of the domain. It was bought by their old parent company, and the new parent company is having difficulty getting full control.

Until then, a direct link to the content can be found here:

http://cw.routledge.com/textbooks/9780240821450/

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