Visual Effects (VFX) is a perfect blend of creativity and technology, but learning the right skills is a never ending tasks. Everyone these days seems to jump online and do all sorts of video based training, workshops and live streams, but there are also plenty of amazing books out there that will provide you with knowledge to help you improve as a visual effects artist.
So take a step away from the computer, grab one of these books and be inspired. You never know what you will actually learn from these authors.
Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation
Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation is an extensively illustrated oral history of the multiple-Academy-Award®-winning visual effects company founded by George Lucas in 1975. Its tale begins with a small team of craftspeople, engineers, and artists who pioneered analog effects that had never before been attempted or realized on the screen for Star Wars.
Acting for Animators: 4th Edition
Ed Hooks' essential acting guidebook for animators has been fully revised and updated in this 4th edition. Hooks uses classical acting theory – from Aristotle to Stanislavsky and beyond – to explain everything from character analysis and physical movement to facial expression and scene structure. He speaks directly to animators, instead of stage or screen actors. Acting for Animators is an invaluable primer for beginner animators and a useful reference for experienced pros.
Illuminated Pixels: The Why, What, and How of Digital Lighting
LLUMINATED PIXELS provides a balanced, unique approach to great lighting by looking at the why, what, and how of lighting: "Why are you lighting?" This question asks the purpose of your lights and relates to the aesthetic intent of the image. ILLUMINATED PIXELS defines the goals of lighting and explains how to use your lights to accomplish each goal. "What are the physical properties of light you are trying to imitate?" Without a proper knowledge of real-world light, your digital lighting may appear odd or unnatural.
Matchmoving: The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking
Matchmoving is a practical skill that can help digital artists get a foot in the studio door. Now you can learn the professional techniques required with this essential guide. Author Tim Dobbert, a veteran in the visual effects industry, has worked on such movies as Avatar and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and he passes along years of valuable studio expertise in this fully updated industry standard. You'll quickly start acquiring such technical skills as 2D tracking, 3D calibration, object tracking, what to do on a live-action set, and much more.
The Art and Science of Digital Compositing
Occasional supervisor in the visual effects and animation world. One of the founding employees of Sony Pictures Imageworks. Part of the initial design and development team that produced the digital compositing application Shake (acquired by Apple in 2002). Continued as Shake Product Designer for a few years, until development on the product was ruthlessly terminated.
The VES Handbook of Visual Effects: Industry Standard VFX Practices and Procedures
The award-winning VES Handbook of Visual Effects remains the most complete guide to visual effects techniques and best practices available today. This new edition has been updated to include the latest, industry-standard techniques, technologies, and workflows that are ever-evolving in the fast paced world of visual effects.
Masters of Fx
Through interviews with 16 of the leading FX pioneers from around the world, author Ian Failes explores the making of some of the most memorable film sequences ever produced, showcasing the shift from practical to digital magic with original behind-the-scenes imagery, shot breakdowns, and detailed explanations of some of the secrets behind the making of cinema's most extraordinary creations.
The Digital Matte Painting Handbook
This unique book reveals a variety of tools and techniques that are both industry and classroom tested and will enhance your existing skill set. Veteran author and instructor David Mattingly walks you through the process of creating a matte painting, starting with rough concept sketches, working out the perspective drawing, adding light and shadow, and texturing all of the elements in the painting.
Anatomy for 3D Artists: The Essential Guide for CG Professionals
Anatomy for 3D Artists is an essential teaching guide for sculpting human anatomy. Non-software specific, it is packed with everything today's 3D artist needs to know to tackle the difficult task of recreating the human form in 3D. Starting with 2D references, and moving on to practical and advanced 3D sculpting—including topology and animation preparation—every stage in the creation of an ideal male and female figure is covered.
The Filmmaker's Guide to Visual Effects
The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects offers a practical, detailed guide to visual effects for non-VFX specialists working in film and television. In contemporary filmmaking and television production, visual effects are used extensively in a wide variety of genres and formats to contribute to visual storytelling, help deal with production limitations, and reduce budget costs.
Physics for Animators
Uniting theory and practice, author Michele Bousquet teaches animators how to swiftly and efficiently create scientifically accurate scenes and fix problem spots, and how and when to break the laws of physics. Ideal for everything from classical 2D animation to advanced CG special effects, this book provides animators with solutions that are simple, quick, and powerful.