Vue 7: Beyond the Basics can be said to be a sort of continuation of Vue 6 Revealed in the sense that Vue 6 revealed was for the beginner, laying out the foundation of Vue 6, and Vue 7: Beyond the Basics mainly deals with the new elements to Vue 7 and 7.5 and assumes the user has a knowledge of Vue. The User Level is Intermediate to Advanced. There is a website associated with the book and a DVD that comes with the book. It contains chapter files, demos of Cinema 4D and other programs, freebies from DAZ 3D, Vue Links and Videos.
The book is divided into parts. You can go inside the book at Amazon.com
Part I This land is Your Land
Part II Architecture and City Planning
Part III Illustration and Design
Part IV Advanced Resources
Appendix A which includes: Third-Part Providers, Plug-Ins, and Digital Elevation Maps
The book is liberally illustrated with color illustrations which is great since Vue 6 Revealed had only black and white images.
The book is project based. Each chapter file has the finished product and the necessary corollary files such as atmosphere, etc. An example of the first project is creating a Mt. Rushmore-like cliff using the files on the DVD with instructions in the book.
What are some of the elements covered in Vue 7: Beyond the Basics? Part I is all about the various aspects of terrain building. The author, Richard Schrand, demonstrates using different cameras setting up multiple layers and creating ecosystems on the various terrains, modifying atmosphere for different effects, using height maps, ensuring the map mode is correct and more. He, also delves into composition and the rule of Thirds. In this same section, he tells how to build an underwater terrain and make use of the new water controls in Vue 7. He, also shows how to create other types of landforms and describes the use of filters for creating varying land shapes.
Part II is geared toward the architectural use of Vue 7 and 7.5. Richard shows how to use image maps to place buildings on a basic grid; he shows how to integrate multiple maps. You will be introduced to dynamic population, a new feature in Vue 7. Throughout this, Richard brings in the Function Editor as he discusses some of the various nodes. You will learn how to build paths and planters all the while learning how to use the various features of Vue such as modifying plants. Not only are exteriors dealt with but so are interiors. This includes lighting and how it differs, etc.
Part III deals with illustrations and design such as building to create toon-like effects. This section also deals with designing logos and how to present them for the greatest impact. Still in this section he veers a little away from illustration and talks about simulating particle systems which will be animated. Both still work and animation are discussed throughout the book. In the last chapter of Part III, working with SubSurface Scattering is discussed as well as the controls that are necessary to use this function correctly.
Vue 7: Beyond the Basics also deals with some of the new additions to Vue 7.5 such as the ability to create spherical scenes and how they will look at different scene radius settings. There is a short tutorial that demonstrates another new feature - clouds casting shadows on other clouds.
Part IV is geared toward Advanced Resources such as integrating xStream with Cinema 4D. There is a demo of Cinema 4D on the disc. Chapter 15 is devoted to playing around with Functions and delving deeper into the Function Editor.
There is a lot of information contained in the tutorials. Richard has been working with Vue as an official demonstrator for e-on software for almost a decade. He is very well versed in Vue and teaches it at Nossi College of Arts in Nashville, TN where he is also Chairman of their Computer Graphics Department. In addition, he has worked in the field of 3D and animation for many years. He brings his wealth of knowledge to this book demonstrating it by his information filled tutorials. His projects are interesting and varied so that one does not get bored following them. I chose different projects at random to do after doing a few sequentially in the first section.
While the amount of material he presents is intense, unfortunately, due the constraints of the layout, some of the details that are important to see for ease of use and placement of objects are not very visible. This is especially evident when it comes to screen capture of the four views of the Vue interface, for example. To work with these tutorials, you sometimes either have to dissect the final image or just use his instructions as a loose basis to form a similar image. In summation, Richard presents the tutorials to teach techniques and add corollary information.