Suggestions for C3D Book


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Suggestions for C3D Book


Here's the current Table of Contents

Why Learn 3d Graphics?
Why Cheetah 3d?
Cheetah 3d’s Best Feature: The Community
Who is this book for?
Classroom Use
3d in a nutshell
From Blank Slate To Rendered Image in Fifteen Minutes
3d Text: Your Name in Lights
Package Mockup: Imperial Cereal
Simple Game Component: Biplane
Cheetah 3d’s Key Features
What’s New in v6?
Just Enough to be Dangerous
Navigating the 3d view
Mesh Editing Modes
Select vs. Transform
The Transform tool
Center Manipulator Modes
Two Axis Scaling
Working with Selections
The Object Browser
The Properties Panel
Common Tags
Editable Meshes
Selecting and Moving Stuff
Duck… I mean Extrude and Cover
Create Polygon
Fill Hole
Ring Cut
Stacking Modifiers
Toggling Modifiers
Toggling Creators
How Keyframes Work
Character Animation & Bones
Material vs. Texture
Basic Materials
A Whole Bunch of Nothing: Reflection Maps
Hint: Make Shiny Objects Look Fabulous
Transparency and Refraction
The Light Object
Image-Based Lighting
Aside: limitations of image-based lighting
The Sky Light Object
Camera Objects
Other Cheetah 3d Resources
Quick Start Tutorial
Instructional Videos
Online Help
The Cheetah 3d Community
Modeling Overview
Visual References
Level of Detail
The Simplest Method
Judging your own work
Give a Damn
Approaches to Modeling
Box Modeling, Subdivision Surfaces, Splines, and NURBS
A Tale of Two Wineglasses — oh, a B-29 bomber: The Advantages & Disadvantages of Splines
Tutorial: Making a Wineglass with a Spline and the Lathe Creator
Tutorial: Making a Wineglass with using Box Modeling and Subdivision
When making stuff with lathes causes problems…
Tutorial: Modeling a Wing Root
Solid Modeling
Hard Edged vs. Organic
What is a mesh?
Making a mesh editable
Polygon Objects (Primitives)
Ball, Box, Cone, Cylinder, Disk, Plane, Polyhedra, Relief, Stair, Torus, Tube
Why use splines?
Importing Splines
Polygon/Box Modeling
Polygon Tools
Troubleshooting the Bridge Tool
Modeling by Eye
Creating a Modeling Sheet & Preparing It For Use
Modeling from "Blueprints"
Subdivision Surfaces
Controlling Curves
Modeling Tricks & Techniques
Joining Meshes
Splitting Meshes
Working with Primitives
Modeling a Hole (without Booleans)
Creators, Modifiers, and Tags
Understanding How Creators, Tags, and Modifiers Interact
“Collapsing” Creators and Modifiers
Partially Collapsing Creators and Modifiers
Keeping the modifier chain around for later
Advanced Modeling
Character Modeling
Quads, UV-Mapping, Topology & Loops
Sculpting Workflows
Modeling Joints
Low poly vs. high poly
Tricks and Techniques
Putting a square hole in a round peg
Building Rounded Objects
Hard Edged Modeling
Solid Modeling*
Importance of Normals
How solidity is inferred
Physics & Modeling
Creating Materials
Flat Colors
The Material Shader
Image-Based Materials
Bump Maps
Quick and Dirty Bumpmaps
Reflective Materials
Reflection Map Example: Cracked Mirror
The Metal Shader
The Car Paint Shader
Transparent Materials
Fresnel Effect
The Dielectric Shader
How Materials Work
Complex Materials
What does “multiplying a color” mean?
Aside: Color Arithmetic
Specular vs. Reflected Highlights
Texture Mapping
UV Coordinates
Coordinate Spaces
The Material Tag
All About Nodes
Node Types
Connecting Nodes
Visualizing an Output Channel
Channel Types
Converting Between Types
Nodes in Depth
Shader Nodes
Texture Nodes
Constant Nodes
Filter Nodes
The State Node
The Instance Node
Math Nodes
Creating Materials from Scratch
Some Procedural Textures
Using a texture as a selector
Terrain Shaders
Planet Shaders
Cross Product Measures Perpendicularity
Dot Product Measures Closeness of Direction
Faking Fresnel Effects
A Color is a Vector is a UV Coordinate
OMG! You didn’t tell me there’d be math!
Planarity, Coplanar
Dot Product
Cross Product
Putting it all together
Diffuse Illumination
Fresnel Effects
The Material Assignment Tag
Procedural Materials
Image-Based Materials
Texture Painting
Getting the most out of Cheetah 3d’s Particle System
Faking Volumetrics
Faking Glowing Particles
Particles as Detail or Decoration
How Lights Work
Lighting Basics
Soft Shadows
Reflected Lights
Specular vs. “Real”
Advanced Lighting
Global Illumination
Lighting with Emissive Objects
Under the Hood
Fine-Tuning Caustics
Camera Properties
Shadow Catchers
Animation Overview
The Animation Timeline Controller Doohickey
How Keyframes Work
Animation Concepts
Simple Animation
Path Animation
Basic Rigging
Forward Kinematics
Inverse Kinematics
Character Animation
Advanced Rigging*
Bullet Physics
Introduction to Physics
Physics & Modeling
Physics & Animation
Rendering Overview
How Raytracing Works
Stochastic Sampling Tricks
I made a metal object and it’s black
I want my metal object to look like metal, but I don’t want a backdrop
I want a transparent background
I want to add a rendered element to a photograph
I want an outdoor background
I want to add a rendered element to a video
The HDRI Tag
The Radiosity Tag
The Golden Rule: cg images are made convincing by imperfection
Cartoon Looks
Simple Caricatured Models
Cartoony Materials
Lush Unrealism: Painterly Rendering
Renderer Settings
Render Manager
Where are all those rendered images stored?
The Render Tag
Mocking up a Scene
Nice Test Renders
Product Shots
Natural Environments
Rendering a Panorama
Creating your own HDRIs for Image-Based Lighting
Rendering a Sky Box
Skybox Utility
Orthographic Rendering
Managing Complexity
Smart Objects
Mastering Cheetah 3d’s Interface
Custom Hotkeys
Custom View Layouts
Cheetah 3d Under the Hood
Render Cache
Script Files
.jas Files
Workflow Overview
Points of No Return
Collapsing Symmetry
Rigging & Animation
Combining Meshes with Different Materials
UV Mapping Across Multiple Meshes
Importing Stuff
Exporting Stuff
Working with an external image editor
Working with other 3d modelers
Working with other renderers
High Dynamic Range Images
Post Production Workflow
Video Production Workflow
Unity Workflows
iBook Author Workflows
Archviz Workflows*
Some Very Useful Scripts
Basic Interface Enhancements
Texturing and UV-Mapping
Using Scripts
Assigning Hotkeys to Scripts
Writing Scripts
The Console
Feeling Your Way Around
Some Useful Patterns
Copyright, Intellectual Property
Unbiased Rendering, Physically-Based Rendering
Does this matter to Cheetah 3d Users?
Axes, X Axis, Y Axis, Z Axis
Inverse Kinematics
Forward Kinematics
Scene Graph, Object Browser, Hierarchy
Parent, Parent Object
Child, Children, Child Object
Convex Polygon
Triangulation, Tessellation
Texture, Bitmap
Non-destructive Modifier Chain
Creator vs. Modifier
Node-Based Shader, Material
Space, Coordinates
Procedural Texture
Image Space
Texture Space, UV Space, UV Coordinates
Local Space, Local Coordinates
Global Space, Global Coordinates
Vector Motion Blur
Normal Map, Bump Map
Displacement Map
Specularity, Shininess, Specular Size, Hardness
Gouraud Shading
Phong Shading
Mesh Weight, Mesh Topology, Retopologize
Box Modeling
Solid Modeling
Bevel, Inner Extrude
God-Rays, Volumetrics
Faking Render to Layers
Achieving “Real” Glow Effects
Faking Glow
Maximum Image Size
SSS, Sub-surface Scattering
Instrumenting Rigs
Network Rendering
CUDA, OpenCL, GPU-Accelerated Rendering
Unbiased Renderer, Physically Based Renderer
Image Formats
File Size
Bit Depth
Lossy or Lossless
Production or Delivery
Alpha Channel Support
Alpha Channels
Use Alpha?
Which Way Around?
3d File Formats
Lighting, Cameras, Material Definitions, Rigs
Video Compression
File Size
Lossy vs. Lossless
Production or Delivery
Alpha Channel Support
Picking Your Target(s): Web, iPhone, iPad, etc.
Faking Motion Blur
Other Resources

I left out page numbers because this post was going to exceed the 10k char limit for the forum. No, I do not guarantee all the chapters will be written before Martin launches Cheetah 3d v6, but they will be written — some may be merged and there will be reorganization. The text is a little over 50% complete as of now (and the book is ~180 pages so far).

I'd love any suggestions you might have for things to put in the C3D Book I am writing. Basically ideas along the lines of:

a) UI Shortcuts and Things I wish I'd known (classic example: double-clicking primitives to make them into editable meshes)
b) Gotchas (classic example: rendering metal requires HDRI map)
c) Tutorials I would love to have

Either reply to this thread or email me at tonio AT loewald DOT com.

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How about with regard to lighting and product shots show how to create and position reflectors (I don't think we have light materials to light a scene, so they would only be for reflecting on a model.) as an alternative to using hdri files.

Would also show how to have objects in a scene yet not be visible directly to the camera. Only the reflection will show.



Active member
I'm putting my vote in for more in depth coverage for Blueprints. I know there are a few basic ones in the C3d tutorial section and there are ones for other software packages out there that could be used to learn. But one specifically for C3d would be fantastic!


Active member
Thanks Plugs — my plan is to release the book simultaneously with C3D v6 (in its current state of completeness).

My equivalent of the C3D "Quick Start" (which I hope readers will find both broader and more thorough) is very nearly complete and I'd say the total text content is about 33% of the way there, so it shouldn't be too hard to get it done (fingers crossed).

I even have a prospective copy editor (my sister... ;-) )

Swizl: solid blueprint stuff is already planned, including discussion of how to prepare the images.

Mykyl: stuff along these lines is planned; I hope it meets your expectations, and if not complain and I'll try to fix it. I actually hope to explain different lighting and environment philosophies, ranging for IBL and (even using specular) through to the "build everything out" school of thought, and also rendering and/or faking up your own HDRI panoramas.
IMO the book would be really helpful if you would add any of these topics:

-how to start from an example picture and model on it (like a gun, a car, not necessarily a human figure)
-how to accomplish good results using the less polygon as possible (tricks to use to make low poly models)
-how to make a good and functional topology
-MAterials, UV mapping and texturing, including the process of creating lightmaps
-animations for anything other than walk cycle

There are some tutorials for basic stuff, but what I feel the lack of is something that goes over the standard "this is the tool, this is what it does"; I would rather get some small project from start to end, that would illustrate the tools while you create something tangible (i love the books that teach you things by examples...mainly it works with programming books, but I do not know if that would work for a CG book).

BTW thanks for taking a shot at it, no matter what I will probably end up buying it!
a) UI Shortcuts and Things I wish I'd known (classic example: double-clicking primitives to make them into editable meshes
Double-clicking the free move handle of the transform tool changes you to pivot mode edit(which also allows you to set custom pivots for polygons).
Shift dragging an axis of the transform lends you two-axis constrained movement.


New member
Could I suggest getting a fully-working animated, and textured character into Unity3D?

Good luck on the book, I will certainly be buying it.
I think it would be great if the book addressed some of the commonly asked questions in the forum & try to give 'best approach' answer, for example:

1. Glass textures applied to bottles & glasses, showing best use of lighting, tags, materials, how to model a liquid within the glass and get the best results.

2. Best 5 or 10 scripts, where to place them in the system, how to make them work...

3. Node system - but explained simply - the options in this area for the non mathematical among us can be daunting.

4. The uv Mapper

Obviously the internal help files within cheetah are way out of date, I'd guess these would be updated with v6 , but it would be handy to know what works with what, ie, the effectors used in collaboration with the new physics engine?

Anyway, just my thoughts, I would hope that members of the forum who have successfully mastered a particular area - modeling, materials, physics, light settings, render tags etc would contribute their know how - to make it a fantastic resource.


Active member
Dave - good suggestions. All of them are in the plan with the exception of detailed treatment of glass, which is a good idea.

Because the book is going to be electronic (possibly just in time printed versions will be available by lulu) my plan is to cove as much as I can before v6 is released, release what I have, and then improve it over time.

I've already been through the forums looking for good threads to incorporate (although there's a huge amount of stuff there and the book is intended to complement the forums, not replace them).

I'm doing my best to make the material system intelligible to the math-averse, we'll see if I succeed.
I'm doing my best to make the material system intelligible to the math-averse, we'll see if I succeed.
I bet that would be a blessing for a ton of users (as much as I love the math thingie)

I can't remember if I already told you but feel free to use anything I posted without further questions if you find something that may be worth... and let me know if you need anything regarding archviz

values for parameters

Hi podperson,

I'm not sure if this has been addressed, but what I'd like to see explained in your book (if not in C3D's official documentation) is the range of values that are allowed in each parameter/property, and the expected common values, and what the numbers stand for.

Reason... I often find my self experimenting with values and first I double or halve a value, render ... 'hmmm, what did that do?' ... triple, render, 10x, render, 100x, render and so on ... 'hmmm I wonder how high (low) I could (should) go?' or 'hmmm, that doesn't seem to do anything' and 'hmmm I wonder what do these values represent, what is the unit - percent, decimal fraction, etc.

IF Martin reads this, I'd love to see the range as a tool-tip to been displayed upon hovering over a property input field.

--shift studio.


Active member
It's a good suggestion but documenting all that would be a huge job and, as you suggest, much easier for Martin.

There are also a bunch of properties with misleading names, e.g. "specular size"
I'd love any suggestions you might have for things to put in the C3D Book I am writing. Basically ideas along the lines of:

a) UI Shortcuts and Things I wish I'd known (classic example: double-clicking primitives to make them into editable meshes)
b) Gotchas (classic example: rendering metal requires HDRI map)
c) Tutorials I would love to have

Either reply to this thread or email me at tonio AT loewald DOT com.

Wow, that's some table of contents! Very cool to hear you're writing a book for Cheetah3D!

Shift Studio, good suggestion about the different values and parameter effects. A lot of it is unexplained in the Help Guide, which is mostly a reference and needs a lot more development for the new tools.
I am a programmer. I can teach people the commands, and syntax of programming, but that doesn't mean they can create an application. There needs to be more.

That is what I am looking for in a book. You have so much incredible stuff in this book, I doubt you can get this in, but I hope you consider it for your 2nd edition when the 1st edition sells out.

See, I know a lot of the features of C3D, but ask be to build a tree, and I will sit there with my tongue sticking out... duh!

Maybe this is just me though. I don't have the skill most people on this forum have.


Active member
Actually ST64 what you say about knowing how commands work and not necessarily being able to program is an excellent analogy to figuring out how to build something in 3d vs. knowing how features work.

I often repeat the observation that I don't know of a single person who learned to program by studying computer science (and all my friends in college were Comp Sci students, many of them Comp Sci majors). I also knew plenty of people who graduated from Comp Sci with honors who could still not write a program.

So I think it's a difficult problem, and I will try to address it but cannot make any promises. There are some things one learns "directly" and there are others one learns by "osmosis" — you simply expose a person to a concept that cannot be well expressed — usually a concept that underlies a process — repeatedly and then something clicks and they grok it.

To give you an idea of how I am trying to tackle this problem, in some cases I will take a small project (e.g. modeling a wineglass) and attack it from different directions and then discuss the pros and cons of the different approaches.

The goal of this book is to teach 3d through Cheetah 3d because, in the end, understanding 3d (modeling, texturing, shading, lighting, rigging, animation, rendering, math, etc.) is the valuable and universal stuff, whereas how to do that stuff using Cheetah 3d is kind of incidental. Cheetah 3d might disappear tomorrow, but the underlying knowledge and skills will be transferrable to any package.

That's a really nice paragraph and I think it will appear in the book :)
I am reading "Polygonal Modeling - Basic and Advanced Techniques", by Mario Russo, from WordWare. It is AMAZING! You might want to look at the book for some ideas.

Now back to work, I want your book!