Free Graphics Tools To Get You Started
Click here for a list of free graphics tools to help you get started.
If you're a student or teacher try buying software from educational retailers. You can get great prices on professional software. Most educational versions are fully functional they just stipulate that you don't sell anything you make. Check out JourneyEd.com for some great prices.
Computer Graphics Books
Before shopping for a book to teach you about 3D computer graphics you need to figure out how you learn best. If you've already read and understand the manual that came with the program then you might not need to buy another book that teaches the basics. Instead, you might want to look for a book of tutorials that apply to your anticipated use for the program. Keep in mind that tutorial books often assume prior knowledge of a program and therefore are not always the best books for beginners. Make sure to read the reviews to aid in picking a book that fits your learning style.
If you're a beginner to the graphics world you should read some articles on the web before bothering with any books. See the links below for some good articles. If you read these articles and still crave more information come back here and check out our recommended books.
Check out 3dcgi's list of recommended computer graphics books.
Computer Graphics Terms
3DCGI stands for Three Dimensional (3D) Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). The term CGI is frequently used to describe movie special effects.
Do you ever read reviews and have no idea what some of the terms mean? Check out these sites for definitions of commonly used terms.
Webopedia contains definitions for many computer releated topics.
ExtremeTech has a three part series on the 3D pipeline. Part I, part II, part III. There is also an article focused on Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering Explained.
How GPUs Work - this article from Computer magazine is written by David Luebke from NVIDIA Research and Greg Humphreys from the University of Virginia. It covers the various stages of the graphics pipeline including the evolution from fixed function to unified shaders.
How Graphics Cards Work - an explaination of how graphics/video cards work from the folks at HowStuffWorks.com.
Mesh Modeling Tutorial - a great tutorial for beginners to mesh modeling. The concepts apply to most modeling programs, but the tutorial is written for 3D Studio MAX.
Once you have a basic knowledge of graphics you might be interested in learning how specific graphics chips differ in their methods of hardware implementation. Beyond3D's reviews delve into the details of a graphics chips architecture so it's a good place to expand your knowledge.
Real-Time Rendering - this is the web site for a terrific book that covers many advanced topics.