Book Review: Bounce, Tumble, and Splash! by Tony Mullen

Modeling every single aspect of a scene in a 3D application like Blender is hard when details are very fine (as with hair, bubbles, smoke, or a field of grass), and so there are a variety of automated techniques for pseudo-random modeling. It's also hard to animate every behavior accurately and realistically, especially of complex deforming surfaces. Fortunately, Blender can work out the physics -- applying gravity, collisions, and flexible movement for you. This book is a guide to this difficult subject.

This is called "simulation" and it's one of the hardest and most innovative areas of computer graphics. Only a few years ago, even the most sophisticated studios wouldn't touch some of the problems that are now solved relatively easily using software simulation techniques in 3D modeling environments.

And this is one area where Blender is right in the vanguard, continuing to develop new techiques. Retaining this innovative position is partly a result of the Blender Foundation's investment in producing "Open Movies", because each of these projects has encouraged further technical innovation.

This book by Tony Mullen is the only one I know of which gives a thorough introduction to these techniques and their implementation in Blender. It covers:

  • Particle systems
  • Soft bodies (i.e. cloth, flexible objects)
  • Particle-based hair
  • Fluids
  • Physics and the game engine
  • Simulating plant growth (leaves and branches)

I'm still working my way through this book, but it's full of really fascinating stuff. Definitely it is for advanced users of Blender only -- you should look for one of the many beginner books on Blender before tackling this one.

In short:

Title Bounce, Tumble, and Splash!
Author Tony Mullen
Publisher Sybex (Wiley)
ISBN 978-0-470-19280-1
Year 2008
Pages 380
CD included No
FS Oriented 10
Over all score 10


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.