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Away3D 3.6 Cookbook I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak of Michael Ivanov’s book on Away3D 3.6 Cookbook graciously provided to me from Packt publishing. So I thought I would have a go at it to give a sneak peak on what’s covered.

Just a heads up, it is recommended to first go through the basics of using Away3D. A good introduction would be Packt’s Essential Away3D 3.6. Flash magazine’s tutorial series on Away3D is another good reference online to get things started.

Michael goes through several techniques in Away3D development. What is great about his recipes are that he addresses topics that you are not likely to see from basic courses, but the cool stuff, or the things that might be potentially requested by a client. It is a great reference to pick things up right away.

Some of the interesting things that are covered in this book:

  • Away3D materials to view video on demand (VOD) streaming, and usage of the Pixel Bender toolkit.
  • 3D interactivity
  • Special effects (using the Camera, bitmap manipulation)
  • Solutions to depth-sorting, and optimization
  • Tips in using software to improve your workflow (Prefab3D, and importing/loading 3D assets of major 3D software tools [3DsMax, Maya, Blender])
  • Away3D Lite development. This optimized version quadruples the performance compared to the standard engine (with the trade-off of a limited feature set, but ideal for simple projects)

There is much more. But I also like to mention about the appendix on FlashPlayer 11 and the Stage3D API (aka Molehill). Adobe labs just released the beta of Air 3 and for FlashPlayer 11. This would be a good opportunity to test it out.

Now, the question is that should I wait for the next Flash player to come out before tinkering with Away3D? I asked Richard Olsson, the co-developer on the Away3D team at the Flash and the City conference last June and he says that there would be no problem to migrate over to Away3D 4 once you grasp the concepts of 3D development with Away 3D 3.6. So it is a good time to start learning 3D development.

I hope this review was useful. These are exciting times in Flash development, particularly in the area of 3D.

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