Blender 2.5 Lighting and Rendering
Blender 2.5 Lighting and Rendering.
Lighting plays a crucial role in conveying of sense a realism in renders so getting is right is one of the essentials skills that anyone working with Blender needs to have.
Aaron W. Powell's "Blender 2.5 Lighting and Rendering" certainly gives you a good basic understanding of all the relevant topics in lighting. In fact the title is a bit modest really as the book not only covers lighting but is also a good primer on Blenders material system and in these times of transition gives you a fair overview of quite a bit of Blender 2.5's all new interface to boot.
Having said that, each book on a technical subject stands or falls with its practical applicability and "Blender 2.5 Lighting and Rendering" certainly comes with many practical examples that will help you get started in designing a lighting setup that will work for your scene.
Besides usefull introductory material on color theory the book focuses on three lighting environments: indoor, outdoor, and mixed conditions (where a significant portion of the light in an indoor setting comes in from the outside). For each environment different setups are discussed and detailed examples given covering pretty much everything there is to know about the different types of lights available in Blender including pseudo lights like ambient occlusion and mesh lights.
Lighting and materials are closely related, each dependent on the other to get across a believable image. Attention to Blenders versatile materials is therefor essential and and each focus section devotes a complete chapter on setting up materials to complement the lighting setup, including information on UV-mapping and using node based materials. Although everything about Blender materials certainly could fill a book or two on its own, these chapters give a clear understanding about the relation between light and materials.
If anything, I would have like to see some more examples on applying the different example light rigs on different scenes within the three focus areas but the examples given are very detailed and covered from start to finish giving you plenty of information to work with.
In summary: A fine book, written in an accessible way, not to miss for anybody who wants to extend his Blender 2.5 skills to include professional lighting.