A recent purchase of mine. A very well laid out book on Blender - a complete animation tool, open-source, and attracting serious professional use.
Both the book and the software seem excellent to me, but I wouldn't recommend learning the software without this book, unless you want serious eyestrain for peering at online documents all day long!
Blender Foundations is the definitive resource for getting started with 3D art in Blender, one of the most popular 3D/Animation tools on the market.
With the expert insight and experience of Roland Hess, noted Blender expert and author, animators and artists will learn the basics starting with the revised 2.6 interface, modeling tools, sculpting, lighting and materials through rendering, compositing and video editing.
Some of the new features covered include the completely re-thought interface, the character animation and keying system, and the smoke simulator. More than just a tutorial guide, "Blender Foundations" covers the philosophy behind this ingenious software that so many 3D artists are turning to today.
Start working today with Blender with the accompanying web site which includes all of the projects and support files alongside videos, step-by-step screenshots of the trickier tutorials, as well as a direct links to official resources like the Blender download site and artist forums.
A useful review: Having given up trying to learn Blender using online tutorials, I turned to this book - expecting it to be hard work and something of a slog. What I found was perhaps the best introduction to a 3D program I've read in a long time.
Its diagrams are clear (and in colour), it expertly explain modelling, molding, and animation, and I can say now I feel quite at home using the new version of Blender. So why not five stars? I found the chapter on textures and materials a little confusing and there weren't any tutorials on using the game/physics engine. That said, don't let that put you off. If you understand everything in this book, you'll be way ahead of the curve and be able to produce really interesting renders.