Recommended MaxScript Textbooks

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Old 12 December 2007   #1
Recommended MaxScript Textbooks

Hey there, i have a question where i would like to get some feedback (why else would i post this question here )

so, as things are i commute on the local transit system for a great deal of time... but i would like to brush up and learn more about max-script so...:

What textbooks would you all recommend i purchase so that i can read up on the bus?

i've got a fairly basic grasp on maxscript but i know i could push it further. i don't mind if the book is super thick, i have the time to read it. but i'm curious as to what you all would recommend both for clarity as well as something that will be good for someone like myself.

i think i should stress this, but i'm looking for a book that would be good to read up on that doesn't require i be sitting at a computer with Max running. i feel pretty confidant that i can understand most concepts of computer programming (i've been playing around with various languages since the commodore64 basic days) so i have no problem wrapping my brain around concepts like function structures and things like that, but as things are right now, the commute i take is kinda wasted time since all i can really do is listen to music or read books. (drawing is out since the route is too shakey/bumpy and often too crowded to have my sketchbook on my lap) i ask mostly because there's a bunch of them on Amazon, but i would like to get some reviews from y'all than rely on the reviews that they've put there (yes, i'm skeptical like that.)

so, yeah. anyone have good books that they would recommend? PEN? Bobo? Eek?
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Old 12 December 2007   #2
for now, i think i'll print out some of the "how to" tutorials in the MaxScript reference, but the question still stands.
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Old 12 December 2007   #3
Originally Posted by WMBrown: for now, i think i'll print out some of the "how to" tutorials in the MaxScript reference, but the question still stands.


The Reference is just that, a Reference, not a manual, textbook or tutorial.
Check out the MAXScript Courseware published by Autodesk - I have seen one for Max 8 and one for Max 9, both would do as a good intro into scripting.

Also, while technically not a textbook, check out the DVDs available from CG-Academy and the MAXScript 101 CD/DVD by John Wainwright.

Books are overrated when it comes to scripting. Your idea of reading and not doing on a computer will probably lead nowhere - most people have studied MAXScript WITHOUT books by just trying things out, changing other people's scripts, looking up in the Reference and finding new ways of doing things, and last but not least asking questions here.
Thus, there is no "Harry Potter and the Magic of Scripting" out there, you have to get your hands dirty to learn something useful. (This reminds me of Dolores Umbridge teaching Defense Against The Dark Arts by the book with no practice - Bad Idea! )
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Bobo
 
Old 12 December 2007   #4
As Bobo says, the best way to begin to learn is to start 'doing.' And as you noted, MaxScript has some good starter tutorials and how-to's in the renference.

However I have to put my two cents in, that getting somewhat of a comprehensive textbook/DVD or two can be invaluable. I bought "3dsMax MAXScript Essentials 2nd Ed", and "MaxScript and the SDK for 3D Studio Max", and the first was somewhat cursory while the second was somewhat outdated (especially for editable mesh vs. poly), but I still refer to them once in a while. Especially so because they have tutorials that explain some higher-level designing concepts than the MXS reference.

I also went through the first DVD from CGAcademy by Laszlo, which was somewhat too beginner for my background but if you are new to programming and scripting then it will nicely introduce you to some fundamental concepts (not you specifically but to anyone reading with a similar question). Still haven't gone through the other 3 DVD's from CGAcademy, but I did watch about 20 minutes of Bobo's "Matrix Explained" most of which went over my head.

However given your requirements, the material on MXS is somewhat sparse... definately pick up the two books, but otherwise, I would suggest printing out scripts and analyzing them line by line with notes. The two books, despite their length, are pretty brief, and you won't get much past the beginner levels of scripting from reading textbooks.
 
Old 12 December 2007   #5
is it possible to buy a printed hard copy of the maxscript reference?
 
Old 12 December 2007   #6
Originally Posted by graeme: is it possible to buy a printed hard copy of the maxscript reference?


Nope.
Even if you would print it, in what order are you going to read it? It is not linear, it is a hyperlinked document. I tried to export it to PDF once and it was a mess because you could not really see any logic in the order of the topics the way they were output.
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Bobo
 
Old 12 December 2007   #7
Originally Posted by Bobo: Nope.
Even if you would print it, in what order are you going to read it? It is not linear, it is a hyperlinked document. I tried to export it to PDF once and it was a mess because you could not really see any logic in the order of the topics the way they were output.


you could read it as you do now, dipping in and out of topics of interest, and to follow hyperlinks you would have to look up the linked terms in the index to find the page number (the old fashioned way). No?
Is it just too big and too interlinked to be worthwhile? Is the order of the contents treeview in the html help viewer completely lost?
I was wondering because i had tried to read the .chm on my pda when away from the computer but it was too much for the little thing.
thanks
 
Old 12 December 2007   #8
I do agree that "just" reading doens't help on your programming skills, but there's a lot of people with plenty of spare time on transportations when you go or come back from the office, and it's as good time as any other to get a grasp of techniques or ideas from books. I do read a lot like that, ( apart from programming of course ). Also, I keep printing parts of the maxscript reference to read on the bus, or anytime.
The main book about Mascript ( and a bit of the SDK ) as far as I know it's this one also there's this one, this one and this one.

Cheers.
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Old 12 December 2007   #9
I have to agree also with the fact that you can actually gain something from reading about scripting. I find that i print out a lot of tutorials and help topics for reading on my long commute. And, I also used to have the MXS chm on my pda for reference. It seems to stick in my brain better if i read something. It's not the same, but by the time I start writing the script I'm clearer in my mind of the process i want to do.

Anyway, given a choice between me reading the MXS help and the bloke next to me reading The Daily Mail, i know what i'd rather have.

Although i have a laptop now, so i have the lot! - including watching bobo's DVD! big teapot huzzah!

ooh, and to answer the question, the best maxscript text? the help IMHO. once you have got a grasp of the basics then it's all you need. I run it from a shortcut so that i can browse it while i'm waiting for a preview!
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Last edited by LoneRobot : 12 December 2007 at 01:17 PM.
 
Old 12 December 2007   #10
Originally Posted by fabman: I do agree that "just" reading doens't help on your programming skills, but there's a lot of people with plenty of spare time on transportations when you go or come back from the office, and it's as good time as any other to get a grasp of techniques or ideas from books.


I agree that having a good text book on a subject helps a lot to put everything into context and get a bigger picture. I would love to see an advanced book on MAXscript. One problem with a book, though, might be that MAXScript is such an evolutionary product that not all parts of it can be explained 'in principle'; there are many exceptions to any of the rules due to legacy code.

Learning MXS by reading the online help and looking at existing code is a bit like playing scavenger hunt.

To get people up to speed with MAXScript, we have resorted to Tutorial DVDs (Bobo's and John Wainwright's), but I'd rather have a good book or two.

-- MartinB
 
Old 12 December 2007   #11
Originally Posted by Bobo: Even if you would print it, in what order are you going to read it? It is not linear, it is a hyperlinked document. I tried to export it to PDF once and it was a mess because you could not really see any logic in the order of the topics the way they were output.


That is exactly why a book is needed. ;-)
To have something to read chapter by chapter, taking you from simple to more complex cases, explaining all the concepts of MAXScript alongside. I appreciate the improvements you brought to the online reference very much, but I still think some linear documentation like a book is missing.

-- MartinB

Last edited by martinB : 12 December 2007 at 11:23 AM.
 
Old 12 December 2007   #12
Originally Posted by martinB: That is exactly why a book is needed. ;-)
To have something to read chapter by chapter, taking you from simple to more complex cases, explaining all the concepts of MAXScript alongside. I appreciate the improvements you brought to the online reference very much, but I still think some linear documentation like a book is missing.

-- MartinB


It would be a pain to write (formatting code for a book is really tricky) and a bad business decision (few people would buy it). Also, in many cases, the immediate feedback of what the code is doing would be missing - you would have to type in the code in Max to see what really happens as result (describing it in words wouldn't have the same impact). Even if the code were provided on a DVD/CD, you would need a laptop to use it while on a bus or a train. In that case, an interactive DVD would be a better anyway.

I am not going to write a book on MAXScript, but you are free to try writing one and telling me about your experience afterwards
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Bobo
 
Old 12 December 2007   #13
Originally Posted by Bobo: It would be a pain to write (formatting code for a book is really tricky) and a bad business decision (few people would buy it). I am not going to write a book on MAXScript, but you are free to try writing one and telling me about your experience afterwards


It's sad but true that writing CG programming books is not very attractive financially due to the small market. I had one proposal before and the numbers were just pathetic, considering all the time one needs to spend writing things up accurately.

So I am proposing that Autodesk should pay you for this and cross-finance it from 3ds Max sales. ;-)

-- MartinB
 
Old 12 December 2007   #14
Some advice for someone who had this same question. I bought a while back the Autodesk MaxScript Essentials v2 book and had a great time reading it, however at the end of the day, I never refer to it anymore. The reference and this forum is really the best resource for maxscript. And even this forum gets slow sometimes . Welcome to MXS.
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Old 12 December 2007   #15
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