Autodesk Maya Techniques Official Training Guide More Hyper Realistic Creature Creation by Erick Miller and Jeff Unay and Paul Thuriot and Rudy Grossman is both a long title and an interesting read. The book focuses mainly on facial modeling (mostly using blend shapes), facial rigging (joint driven components) and full body setup (full body IK, influencing the skin, caching out deformations).
The book has some interesting information such as how to adjust to production changes. Accommodating art/design changes can be accomplished by creating a blend shape from the old base head to all blend shapes, which not only saves work, but also preserves all the original information. For accommodating topology changes the first option is to setup a driver to the new topology, or the second option is to bake topology to targets.
The list of standard (required) blend shape targets was quite thorough and included:
ooh mouth shapes (in between targets)
lips mouth up and down (upward and downward facial thirds)
lip corners up/down optional , smile frown
upper and lower lip roll (or lip curl)
lip corner sideways (inward pull/outward stretch)
lip mouth pull forward and back
lip volume shapes flattened /tightened and puffed out lips
eye blinks/wide open eyes
tightly squinted eyes
cheeks up/down (cheek squint, cheek droop)
puffed out and sucked in cheeks
inward outward and updward downward flares, nose sneer snarl
brow up and down (furrow and raise)
forehead brow sideways (inward pull/outward stretch)
jaw clench/foreched clench, neck clench
jaw corrective shape
Overall, the book is quite slim (at 157 pages) which makes it a quick read, but it comes with a DVD full of great example scenes and code scripts/plugins (which I will see about reviewing in another post(s)). If nothing else, the book is useful as a guide to the examples, but has some good information on more high level concepts and information. In some ways it is a sequel to Hyper-Realistic Creature Creation, so it may be better to read that first, but still stands well enough on its own.
Bye for now,