Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Brais: I started writing right when I was studying for my Master’s Degree in Computer Animation at Kingston University, as I wanted to share the experience I was acquiring with the wider world.
In the 3d industry (be that video games, CGI, or architectural visualization), so much of what we learn is passed down from others, so I wanted to give back to the community a little bit of what they had given me.
I guess it went from there – I got noticed by an editor at Packt, and I swapped my little blogging universe for the wider Packt audience!
Q: What is the name of your book?
Brais: Unreal Engine 5 Shaders and Effects Cookbook: Over 50 recipes to help you create materials and utilize advanced shading techniques, 2nd Edition
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Brais: It wouldn’t be easy for me to write down an exact amount of time, but it was definitely important to research what I was writing about every time I tackled a new chapter in the book.
Even though I get to use the techniques described in my books, they are always part of a project not suited to be taught – so adapting and extracting the essence of all of those techniques becomes crucial before starting to write a new recipe. As to how long that takes, I guess it depends on the deadline!
Q: What key takeaways do you want readers to come away with from the book?
Brais: I’d like them to feel comfortable using Unreal’s material editor, knowing that they’ve gained valuable skills that they can use to create any material they’d like.
Q: Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Brais: Sure thing! Evermotion.org is a great site – and so is Artstation. And don’t let me forget CGTrader! Also, YouTube contains a wealth of information buried under gentle souls that can also lend you a hand from time to time.
Furthermore, Google is of course your friend in these matters! There are dozens of us who started blogging, sharing very helpful tips along the way, and it would be impossible to cite all of them – just go ahead and try to search for any doubts you have, and Google will surely point you to a kind soul who is trying to help.
Q. Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Brais: As with any 3d-related task, the biggest challenge is probably staying up-to-date: ensuring that the techniques on which I’ve relied over the years still work, updating previous workflows when new ones appear, and making sure that none of the tools I’ve relied upon are getting close to being retired! Overcoming these obstacles is usually the result of staying on top of things and constantly studying.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Brais: I would describe it as a good journey – the editor and everyone involved in the book has been very kind, ensuring that the title was the best it could be. So definitely, I would recommend Packt to any other inspiring authors!
Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Brais: With this book, I’ve tried to teach readers some of the most useful techniques available in Unreal in a way that not only grants them access to some immediate knowledge but also lays the foundation for a more thorough understanding of the engine.
I hope that, by the end of their time with the title, they’ll be much more proficient with Unreal’s material editor, as opposed to simply knowing how to tackle the specific recipes that we’ve covered in it.
Q. What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Brais: Unreal Engine app development, especially around digital twins of the built environment – cities, building interiors, and so on.
Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?
Brais: Go for it! Start reading and testing things out without trying to make them perfect; if you just let yourself go at first, things will start to come together at a later stage. So don’t worry, have fun, and you’ll be an expert in no time!
Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Brais: Real-time rendering technologies are great, and they are only going to get better! This particular industry has always been the little brother of the broader offline, CGI industry, but achieving high-quality results in our field is now closer than ever.
Proof of that is the number of practices that have adopted some type of real-time rendering technology into their workflows, especially in industries where these rendering engines had never been used before automotive, AEC, the medical field, the film industry… so many it’s quite mind-boggling!
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Brais: Thinking about what I wanted to cover, laying it out in different steps, and committing to them once they were in motion. It’s difficult to know exactly how long things will take, but that approach has seen me through the finish line with a good degree of satisfaction.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Brais: I try to read CG Trader and Evermotion every once in a while, but really, video game forums are where most of the information is at. ResetEra is a good place to stay on top of the latest developments within the video game world, so I would recommend that.
Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, mention them below.
Brais: People can find me on LinkedIn as Brais Brenlla Ramos
Q: What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Brais: If using images, don’t worry about them until the end! Focus on the content and leave those until the end, as things like the format are bound to change between revisions and going from one software to another. Be a perfectionist, but be one at the end!
You can find Brais’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here