February 10, 2006


Published by Wordware Publishing, the 350-page book is more than just a how-to guide. The book demystifies and breaks down the complex nature of 3D design and offers accessibility to the art.

"I wanted to create a cross-platform book that was not married to any one kind of technology or style," Kater says. "This is all about being the kind of problem solver that will make you a more complete animator and stand out from the crowd.

"One of the things I have found is that animators just don't learn how to properly service a client," he notes. "This book will teach people how to confidently present their own concepts, how to be open to serendipity and inspiration to create a personal vision, and how to gather reference material. There are a lot of harsh realities that job seekers will have to overcome, but in the end, they will greatly improve their chances of being hired."

Design First for 3D Artists also includes a CD-ROM that provides additional illustrations, a test animation, and is linked to a support Web site ( featuring sample chapters, a merchandise store and a gallery. The book can also be purchased directly through the site for $49.95.

Kater hopes that this will be the first in a series that will launch Design First as a prominent educational brand. "I decided to write this book because I wanted to share with beginning and experienced animators my own experience in using traditional drawing techniques to create characters, props, environments, color, lighting, composition and storyboards, As a studio owner, I am constantly meeting talented people who know how to animate, but who don't know how to design with individuality. In today's marketplace, that?s just not enough."

Kater's work has been published in "Business Week," "Car Styling" and "Popular Hot Rodding" magazines, and one of his spaceship designs currently hangs in the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. In TV, he has worked as a prop designer, production designer, 3D animator and illustrator for Street Sharks, Thumb Wars, The Avengers, and Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, and held the key post of spaceship designer and 3D modeler/animator on Saban and Marvel's Silver Surfer series, adapting the style of Jack Kirby into the 3D world. He co-founded S4 Studios in 1999 with partners Dale Hendrickson and Larry Le Francis for the production of animation for commercials, trailers, TV shows and feature film VFX.