This book claims that novice programmers will gain fast entry into Java 3D development and that experienced Java 3D developers will benefit from the state-of-the-art techniques described within. While I certainly found this to be a comprehensive text about Java 3D development I think that a novice programmer would find the road quite hard going and that experienced developers will still have some questions left unanswered.
All of the major portions of the Java 3D API are covered in a reasonable order and depth along with numerous figures, illustrations, tips about design issues and likely pitfalls. Unfortunately there are no colour illustrations in this book, which is slightly disappointing considering the nature of the topic and its relatively high cost.
There are also a good number of code snippets to help show the relevant points but these often seem to stop just short of making complete sense. It occurs to me that Java 3D development is sufficiently complicated that it can only be well comprehended by examining the source code of full examples and reading much of the Java 3D API documentation itself. Thankfully the author has provided a wealth of good example applications (complete with full source code) on his website and I would strongly recommend that these be examined in conjunction with reading the book.
The sections on 'integration with Swing applications' and 'key navigation behaviour' were particularly helpful for comprehending how a complete Java 3D application (or even a game) might fit together. Almost certainly this whole subject is best understood through experimentation at the computer while working through the various topics of the book. Recommended
A comparison between Java 3D API Jump-Start (J3D-JS) and Java 3D Programming (J3D-P) ...
J3D-JS is an easier read and is presented slightly better (in general as well as having colour illustrations) than J3D-P. However the volume and depth of material covered in J3D-JS is not as great as in J3D-P and therefore the reader is likely to be left with many unanswered questions although the reader may still be left with unanswered questions after reading J3D-P too. After working with Java 3D for the past two months I can say that I am very impressed with the results that I have achieved but your mileage will vary depending on the problem you are trying to solve. Without these books I doubt that I would have gotten very far with Java 3D - they are bothquite useful and continue to be referred to.