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Glsl Essentials Paperback – 27 Dec 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (27 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849698007
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849698009
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 0.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,964,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jacobo Rodríguez

Jacobo Rodriguez is a real-time computer graphics programmer living in the north of Spain. He has working experience with computer graphics, digital photogrammetry, computer vision, and video game development. Jacobo has worked for cutting-edge technology companies such as Metria Digital and Blit Software, and has also worked as an entrepreneur and freelancer for a variety of clients of platforms such as PC, iOS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation Portable. Jacobo has been working and learning at the same time for the last 20 years in the computer graphics field in roles ranging from junior programmer to project manager, passing through R&D director as well. Jacobo has always been very committed to the computer graphics community, having released for free the OpenGL Shader Designer: the first application in the world (even before NVIDIA with FX Composer or ATI with RenderMonkey) designed to visually develop and program GLSL shaders, as well as some OpenGL programming tutorials, all forming part of the Official OpenGL SDK.


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By DC Bateman on 12 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this book, the chapter headings looked promising and with a low page count (about 90) I was expecting a concise introduction to glsl. Any hopes were short lived, however.

Apart from the chapter headings this is a confused mess of book. Written and, worse, poorly edited by non-native English speakers, with confusing, distracting, incorrect grammar which makes the already poor descriptions even more confusing and difficult to follow.

Chapter headings aside, there is no clear progression and important steps/points are missed in both explanations and code samples. Key concepts -- fixed and programmable pipelines, their relationship to each other, and the flow of data through the programmable pipeline -- are poorly described.

The code samples are incomplete:
for instance no values are given for the projection and model-view matrices -- "fill with proper values" is the sum total of the information given to aid the reader.

Apart from a dozen or so lines of C, the code samples are all GLSL. I was unable to find any source code online so it appears that the reader is expected to write the host code themselves.

Some specific shortcomings:
* "floats" are used in "for" loops, apart from being an unnecessary waste of GPU space they can lead to off-by-one errors.
* The description of matrices as an array of vectors is out-and-out wrong.

GLSL Essentials might have been a good book, all the necessary parts are there, but they are confusingly realised, so this book is sorely lacking as an introduction. While some basic concepts are over-explained (e.g. comments) others are simply taken for granted (e.g. variable location) and left unexplained.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not Essential 12 Feb. 2014
By DC Bateman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to this book, the chapter headings looked promising and with a low page count (about 90) I was expecting a concise introduction to GLSL. Any hopes were short lived, however.

Apart from the chapter headings this is a confused mess of book. Written and, worse, poorly edited by non-native English speakers, with confusing, distracting, incorrect grammar which makes the already poor descriptions even more confusing and difficult to follow.

Chapter headings aside, there is no clear progression and important steps/points are missed in both explanations and code samples. Key concepts -- fixed and programmable pipelines, their relationship to each other, and the flow of data through the programmable pipeline -- are poorly described.

The code samples are incomplete:
for instance no values are given for the projection and model-view matrices -- "fill with proper values" is the sum total of the information given to aid the reader.

Apart from a dozen or so lines of C, the code samples are all GLSL. I was unable to find any source code online so it appears that the reader is expected to write the host code themselves.

Some specific shortcomings:
* "floats" are used in "for" loops, apart from being an unnecessary waste of GPU space they can lead to off-by-one errors.
* The description of matrices as an array of vectors is out-and-out wrong.

GLSL Essentials might have been a good book, all the necessary parts are there, but they are confusingly realized, so this book is sorely lacking as an introduction. While some basic concepts are over-explained (e.g. comments) others are simply taken for granted (e.g. variable location) and left unexplained.

While it aims to cover the essentials, it does so very poorly and with the basic mistakes it makes it is difficult to trust anything in this book (I was constantly referring to the internet to confirm what I read).

A very poor book and most definitely not essential.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Elementary and suffers some poor editing, but not without value. 23 Feb. 2014
By Michael Dwan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
GLSL Essentials is a small, but dense, book on OpenGL Shading Language 4.3. The book itself is divided quite logically with the first chapter unremarkably offering an obligatory introduction to the rendering pipeline.

Chapter 2 is where you first begin to find some value in this small book. Here, you will be introduced to GLSL 4.30, of course, were it not for the many evolutions of GLSL over the years this chapter would be mostly unnecessary, however, it is nice to have as a reference if you're coming from older versions of GLSL. In general, it would have been nice to have annotation for constructs indicating in what version of GLSL they were introduced, but otherwise, this is a fine reference.

Chapters 3 and 4 cover vertex and fragment shaders, and for the most part these stages have not changed drastically since earlier versions of GLSL, GLSL Essentials does an admirable job of introducing these two shader stages without assuming prior experience using GLSL, I expect this to be a welcome prelude for those newer to OpenGL and GLSL.

Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 which cover geometry and compute shaders, respectively, were the most interesting sections, in my opinion. Although like chapters 3 and 4, the coverage is quick and high level they both do a good job of introducing the key benefits of these shader stages which, to a beginner especially, is not necessarily clear just reading GLSL documentation. After reading these chapters you will have enough insight to understand some of the possibilities these stages expose and that is valuable.

All the shader stage chapters are punctuated nicely with example code illustrating the discussion, however, the examples are generally quite simple, and the discussions are, for the most part, elementary. This is not meant to slight the content of the book, it lives up to its claims, in that it covers the essential topics in just enough detail to get you started, but its definitely geared to the uninitiated.

Some of the example code is poorly written/edited. For instance, there is, inexplicably, several loops iterating with floating point counters, and then worse, the floating point value is used to index an array. I can’t imagine the reasoning here, but it speaks poorly of the text, which otherwise is not bad.

Overall I can recommend the book as an introduction to the topic, provided you have the hardware necessary to run the code you are writing. Those hoping for a more in depth exploration of GLSL would definitely do well to look elsewhere. The book does lose points for being poorly edited and also for the exclusion of tessellation shaders, an exclusion for which the author offers no explanation.
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