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OpenGL Distilled Paperback – 27 Feb 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (27 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321336798
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321336798
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 1.4 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,950,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

OpenGL opens the door to the world of high-quality, high-performance 3D computer graphics. The preferred application programming interface for developing 3D applications, OpenGL is widely used in video game development, visualization and simulation, CAD, virtual reality, modeling, and computer-generated animation.

OpenGL® Distilled provides the fundamental information you need to start programming 3D graphics, from setting up an OpenGL development environment to creating realistic textures and shadows. Written in an engaging, easy-to-follow style, this book makes it easy to find the information you're looking for. You'll quickly learn the essential and most-often-used features of OpenGL 2.0, along with the best coding practices and troubleshooting tips.

Topics include

  • Drawing and rendering geometric data such as points, lines, and polygons
  • Controlling color and lighting to create elegant graphics
  • Creating and orienting views
  • Increasing image realism with texture mapping and shadows
  • Improving rendering performance
  • Preserving graphics integrity across platforms

A companion Web site includes complete source code examples, color versions of special effects described in the book, and additional resources.

About the Author

Paul Martz is a senior software engineer at SimAuthor, Inc., where he develops flight-data visualization software. He previously worked in the Graphics Software Lab at Hewlett-Packard, and the Workstation Graphics Division at Evans & Sutherland. While at Hewlett-Packard he led the effort to create the OpenGL technical FAQ and remains active in OpenGL newsgroups. Paul helped evaluate revisions to the OpenGL specifications and is currently an individual contributor to the OpenGL Architecture Review Board.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
OpenGL Distilled is an excellent reference for developers who are new to OpenGL. It tackles platform specifics for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and makes use of GLUT and GLU in the core text so that focus can stay heavily on OpenGL itself.

I learnt OpenGL with this book, and then progressed on to the main Programming Guide and Shader Language reference texts (the "red" and "orange" books). I still refer to this book quite often though, as it is so well written, it's often hard to beat for looking up an explanation of something.

This book covers features right up to OpenGL 2.0. It has the best explanation of how extensions work, and how easy they can be to manage, that I have seen anywhere.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miroslav Karpis on 7 Nov 2008
Format: Paperback
I'm VERY sorry to be negative but...
I have purchased this book 2 weeks ago and I stopped on page 50. I'm a programmer new in OpenGL. This book is using too technical specifications, the examples does not work at the first time....and it was supposed to be for beginners?

have just now ordered the OpenGL redbook - looks easier to understand (we will see)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A good handbook for beginning OpenGL programmers 8 Jun 2006
By Derek Burnett - Published on
Format: Paperback
I often get asked for good starter books that can teach proper OpenGL concepts. The problem with most of these books is that concepts are expressed en masse with huge code blocks, often obscuring the actual concept being expressed. In this reguards, "Distilled" is that. The author expresses a concept, discusses relevant caveats and practices, then endows us with a short example. The authors coding standards and style are kept minimally intrusive.

A few pros: though most examples use GLUT, Win32 setup is covered. Shaders are presented in the book, as well as other 1.5+ features, but the book does not hang on shaders (the Third Edition Superbible is horrible about this).

Cons: As with any OpenGL book, GLUT.

The areas covered are relevant, and what you need to know about OpenGL is there. I would recommend book over the Superbible or RedBook for beginners, and would wager it contends with them as a reference material.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
OpenGL Condensed 21 Sep 2006
By J. Jessup - Published on
Format: Paperback
In "OpenGL Distilled", Paul Martz details the essential elements of the OpenGL 2.0 API used in regular development. As the title describes, the book is a concise 266 pages that span eight chapters and four appendices. The book is published by Addison-Wesley Professional (ISBN: 0321336798) and is retails for $35 USD.

Starting with the first chapter, An Introduction to OpenGL, Martz provides a brief paragraph or two of background summary, followed by what you will, and will not learn in the chapter. The writing and flow is well structured and consistent, making it easy to follow. Each chapter picks a subset of the OpenGL API and highlights the practical issues with each command that a programmer may encounter in actual development.

The other chapters, Drawing Primitives, Transformation and Viewing, Lighting, Pixel Rectangles, Texture Mapping, Extensions and Versions, and Platform-Specific Interface, all follow an identical format. Each chapter picks and describes the usage of several of the core OpenGL API commands.

Generally, the selected commands are well chosen as they are fundamental to the API. The text illustrates usage, pitfalls, and occasionally provides common debugging solutions with the selected commands. Throughout the book, small code fragments and example code is provided. Each code fragment shows operational usage of the key API commands covered in the chapter. There is also a web site where you can download all of the source code, view the color slides, and check for updates.

While the book also provides many references to other sources of OpenGL API information, it doesn't attempt to describe all the API functions. As such, extension libraries, such as GLU/GLUT, shaders, or complex lighting aren't considered due to scope. This might disappoint more sophisticated programmers.

It would be a mistake, however, to think that the book is geared toward the novice graphics programmer. The book assumes at least a casual familiarity with the OpenGL API and doesn't attempt to be instructional. While the second chapter, Drawing Primitives, starts with glBegin()/glEnd(), it jumps straight into methods of drawing primitives using vertex arrays, and finishes with details of the rendering pipeline (clearing the frame buffer, model transformations, depth tests, and alpha blending).

The book also does a nice job highlighting multiplatform nuances encountered in the OpenGL API. Not only is a chapter dedicated to three of the major operating systems, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, but the downloaded example code also compiles on those targets as well.

Interestingly, the book comes with a free 45-day coupon to view it electronically via Safari, an online partnership with several major publishers that "rents" a dynamic bookshelf for reference texts. The service features a large number of technical books complete with search, preview, and printing capability. With the smallest bookshelf, users can keep up to 5 books and rotate books (at most) once every 30 days. The basic 5-slot cost is $10 per month, although other options with additional features also exist. It's a compelling service with a growing number of books from which to choose.

The book seems to best serve intermediate OpenGL programmers. Developers who already have some experience writing OpenGL applications and have already read the "Red Book" ("OpenGL Programming Guide, Version 2" by Shreiner, Woo, et al) would do well with this book. But those doing more sophisticated rendering, with shaders or other cutting edge features of the API for example, may find it's not as valuable of a reference and should consider browsing it via Safari prior to making a purchasing decision.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not up to date. 1 April 2012
By Professor Spice - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book focuses on the older, fixed-function OpenGL pipeline. Those seeking a concise introduction to OpenGL 2.0 and beyond, using shaders, will be disappointed. I was!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The best place to begin the study of OpenGL 6 July 2010
By Charles Ashbacher - Published on
Format: Paperback
OpenGL is a package that allows a programmer to create very high-quality 3D graphics. It allows you to do a great many things, so like most such packages; the typical user uses only a small percentage of the overall capability. The goal of Martz in writing this book is to present and explain that key core of operations.
In that sense he is very successful, although the reader has to be fairly knowledgeable in the terminology and mechanics of graphics programming. Knowledge of matrices and the basic operations performed on them is also essential. The chapter headings of coverage are:

*) Drawing primitives
*) Transformation and viewing
*) Lighting
*) Pixel rectangles
*) Texture mapping
*) Extensions and versions
*) Platform-specific interfaces

If you know the terminology and fundamental mechanics of graphics programming, then you will find this book is an excellent introduction to the fundamental functions of OpenGL. Martz lists the prototypes of the functions as well as short descriptions of what they return and what can go wrong. The code examples are written in C++ and can be easily understood by anyone familiar with the language.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for a refresher 21 Sep 2007
By Brian Clifton - Published on
Format: Paperback
I recently bought all of the official OpenGL books including OpenGL Distilled. Before having these, I have only used up to OpenGL 1.2 because the red and blue book I had before only cover OpenGL 1.2.

This book was a great place to get acquainted with the new OpenGL features like Vertex Buffer Objects. It also has a decent section for the platform specific setup (I didn't even notice but I was creating my Window with the wrong parameters the whole time).

The book is a lot smaller than I thought it would be (it's about 2cm thick) but that's a good thing. It's a quick reference manual for a lot that OpenGL has to offer. If you're looking for more in depth OpenGL knowledge, try the red or orange book instead (The super bible 4th edition looks good as well).
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