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OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 2 Paperback – 1 Aug 2005

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From the Back Cover

OpenGL is a powerful software interface used to produce high-quality, computer-generated images and interactive applications using 2D and 3D objects, bitmaps, and color images.
The OpenGL® Programming Guide, Fifth Edition, provides definitive and comprehensive information on OpenGL and the OpenGL Utility Library. The previous edition covered OpenGL through Version 1.4. This fifth edition of the best-selling "red book" describes the latest features of OpenGL Versions 1.5 and 2.0, including the introduction of the OpenGL Shading Language.
You will find clear explanations of OpenGL functionality and many basic computer graphics techniques, such as building and rendering 3D models; interactively viewing objects from different perspective points; and using shading, lighting, and texturing effects for greater realism. In addition, this book provides in-depth coverage of advanced techniques, including texture mapping, antialiasing, fog and atmospheric effects, NURBS, image processing, and more. The text also explores other key topics such as enhancing performance, OpenGL extensions, and cross-platform techniques.
This fifth edition has been extensively updated to include the newest features of OpenGL Versions 1.5 and 2.0, including-
Storage of vertex arrays in buffer objects for faster rendering
Occlusion queries for course-grain visibility testing
Non-power-of-two dimensioned texture maps
Point sprites
Separate stencil operations for RGB and alpha
Rendering to multiple color buffers using GLSL
Most importantly, this edition discusses the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) and explains the mechanics of using this new language to create complex graphics effects and boost the computational power of OpenGL.

About the Author

Dave Shreiner, a leading OpenGL consultant, was a longtime member of the core OpenGL team at SGI. He authored the first commercial OpenGL training course, and has been developing computer graphics applications for more than two decades.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Still the definitive guide to OpenGL 20 Sep 2005
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Paperback
For those graphic programmers who think that Java3D requires that you program at too high a level and want more elementary control over their graphics operations, OpenGL is probably a good choice for a graphics programming API. So, assuming you already have a good grasp of computer graphics programming concepts and can already program in the C language, this guide is probably your best bet. If you don't already know these things, you will be completely lost trying to read this book. The book starts out in chapter one showing the reader exactly what OpenGL can and cannot do. Supporting code and instructive figures are supplied. The next few chapters deal with performing basic graphics tasks by using the OpenGL API. Topics included are viewing, display lists, color, lighting, blending, antialiasing, and fog. Again, if you are not already familiar with how to write pseudocode for these type of graphics tasks, you need to find a good basic computer graphics text and learn the techniques first. The next part of the book moves on to slightly more advanced topics such as texture mapping, tessellators, quadrics, and NURBs all from the standpoint of "How do I do this in OpenGL?". The chapter entitled "Now That You Know" is especially valuable to the experienced graphics programmer. Unlike previous chapters, this chapter presents a collection of examples of higher-level graphics capabilities and some incomplete OpenGL code for those examples. The reader is expected to flesh out the code to get a running graphics program, and the book does point this fact out. Chapter 15, "OpenGL 20 and the OpenGL Shading Language", is the only truly new material in this 5th edition of the OpenGL programming guide. Thus, if you are not interested in using the OpenGL shader, you can probably forge ahead with the 4th edition of the guide if you already have a copy.
For those readers who want to learn OpenGL but have not yet learned computer graphics techniques, I highly recommend "Computer Graphics Using Open GL" (2nd Edition) by Francis Hill. That book has all of the basic graphics techniques explained using OpenGL code. However, note that it is a computer graphics textbook, NOT an OpenGL tutorial. Also, you might want to pick up a copy of Schaum's outline of computer graphics. It is an inexpensive guide to both 2D and 3D computer graphics techniques that is not specifically aimed at any particular language or API, and it has many excellent exercises that help you learn the material.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource for OpenGL 12 Jan 2007
By Rob Wehrli - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
OpenGL isn't a beginner's topic. It is a (seemingly) complex world of graphics processing at the lowest levels. It is not for the timid or mathematically illiterate. This book addresses the topic in a very logical manner. When you know and understand OpenGL, it is easy to understand that some elements of a logical progression do not necessarily make the best sense to a newcomer to the technology. When first embracing OpenGL, there is a relatively steep on-ramp for some kinds of thinkers. So what's new? Everyone thinks a bit differently.

This book will point your thinking in the direction of OpenGL. It takes a very steady, but fundamental course toward that objective. It is not full of fluff, nor does it attempt to overwhelm the uninitiated with superfluous content. It does a really good job at combining elements of the nitty-gritty of OpenGL code with the practices and underlying architecture of the OpenGL system as implemented by the standards-conformant graphics hardware/drivers. It has a very comprehensive expose of the OpenGL pipeline and every reasonable aspect of using OpenGL at the fundamental level and with the GLUT.

My copy of this book is well-worn from countless flippings back-n-forth of pages and chapters as I continue to extract useful information about OpenGL from it. Perhaps it deserves 5 stars, but I have no frame of reference nor am I a gift to OpenGL programmers, so I rate it conservatively at 4.5 stars.

The book reads very easily. It is not wordy or overly terse. It does assume that you've had at least fundamental mathematics representative of college-level computer science majors. Even if your math skills are not so well-developed, this book doesn't try to drown you in such things, rather, it directs you toward the practices of accomplishing OpenGL programming assuming that you will learn that math that is necessary for the work you intend to do. It also assumes that you have strong fundamentals in C programming. It also assumes that you're able to read and comprehend English. I don't find any of these to be worthy of a disclaimer as might another reviewer.

The book is presented very well. I can not say enough how straight-forward and logically it proceeds through the topics necessary to get up-to-speed with OpenGL programming. It reads well, too. That is, you don't necessarily need to be sitting at your computer in order to enjoy elements of this book while learning about OpenGL.

The included examples are well-chosen to illustate the points made during the course of the text where they are found. I had absolutely no problem compiling and executing them on my GNU/Linux-based system using Mesa and GCC.

I would suggest that you plan to spend some quality time with this book if you're serious about learning OpenGL. Some of the topics take more than a brief reading to fully least they did for me! There are a few sections that I spent several hours on and re-read several times, which I credit to the technical-aspects of the content rather than reduce to an "issue" with the authors' presentation skills. OpenGL isn't going to be easy if you're relatively new to 2D and 3D programming. It is probably an "advanced" topic for all but the most severe.

The book is thoroughly enjoyable and when completed and you're banging away OpenGL code with style and grace, there is a notable sense of accomplishment. I had a lot of fun dissecting this book until my brain finally decided to learn its contents.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Not just another bible 7 Nov 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In few words: a complete guide to learning OpenGL.

It includes GLUT, making it very useful to practical applications.

Also an introduction to OpenGL Shading Language.

Lot of samples. Working samples.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great 6 Jan 2007
By Javier Taibo - Published on
Format: Paperback
Great book for learning OpenGL from begin to end as well as a reference manual. It is well structured and easy to follow with lots of examples. Quite complete. Recommended for people really interested in learn all about OpenGL.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
great reference book 24 July 2006
By S. Mills - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the definitive OpenGL guide and reference book. It is hands-down the best reference book covering all basic OpenGL operations. I'm very satisfied with my purchase, and I use it every day.
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