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OpenGL Superbible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference [Paperback]

Graham Sellers , Richard S. Wright , Nicholas Haemel
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2013 0321902947 978-0321902948 6

OpenGL® SuperBible, Sixth Edition, is the definitive programmer’s guide, tutorial, and reference for the world’s leading 3D API for real-time computer graphics, OpenGL 4.3. The best all-around introduction to OpenGL for developers at all levels of experience, it clearly explains both the newest API and indispensable related concepts. You’ll find up-to-date, hands-on guidance for all facets of modern OpenGL development on both desktop and mobile platforms, including transformations, texture mapping, shaders, buffers, geometry management, and much more.


Extensively revised, this edition presents many new OpenGL 4.3 features, including compute shaders, texture views, indirect draws, and enhanced API debugging. It has been reorganized to focus more tightly on the API, to cover the entire pipeline earlier, and to help you thoroughly understand the interactions between OpenGL and graphics hardware.


Coverage includes

  • A practical introduction to the essentials of realtime 3D graphics
  • Core OpenGL 4.3 techniques for rendering, transformations, and texturing
  • Foundational math for creating interesting 3D graphics with OpenGL
  • Writing your own shaders, with examples to get you started
  • Cross-platform OpenGL, including essential platform-specific API initialization material for Linux, OS X, and Windows
  • Vertex processing, drawing commands, primitive processing, fragments, and framebuffers
  • Using compute shaders to harness today’s graphics cards for more than graphics
  • Monitoring and controlling the OpenGL graphics pipeline
  • Advanced rendering: light simulation, artistic and non-photo-realistic rendering, and deferred shading
  • Modern OpenGL debugging and performance optimization

Bonus material and sample code are available from the companion Web site,

Frequently Bought Together

OpenGL Superbible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference + OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Versions 4.3 + OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook, Second Edition: 2
Price For All Three: 88.95

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Product details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 6 edition (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321902947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321902948
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 17.8 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Graham Sellers is a senior manager and software architect on the OpenGL driver team at AMD. He represents AMD at the ARB and has contributed to many extensions and to the core OpenGL Specification. He holds several patents in the fields of computer graphics and image processing.


Richard S. Wright, Jr., senior software engineer for Software Bisque, develops multimedia astronomy and planetarium software using OpenGL. He has written many OpenGL-based games, scientific/medical applications, database visualization tools, and educational programs. He has taught OpenGL programming at Full Sail University’s game design degree program for over a decade.


Nicholas Haemel, senior manager of Tegra OpenGL driver development at NVIDIA, leads a development team working on NVIDIA mobile graphics drivers, represents NVIDIA at the Khronos Group standards body, has authored many OpenGL extensions, and contributed to all OpenGL specifications since version 3.0.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Does the job 18 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
But the writing style is a bit laboured. And while it claims to cut straight to the meat of the subject, this seems to take a surprisingly long time. Good for reference but I suspect there are quicker introductory texts out there.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OpenGL 4.3 in an 800 page book 20 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
FYI. I'm a Linux user. There was an important "How to build" file missing in the code samples. I wrote to the publishers about this a week or so ago. No reply yet.

As a book, it's got a lot of meat in it. That is the best part. As for being able run the examples, somewhat disappointing. The code was tied into a Framework, in which no-one has interest. The subject of "Tessellation Parameters" was poorly explained - and overly complicated - for something which was (discovered researching on-line) fairly easy to understand. In the paperback version (which I got) the colour pictures are in gray scale (excluding a few glossy pages in the middle of the book).

This book covers a lot of stuff, and hats off to the authors. Expect 4/5ths of your expectations and you will be content with this tome.

Hope that helps.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book for Learning OpenGL, But ... 20 Jun 2014
By W. H. Niehoff - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, let me say that the reorganization of text and code embodied in the Sixth Edition of the OpenGL Superbible was a good move. Oh, I have a few gripes and grumbles relating to the reorganization (e.g., it seems like Chapter 5 will never end. It could be split, deferring pieces to later and appropriate contexts.) The reorganization of the sample code is a good step forward. There is less dependence on mysterious libraries. And, the essential support code has been reorganized into a more attractive “framework.”
Be prepared for a lot of emphasis on shader programming. Face up to it: It’s the nature of the modern beast. If you’re not ready for that, one suggestion is to start with an earlier edition – one that focuses on earlier versions of OpenGL, and then grow to love it.
Having gone through many (aborigines are said to have a ternary number system: 1, 2, many) editions of the Superbible, I find it necessary to keep a copy of a corresponding Redbook (OpenGL Programming Guide) edition handy. In that sense, I find the Superbible to be an essential learning aid. But …

It was indeed unfortunate to find that the current authors and publisher continued to follow the habits of previous authors and publishers of walking away from what I view as their responsibility to their readership:

1. Others have complained about the quality of the black and white illustrations. They were correct: the printing of screenshots is terrible. The majority of the current authors are experienced authors. (a) They should have avoided the problem. (b) The editor should have caught the problem before going to press. (c) The printer should have called attention to the problem before committing to a run.

2. There is no consistent way of tying a screenshot or a code listing to a project name in the source code provided as a download on the book’s web site. I made it a point to deduce, by one means or another, the project name from the text or code if the project name was not explicitly mentioned (which was the usual case). The authors could have provided an index in the download’s README file.

3. In the Preface, an author states, “We made a bunch of mistakes – we’re certain of it. … If you think you see something that doesn’t quite gel, check the book’s Web site for errata.” I’m writing this review in June 2014, almost a year after publication of the book. There are no errata on the web site. Moreover, there is no mechanism for submitting errata.

4. The code I downloaded (dated November 2013) built on Visual Studio 2010 successfully. All but a few projects executed without error. I found the distribution for VS 2010 available on GitHub to be useless: Apparently the last person to build it built it with VS 2013. I considered submitting an issue, but got discouraged when I saw that the last commits were made seven or eight months ago.

5. The book’s Appendix C describes two tools, ktxtool and dds2ktx, which it says is available in the source code. Not so.

6. I searched for but could not find an OpenGL Superbible forum. The best I could find was the general OpenGL forum. The last blog entry on the book’s web site is dated February 2014. Apparently the authors have better things to do.

In scoring a rating for this edition of the OpenGL Superbible, I started with five stars. After all, I consider it and the Redbook to be essential components to learning OpenGL. Then, because of the lousy illustrations and the authors’ neglect, I backed off two stars. A one-star deduction would not have been enough.

It occurs to me that all of the problems enumerated above could be resolved on the book’s web site. I would be glad to improve my rating if the authors (or even someone else) would step up to addressing them.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The code examples are available and actually work. 10 Aug 2013
By Dan - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just bought this after trying out the code examples on the website Everything built in Visual Studio 2010 and ran without issues. This seems like the first book on modern OpenGL that actually works.

The first three chapters are very good with showing examples and making something happen. Very tutorial based for complete noobs. Chapters 4 through 6 deal with a lot of concepts and background things, but were mostly necessary to cover. I personally believe that Chapter 5 should have come later in the book because it deals with atomic operations and memory barriers. The equivalent chapter in the Programming Guide 8th edition covered this in Chapter 11.

I haven't read chapter 7 yet, but it looks like things are about to get interesting. Will further this review once more content is read.

Having the example code is a great help.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is it!!! 6 Aug 2013
By A C++/C# programer - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After searching years for a good OpenGL core profile tutorial book, I believe this is it. Before the authors release the source code, it was just a good reference for someone already familiar with the core profile, and it was kind of similar to the other excellent OpengGL Cookbooks from Packt Publishing. The cookbooks present great source codes for experimentation but lack some detail for full comprehension.
Now the source code is available and seems to be well organized and good quality as opposed to OpenGL Redbook 8ed. This is the best core profile tutorial book on the market. The codes compiled out of the box. Note that you'll need a good graphic card with OpenGL 4.2 support (which can be changed to other version in sb6.h.) If the code compile successfully but display a window and then exist, you might not have the correct graphic driver support.
Hopefully, some day the RedBook source code will catch up to this one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well organized, thorough, and readable 30 Oct 2013
By Najati Imam - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has been a critical part of me getting started with OpenGL. I had a general understanding of 3D graphics and limited experience with Direct3D, but it had been a while and I found OpenGL to be fairly intimidating, especially since immediate mode was deprecated. OpenGL SuperBible has gotten me past the intimidation and initial hurdles in pretty short order. There's a lot to OpenGL, but the book presents it plainly and clearly. The tone is clear above all else. It's light and personal, but not super familiar or cheeky - it strikes a good balance.

The clear introduction to the pipeline and the lucid and well-explained code examples have gotten me going far faster than I would have expected. After reading Part I of the book I'm familiar enough with the basics that I'm already working on my project in earnest and reading the rest of the book either as reference and as I have time. The writing continues to be clear and the figures are really clear on the Kindle, both on phone and tablet. The code samples can be a little difficult on a narrow screen, but that's just the nature of reading code on a phone.

I think anyone entering the OpenGL world should be warned that it (OpenGL) is a bit of a mess, especially if you're trying to target multiple platforms and be reasonably backwards compatible. This book is about a particular version of OpenGL and, as it's not intended as a history lesson, doesn't do a tremendous amount to be clear about the differences between versions. It'll take some independent work on the reader's part to come to understand which version of GL suites their purposes best and then a bit more work to understand what parts of the book don't apply to that version. Having said that, I am targeting OpenGL 3.2/GLSL 1.50 and have had no trouble applying my new understanding and only a couple hiccups using the bits of the code I've copied.

On that note, I tend to write my samples from scratch when learning a technology so I end up copy-pasting pieces of the samples and not just using them whole hog. Given this style, the code download works well. I haven't tried to build the samples.

Overall, complaints about difficultly with the code samples on certain platforms and difficulties with color figures in a black and white book (which is acknowledged by the author) seem pretty insignificant when compared with the clarity of the writing, the organization of the content, and the availability of a code download. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for studying 7 Oct 2013
By Igor - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Overall this book is a great for studying OpenGL. Can serve as a reference book too.
I agree with the fact that pictures in the book sometimes are entirely black)).
But I don't care about it - it is not an art book.

My only concern is not about content of book but about it's format.
Why this book is not available in a hard cover?
It's 800+ pages - sooner or later paperback will unbound and y'll have pack of separate pages.
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