OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 4.3 Paperback – 20 Mar 2013
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“Wow! This book is basically one-stop shopping for OpenGL information. It is the kind of book that I will be reaching for a lot. Thanks to Dave, Graham, John, and Bill for an amazing effort.”
—Mike Bailey, professor, Oregon State University
“The most recent Red Book parallels the grand tradition of OpenGL; continuous evolution towards ever-greater power and efficiency. The eighth edition contains up-to-the minute information about the latest standard and new features, along with a solid grounding in modern OpenGL techniques that will work anywhere. The Red Book continues to be an essential reference for all new employees at my simulation company. What else can be said about this essential guide? I laughed, I cried, it was much better than Cats—I’ll read it again and again.”
—Bob Kuehne, president, Blue Newt Software
“OpenGL has undergone enormous changes since its inception twenty years ago. This new edition is your practical guide to using the OpenGL of today. Modern OpenGL is centered on the use of shaders, and this edition of the Programming Guide jumps right in, with shaders covered in depth in Chapter 2. It continues in later chapters with even more specifics on everything from texturing to compute shaders. No matter how well you know it or how long you’ve been doing it, if you are going to write an OpenGL program, you want to have a copy of the OpenGL® Programming Guide handy.”
—Marc Olano, associate professor, UMBC
“If you are looking for the definitive guide to programming with the very latest version of OpenGL, look no further. The authors of this book have been deeply involved in the creation of OpenGL 4.3, and everything you need to know about the cutting edge of this industry-leading API is laid out here in a clear, logical, and insightful manner.”
—Neil Trevett, president, Khronos Group
About the Author
Dave Shreiner, Director of Graphics and GPU Computing at ARM, Inc., has been active in OpenGL development nearly since its inception. He created the first commercial OpenGL training course and has taught OpenGL programming for twenty years.
Graham Sellers, coauthor of OpenGL® SuperBible, manages OpenGL Software Development at AMD. He authored many OpenGL feature specifications and helped bring OpenGL ES to desktop computers.
John Kessenich, OpenGL Shading Language Specification Editor, consults at LunarG, Inc., building compiler technology for GLSL. He helped develop OpenGL 2.0 and OpenGL ES 2.0 at 3Dlabs and Intel.
Bill Licea-Kane is Principal Member of Technical Staff at AMD, coauthor of OpenGL® Shading Language Guide, and chairs the OpenGL Shading Language technical subgroup.
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This book goes into great detail about pointless and redundant functions, like explaining how to allocate, de-allocate, bind, and query for the existence of every type of OpenGL resource (which typically gets a full page per resource, but is always the same except for the function name) - yet it fails to explain what it actually is you are allocating, or what you might use it for, or what a good strategy for its use is.
As an example: what is a VAO? Sure, having read the book, I know how to allocate one now - now tell me: why would I? What does it do, and how do I best use it?
Function arguments are also barely explained. A vital table, explaining what the arguments to glReadBuffer() actually do, and that was present in the predecessor book, is now missing. I understand a book must have a limited length, but a book that positions itself as "the official guide to learning" should surely prioritize the basics of the API over much more esoteric subjects like the procedural texturing chapter?
There's also the use of home-grown software to skip over certain important details - the book uses several pages to describe how to use a function that isn't even in OpenGL, but part of the authors' personal library. Meanwhile, any explanation of the OpenGL API being called inside that function is missing completely - and a listing for the function is also missing.
All in all, this is a pretty useless and confusing book. If you are buying this in the hopes of understanding OpenGL, you will have a long struggle ahead of you including many trips to the internet to try and figure out what all those weird functions really do.
My second criticism is that it relies heavily on 3rd party library such as GLUT, which isn't always what you want.
Lastly, the kindle book has a few formatting issues. A few of the links sent me to blank pages or to an incorrect page.
I have a fairly strong background in C/C++ but have not really done any computer graphics work and I am currently trying to learn Java, OpenGL and JOGL all at once for a large cross-platform project. I bought this book really expecting to have my work cut out for me in applying the techniques and code samples in Java; I couldn't have been more wrong. In the first day, I have pushed through three and a bit chapters of this book and have all the source code samples so far working in Java without GLUT (albeit with a bit of Googling for JOGL info). Side note: for those that don't want to use GLUT, it is easy enough to remove. The book only uses that for OS-specific stuff like windows and event handling to make the code samples smaller and more portable. All the OpenGL info is still there.
The topics are presented in a logical order and explained well, and from skimming through the rest of the book it looks like pretty much everything I need is in this one book. I already feel like I am on my way to becoming a decent graphics programmer, because the book is helping me to actually *understand* what I'm doing and what is going on behind the scenes rather than just throwing code at me.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an in-depth yet easy to read reference and tutorial on modern graphics programming. The only reason I'm giving four stars rather than five is that as of this writing the full source code is apparently still not available :(
This review, then, is of a book without the accompanying source code. While it is common for computing books to have source code online, I have never encountered one in 20 years that relied on it so heavily and was so useless without it and I feel these factors disqualify it as a true 'reference' book.
While I do not underestimate the size of the task that Dave Shreiner et al. have undertaken in overhauling all the deprecated features in the last edition, I feel that the book has lost most of its appeal. In short, I was able to learn OpenGL from the original redbook but a novice would not have a clue where to begin with this last outing.