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Take your OpenGL skills to the next level
on April 14, 2006
Since its first release in 1992, OpenGL has been rapidly adopted as the graphics API of choice for real-time interactive 3D graphics applications. The OpenGL state machine is easy to understand, but its simplicity and orthogonality enable a multitude of interesting effects that require more room than can be accommodated in the OpenGL "Red Book". The objective of this book is to demonstrate how to generate more satisfying images using OpenGL in general, and how to achieve some sophisticated results in particular. There are three general areas of discussion: basic OpenGL concepts, basic techniques, and advanced techniques.
The first part of the book goes over some of the more basic OpenGL material - 3D transformations, color, shading, and lighting. Although the second part of the book - basic techniques - may look old hat at first, it does cover some interesting subjects such as deferred shading and image processing techniques that you don't normally think of as wedded to computer graphics. The best part of the book, to me, is part 3 on advanced techniques. In particular the chapters on scene realism, natural detail, illustration and artistic techniques, and scientific visualization have very unique material on them that reveal algorithmic details along with enlightening illustrations and pseudocode. The reader of this book should already be familiar with performing computer graphics using OpenGL and also be somewhat mathematically sophisticated considering that mathematics is heavily used in this book. All of the code for the methods and effects used at this book are in a zipfile at the book's website. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has gone through the "OpenGL Programming Guide" and wants to take their computer graphics skills to the next level.
One of the authors of this book does have an extensive tutorial freely available on the web that is an older subset of this book, so you might want to check it out and see if you like his writing style before you purchase. Type "Advanced Graphics Programming Techniques Using OpenGL" into Google and the first address listed should be the author's tutorial. It is no longer on OpenGL.org as far as I can tell.