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OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide Paperback – August 3, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0321502797 ISBN-10: 0321502795 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (August 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321502795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321502797
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Aaftab Munshi is the spec editor for the OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 specifications. Now at Apple, he was formerly senior architect in ATI’s handheld group.

Dan Ginsburg is senior member of technical staff at AMD. At AMD and ATI, he has worked in a variety of roles, including the development of OpenGL drivers, the creation of desktop and handheld 3D demos, and the development of handheld GPU developer tools.

Dave Shreiner is one of the world’s foremost authorities on OpenGL. He is a systems architect at ARM, Inc., and the lead author of the official OpenGL® Programming Guide, Sixth Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2007) and series editor for the Addison-Wesley OpenGL Series.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

OpenGL ES 2.0 is a software interface for rendering sophisticated 3D graphics on handheld and embedded devices. OpenGL ES 2.0 is the primary graphics library for handheld and embedded devices with programmable 3D hardware including cell phones, PDAs, consoles, appliances, vehicles, and avionics. With OpenGL ES 2.0, the full programmability of shaders has made its way onto small and portable devices. This book details the entire OpenGL ES 2.0 API and pipeline with detailed examples in order to provide a guide for developing a wide range of high-performance 3D applications for handheld devices.

Intended Audience

This book is intended for programmers interested in learning OpenGL ES 2.0. We expect the reader to have a solid grounding in computer graphics. We will explain many of the relevant graphics concepts as they relate to various parts of OpenGL ES 2.0, but we do expect the reader to understand basic 3D concepts. The code examples in the book are all written in C. We assume that the reader is familiar with C or C++ and will only be covering language topics where they are relevant to OpenGL ES 2.0.

This book covers the entire OpenGL ES 2.0 API along with all Khronosratified extensions. The reader will learn about setting up and programming every aspect of the graphics pipeline. The book details how to write vertex and fragment shaders and how to implement advanced rendering techniquessuch as per-pixel lighting and particle systems. In addition, the book provides performance tips and tricks for efficient use of the API and hardware. After finishing the book, the reader will be ready to write OpenGL ES 2.0 applications that fully harness the programmable power of embedded graphics hardware.

Organization of the Book

This book is organized to cover the API in a sequential fashion, building up your knowledge of OpenGL ES 2.0 as we go.

Chapter 1--Introduction to OpenGL ES 2.0

This chapter gives an introduction to OpenGL ES, followed by an overview of the OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics pipeline. We discuss the philosophies and constraints that went into the design of OpenGL ES 2.0. Finally, the chapter covers some general conventions and types used in OpenGL ES 2.0.

Chapter 2--Hello Triangle: An OpenGL ES 2.0 Example

This chapter walks through a simple OpenGL ES 2.0 example program that draws a triangle. Our purpose here is to show what an OpenGL ES 2.0 program looks like, introduce the reader to some API concepts, and describe how to build and run an example OpenGL ES 2.0 program.

Chapter 3--An Introduction to EGL

This chapter presents EGL, the API for creating surfaces and rendering contexts for OpenGL ES 2.0. We describe how to communicate with the native windowing system, choose a configuration, and create EGL rendering contexts and surfaces. We teach you enough EGL so that you can do everything you will need to do to get up and rendering with OpenGL ES 2.0.

Chapter 4--Shaders and Programs

Shader objects and program objects form the most fundamental objects in OpenGL ES 2.0. In this chapter, we describe how to create a shader object, compile a shader, and check for compile errors. The chapter also covers how to create a program object, attach shader objects to it, and link a final program object. We discuss how to query the program object for information and how to load uniforms. In addition, you will learn about the difference between source and binary shaders and how to use each.

Chapter 5--OpenGL ES Shading Language

This chapter covers the shading language basics needed for writing shaders. The shading language basics described are variables and types, constructors, structures, arrays, attributes, uniforms, and varyings. This chapter also describes some more nuanced parts of the language such as precision qualifiers and invariance.

Chapter 6--Vertex Attributes, Vertex Arrays,and Buffer Objects

Starting with Chapter 6 (and ending with Chapter 11), we begin our walk through the pipeline to teach you how to set up and program each part of the graphics pipeline. This journey begins by covering how geometry is input into the graphics pipeline by discussing vertex attributes, vertex arrays, and buffer objects.

Chapter 7--Primitive Assembly and Rasterization

After discussing how geometry is input into the pipeline in the previous chapter, we then cover how that geometry is assembled into primitives. All of the primitive types available in OpenGL ES 2.0, including point sprites, lines, triangles, triangle strips, and triangle fans, are covered. In addition, we describe how coordinate transformations are performed on vertices and introduce the rasterization stage of the OpenGL ES 2.0 pipeline.

Chapter 8--Vertex Shaders

The next portion of the pipeline that is covered is the vertex shader. This chapter gives an overview of how vertex shaders fit into the pipeline and the special variables available to vertex shaders in the OpenGL ES Shading Language. Several examples of vertex shaders, including computation of per-vertex lighting and skinning, are covered. We also give examples of how the OpenGL ES 1.0 (and 1.1) fixed-function pipeline can be implemented using vertex shaders.

Chapter 9--Texturing

This chapter begins the introduction to the fragment shader by describing all of the texturing functionality available in OpenGL ES 2.0. This chapter covers all the details of how to create textures, how to load them with data, and how to render with them. The chapter details texture wrap modes, texture filtering, and mipmapping. In addition, you will learn about the various functions for compressed texture images as well as how to copy texture data from the color buffer. This chapter also covers the optional texture extensions that add support for 3D textures and depth textures.

Chapter 10--Fragment Shaders

Chapter 9 focused on how to use textures in a fragment shader. This chapter covers the rest of what you need to know to write fragment shaders. We give an overview of fragment shaders and all of the special built-in variables available to them. We show how to implement all of the fixed-functiontechniques that were available in OpenGL ES 1.1 using fragment shaders. Examples of multitexturing,

fog, alpha test, and user clip planes are all implemented in fragment shaders.

Chapter 11--Fragment Operations

This chapter discusses the operations that can be applied either to the entire framebuffer, or to individual fragments after the execution of the fragment shader in the OpenGL ES 2.0 fragment pipeline. These operations include scissor test, stencil test, depth test, multi-sampling, blending, and dithering. This is the final phase in the OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics pipeline.

Chapter 12--Framebuffer Objects

This chapter discusses the use of framebuffer objects for rendering to offscreen surfaces. There are several uses of framebuffer objects, the most common of which is for rendering to a texture. This chapter provides a complete overview of the framebuffer object portion of the API. Understanding framebuffer objects is critical for implementing many advanced effects such as reflections, shadow maps, and post-processing.

Chapter 13--Advanced Programming with OpenGL ES 2.0

This is the capstone chapter, tying together many of the topics presented throughout the book. We have selected a sampling of advanced rendering techniques and show examples that demonstrate how to implement these features. This chapter includes rendering techniques such as per-pixel lighting using normal maps, environment mapping, particle systems, image post-processing, and projective texturing. This chapter attempts to show the reader how to tackle a variety of advanced rendering techniques.

Chapter 14--State Queries

There are a large number of state queries available in OpenGL ES 2.0. For just about everything you set, there is a corresponding way to get what the current value is. This chapter is provided as a reference for the various state queries available in OpenGL ES 2.0.

Chapter 15--OpenGL ES and EGL on Handheld Platforms

In the final chapter, we divert ourselves a bit from the details of the API to talk about programming with OpenGL ES 2.0 and EGL in the real world. There are a diverse set of handheld platforms in the market that pose some interesting issues and challenges when developing applications for OpenGL ES 2.0. We cover topics including an overview of handheld platforms, C++ portability issues, OpenKODE, and platform-specific shader binaries.


This appendix details the half-float format and provides a reference for how to convert from IEEE floating-point values into half-float (and back).

Appendix B--Built-In Functions

This appendix provides a reference for all of the built-in functions available in the OpenGL ES Shading Language.

Appendix C--Shading Language Grammar

This appendix provides a reference for OpenGL ES Shading Language grammar.

Appendix D--ES Framework API

This appendix provides a reference for the utility framework we developed for the book and describes what each function does.

Examples Code and Shaders

This book is filled with example programs and shaders. You can download the examples from the book Web site at The examples are all targeted to run on Microsoft Windows XP or Vista with a desktop GPU supporting OpenGL 2.0. The example programs are provided in source code form with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 project solutions. The examples build and run on the AMD OpenGL ES 2.0 Emulator. Several of the advanced shader examples in the book are implemented in RenderMonkey, a shader development tool from AMD. The book Web site provides links on where to download any of the required tools. The OpenGL ES 2.0 Emulator and RenderMonkey are both freely available tools. For readers who do not own Visual Studio, you can use the free Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition a...

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Customer Reviews

I read this book after reading OpenGL SuperBible.
Andre C. Bandarra
The book takes a pedantic rather than applied approach to the material, explaining most concepts before they are demonstrated.
David B. Adcock
The code samples are littered with typos, and their code logic doesn't work often.
Andrew William Cook

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Zenja Solaja on February 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the first modern OpenGL book which stays away from the fixed function pipeline. With OpenGL ES 2.0, the Khronos group removed all legacy / deprecated functionality from regular OpenGL. These modifications proved to be so well thought out, that the core OpenGL profile has adopted the very same modifications, and today (excluding geometry shaders), core OpenGL 4.1 matches OpenGL ES 2.0. However, there are no decent books out there which explain how and more importantly why things work they way they do. This book is a true exception, it explains all the nitty gritty details, and explains them quite well.

This book is not recommended for people new to 3D graphics programming. It is not a tutorial. However, I have yet to find a book which actually explains the hardware restrictions (eg. number of attributes you can pass into a shader), and why the API was created to match the hardware. This book actually explains how modern hardware works, and how to use GLSL programs to utilise the new functionality. If you're moving away from the fixed function OpenGL pipeline towards the core profile (and OpenGL ES 2.0), then there is no other book you need to explain how and why to get things done using the new API.

At this point in time, there is only one other OpenGL book which covers modern OpenGL (SuperBible 5th edition), but those authors focus too much on their own replacement toolkit and not OpenGL itself. What a disaster for a book claiming to teach how OpenGL works.

My recommendation: if you're moving away from the fixed function pipeline, then this book will teach you how to do it, and why things work they way they do. If you've never done 3D programming in the past, then this book will be completely over your head. It's one of the most valuable technical books I've purchased in the last decade.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a good introduction to OpenGL ES 2.0, but assumes the reader already has experience with desktop OpenGL or a with similar 3D graphics API. Don't buy this book if you don't already have such experience, or you will be completely lost.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 1, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm really enjoying reading this book. It uses precise language without being impenetrably dense. The book works up to illustrating an OpenGL ES 1.0-style fixed-function pipeline in OpenGL ES 2.0 shaders. Unfortunately, all of the code samples are set in a proportional font in the Kindle version. Every so often there are horizontal lines through the code samples. The code is still readable. The rest of the content is OK, although subtle when rendered as gray-on-gray.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By B. Williams on May 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very low level and rigorous ( ie tedious ) intro to ES 2.0. Be prepared to wade through chapters and chapters before getting much on the screen. In all fairness that has much to do with the nature of ES 2, but the author doesn't make this any easier. The book does provide a thorough and accurate explanation of of ES 2 and if you can get through it you should be set for starting the journey of actually getting something on the screen. It's a hard road and you had best already know quite a bit about 3D graphics in general and the fixed function pipeline in particular before getting this book.

Update I've started to read
iPhone 3D Programming: Developing Graphical Applications with OpenGL ES

It's a much better intro to OpenGL ES.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By shane voss on July 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is useful to learn about OpenGL ES. However it is not a great beginner book. I would recommend picking up a beginner OpenGL (non ES) book in addition to this. Once you have a foundation this book will be useful. Be careful though it is filled with errors even in the 3rd printing. Check the errata for updates, but the errata is not complete.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey L Barnes on June 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought the Kindle version of this book. It is a good reference that one should read if they are going to program for OpenGL ES 2.0. It accurately describes the API calls for basic ES 2.0 programming. The code supplied on Google Code is clear in its application of the API and I consider it to be the most educational part of the book. Be sure to type out the code to reinforce the order and content of the API calls.

The annotated code examples in the book explain the code somewhat and you can infer the authors' intent if you Google the terms they use and consult other references of the OpenGL programmable pipeline.

Make no mistake, this is a difficult read. It requires prior OpenGL knowledge. The section "Intended Audience" is somewhat revealing about prerequisite knowledge. If you have no OpenGL experience, you will have to re-read every chapter several times, look up unfamiliar terms and follow unrelated tutorials available on the internet for the material to make sense (at least that's what I had to do). The last sentence of the "Intended Audience" section states, "After finishing the book, the reader will be ready to write OpenGL ES 2.0 applications that fully harness the programmable power of embedded graphics hardware." I found that statement to be inaccurate, unless by finishing the book they mean re-reading it several times along with other books that explain what they are talking about better.

I wish the authors had provided working code to explain Chapter 12. They provide snippets in the book, but no working example. My main criticism of the book is the annotated code snippets in the book do not explain the concepts well. To be fair, their writing voice may speak to others better than it did to me.
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