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OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Versions 3.0 and 3.1 (7th Edition) 7th Edition

13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321552624
ISBN-10: 0321552628
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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.


TheOpenGL®Programming Guide, Seventh Edition,provides definitive and comprehensive information on OpenGL and the OpenGL Utility Library. The previous edition covered OpenGL through Version 2.1. This seventh edition of the best-selling “red book describes the latest features of OpenGL Versions 3.0 and 3.1. 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 seventh edition has been updated to include the newest features of OpenGL Versions 3.0 and 3.1, including


  • Using framebuffer objects for off-screen rendering and texture updates
  • Examples of the various new buffer object types, including uniform-buffer objects, transform feedback buffers, and vertex array objects
  • Using texture arrays to increase performance when using numerous textures
  • Efficient rendering using primitive restart and conditional rendering
  • Discussion of OpenGL's deprecation mechanism and how to verify your programs for future versions of OpenGL


This edition continues the discussion of the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) and explains the mechanics of using this language to create complex graphics effects and boost the computational power of OpenGL. The OpenGL Technical Library provides tutorial and reference books for OpenGL. The Library enables programmers to gain a practical understanding of OpenGL and shows them how to unlock its full potential. Originally developed by SGI, the Library continues to evolve under the auspices of the Khronos OpenGL ARB Working Group, an industry consortium responsible for guiding the evolution of OpenGL and related technologies.


About the Author

Dave Shreiner, director of graphics technology at ARM, Inc., 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. Dave regularly presents at SIGGRAPH and other conferences worldwide. He is coauthor of the OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide (Addison-Wesley, 2009) and the OpenGL ® Reference Manual (Addison-Wesley, 2004), and is series editor for Addison-Wesley’s OpenGL Series.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 936 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 7 edition (July 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321552628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321552624
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Dave Shreiner started his graphics career hacking on a Commodore 64 back in 1981 (a mere 15 years after his birth [yes, late by today's standards], but computers weren't prevalent in Etters, Pennsylvania at that time). Things started to get interesting at the University of Delaware in 1988, where he got to work on his (well, his employer's) first Silicon Graphics Computer Systems ("SGI" to those how know and loved them) machine (a 4D/220GTX running at 25MHz). Combining his love of science, mathematics, and video games, his first graphics programs were for visualizing molecules.

After a somewhat tumultuous college career, Dave went on to do more work on SGI machines doing flight simulation and user-interface design. As that work dried up, he joined SGI in 1991 helping graphics programmers work with Iris GL (OpenGL's predecessor). His career continued as he began teaching classes on Iris GL, user-interface design, and parallel and real-time programming, all the while being mentored by Mason Woo. Around the same time, he was introduced to the fledgling OpenGL API being developed, and asked to author an introductory course on the subject.

Around the same time, he met Vicki - his future wife - eventually mentoring her in OpenGL programming. Not long after, they wed, and formed a family mostly composed of felines.

In 1997, Dave joined forces with Mason in his first writing activity as they updated the "OpenGL Programming Guide" (the "Red Book") to its third edition. At the same time, Mason and co-presenter Ed Angel (author of "Interactive Computer Graphics: A top-down approach using OpenGL") added Dave into their SIGGRAPH (the annual computer graphics conference) course team, and so the mayhem began.

Over the next decade, Dave continued to work at SGI in various roles, including OpenGL driver development for many of their products. He also updated the "OpenGL Programming Guide" three more times, and was involved in presenting another 13 SIGGRAPH courses on OpenGL (and countless others at other conferences). Also during this time, Addison-Wesley - the publisher of the "OpenGL Programming Guide" and numerous other books related to OpenGL - made him series editor for their OpenGL library, allowing him to provide direction and input into their books relating to OpenGL.

In 2006, Dave's career steered to a new vector, as he went off to do work on GPU computing. At the same time, he also worked as chair of SIGGRAPH's courses program (as well as once again presenting a course).

While GPU computing was increasing in relevance, Dave felt that mobile computer graphics was on the cusp of becoming an even bigger thing, and joined ARM's (the embedded CPU company) graphics group to directly contribute to the fray. Soon after, he became involved with OpenGL ES, the embedded version of OpenGL. At the same time, he contributed to the "OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide", and began presenting courses on OpenGL's embedded version.

Most recently, Dave joined long-time collaborator and fellow author, Ed Angel, in updating his textbook - "Interactive Computer Graphics" - to a new shader-only format, and is currently working on revising the "OpenGL Programming Guide" to reflect the most recent changes in OpenGL.

Dave lives with Vicki and their cat Phantom, splitting their time between their home in Mountain View and Sonoma County in California's wine country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By The Gecko on August 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
Much like the other reviewer, I have to admit being underwhelmed. Back at the OpenGL BOF at Siggraph in 2008, it was announced that the authors were working on an updated "Red Book". I waited patiently for this new edition, fully expecting a book that concisely covered the new 3.0-3.1 openGL api programming philosophy. Having used the Red Books for 6 years now, I looked forward to a straightforward narrative that would be easier to read than the spec and a pile of extensions.

Now, to give credit where it's due, this book does talk about the new APIs, (hence the 3 stars). But it is unfortunately littered with page after page of material on deprecated API bits. I can't imagine why the authors would do this, apart from maybe the publisher pushing a page count?

[...edit - I went on and on...]

Anyway, guys, please, if you're reading this, in the next edition, trim the fat. If it's not 3.1-compliant, cut it out. There are plenty of 2.1 references out there if someone has to learn outdated code.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Trousers on December 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have been relying on the red books for years. I am fairly disappointed with this particular edition because most of the book, as others have pointed out, covers deprecated APIs. Personally I don't mind that, since we are likely to encounter legacy code, may also need to port it, and an understanding of the history can be useful. The trouble is not with the deprecated APIs, it's with the authors often not explaining what it has been superseded by. The chapter on selection and feedback is a perfect example of this. A chapter will go on for several dozen pages, but begin with a small note at the beginning of the chapter with words to the effect of "everything you are about to read is deprecated".
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Ganesh on July 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
Extremely disappointed with this book. I was eagerly looking forward to this book hoping that this would enable me to learn the new programming model of OpenGL ( programmable pipe-line )which is substantially different from the previous versions. The initial description of this book ( before it was actually released )had mentioned that this edition would have 70% new material ( text and code ) and would completely cover the new approach. Not sure as to what happened but this book is mostly a re-print of the 6th edition with a small table next to each API which indicates whether the API is deprecated or not ( Most of it are deprecated and I'm not sure why we need a book that explains all the deprecated API's and how to program with deprecated features). Will wait for OpenGL SuperBible 5th Edition now ( Hopefully there is something like that in the works ).
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By anon on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm honestly not sure that this books will very useful to many people at all.
If you are both new to OpenGL and will have to deal with old OpenGL code, then it might just be worth it, otherwise, forget it.

First, literally 85-90% of the pages in the book relate to functions that have been deprecated.
Second, it doesn't make it all that clear exactly what has or hasn't been deprecated so it's rather a mess to dig through to find the relevant bits.
Finally, it covers rather little beyond the very basics of GLSL, which is basically what OpenGL 3.0+ is all about.

Let me put it this way:

If you will have to deal with old code base but already know OpenGL pre-3.0 well then you already know how to deal with old OpenGL code base and since the new stuff is so buried and so sparse what does this get you?

If you are new to OpenGL and won't have to deal with an old code base why bother with all the deprecated junk? You do not want to be starting off new code doing it the old ways. In this case:

If you need to know the basics of the 3D graphics, don't try to learn it from this book, get a solid, general purpose 3D graphics book for that (or at least something like "Advanced Graphics Programming using OpenGL" which also uses largely deprecated functions but it's written in a better style for this purpose).

For a basic introduction on how to use OpenGL (to get yourself up to speed on the basic outline of the API), get something like "Beginning OpenGL Game Programming 2nd ed" just get you started. It'll quickly show you the basic ropes of OpenGL and what you need to do to get the system initialized, viewports set, shaders initialized, rendering attached to Windows windows and some basic info on vertex buffers and such.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ronstern314 on August 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
If you're new to OpenGL (and computer graphics in general) this book will confuse you to the point of tears. Apparently OpenGL changed quite a bit from the 2.x versions to the 3.x versions. This book explains the 2.x paradigms, then mentions that most of the stuff you just read doesn't apply in version 3.x.

It's hard to figure out what's what. For example, Chapter 8 (Drawing Pixels, Bitmaps, Fonts, and Images) sounds very important but the first page of that chapter notes, "Much of the functionality discussed in this chapter was deprecated in OpenGL Version 3.0, and was removed from Version 3.1. It was replaced with more capable functionality using framebuffer objects, which are described in Chapter 10."

Great, so we can tear out the 68 pages of Chapter 8 to use as kindling (no pun intended) and move on to Chapter 10. But (and it's a big "but") Chapter 10 notes, "In OpenGL Version 3.1, some of the techniques and functions described in this chapter were removed through deprecation. The concepts are still relevant, but are available using more modern features." By now anyone new to OpenGL and who wants to learn about its latest version would be disgusted with this confusion.

OpenGL is now in version 4.x, and a new version of this book is slated for release before the end of 2011. Hopefully the authors will have found a way to present the most current material clearly, with references, perhaps, to earlier versions for those who need that information.
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