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OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 4.3 (8th Edition) 8th Edition

44 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321773036
ISBN-10: 0321773039
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  • OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL, Version 4.3 (8th Edition)
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Editorial Reviews


“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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Product Details

  • Series: OpenGL
  • Paperback: 984 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 8 edition (March 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321773039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321773036
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 2.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Stephen P Spackman on January 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book shows startling disrespect for the reader. Nobody seems to have proofread it before sending it for printing; most pages contain typos or bizarre malapropisms, the maths is often wrong, and much of the code is either obviously broken or somehow at odds with the exposition. Important insights are, at random, missing; I can't, for example, find any explanation of what a vertex array object is or why you need one (and that's the first step of the first example in the first chapter). The index, while not short, is missing almost everything I looked for, and that's a big problem, too, since the order of presentation is an uncomfortable compromise between quick start and deep dive. But they know you're going to buy it, because it's *the* book.

That said, it does contain a lot of useful information, and it occupies the useful middle ground between reading tedious and generally opaque manual pages and reading tedious and largely irrelevant tutorials. And, yes, it does integrate the material about shaders, knowledge of which is no longer optional.

But wow, for an official publication detailing an essential technology, I certainly wish it were less frustrating.
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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Dan on June 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
After the first two chapters and a half, I was about ready to return this refined hunk of tree to Amazon. The website ( has a ZIP archive containing most of the code for this book. Unfortunately, almost all the code projects which were made in Visual Studio 9 & 10 fail to build right out of box. Even after some surgery they really just failed. I managed to get the first example in the book to build. This was not included in the ZIP archive (chapters 1 & 2 are not in the archive), so it was really a compilation of the code listings in the book and some random pre-built stuff by the authors.

This book is really more of a reference manual than a learning guide because without having a way to actually do something, all this book provides is a bunch of API listing. It may come in handy once I learn modern OpenGL from some other source. For now, it will sit on a shelf collecting dust for a few months. It seems like the only practical alternatives are online tutorials ([...] or the SuperBible. I bought this book thinking it would show how to use raw OpenGL because apparently the SuperBible uses an extensive pre-built library from the authors. While this book does describe raw OpenGL, it does so in a brute force method and does not show you how to do things. It really just describes a bunch of features and moves on. This would be okay as long as the examples worked/existed because then you could try things out.

If the authors can get fully functional examples uploaded to their site, this book may be a learning guide. Until then, this book will remain unpublished from my point of view. Seriously, can't even have working source code two months (as of late September 2013, 6 months now) after release?
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Enota Z Napako on September 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Errors are in math and code too, not just the grammatical types that were already mentioned by others.

I am just getting started with this version and noticed: wrong matrix orders for shaders (4 times on p233, 234) ; wrong matrix contents - X-rotation with 5 rows, Y-rotation inconsistent (compare p. 226 to p. 833), orthographic projection still includes z-flip (3rd column) even though the book is left-handed now (but it won't work for a right-handed camera either because they "fixed" the 4th column).

I see no errata list or contact address on the web site.
Contacting them doesn't help anyway: I sent a code correction years ago and they just retained incorrect code until the example was removed several editions later. It seems they are not interested in checking or testing anything.

It does earn 2 stars for providing a (crude) reference on a recent OpenGL version, without deprecated calls.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By 1337133 on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
I read this book on safari books online as a rough cut, though it was complete. It's a great book on openGL.

The last generation of modern openGL books such as the 7th edition of this series covered way to much depreciated materials. This book does not. It is fully updated and covers only modern openGL 4.3.

Since the 4.0 series and 3.3 are very much a like ( they were released at the same time 3.3 is similar to 4.0 but works on dx10 cards ) you can use this book for 3.3 and only have to change a few lines. This is good since you shouldn't only target the latest version of openGL if you want a large customer base.

Also the last edition of the openGL superbible ( 5th ed ) had the problem of covering the author's wrapper instead of covering the openGL api itself. This book DOES NOT have that problem. It covers the api itself.

Because all the modern openGL books have the issues discussed above, and this book does not have those issues, this is THE modern openGL book to get at the time of this review, it's about time we get a good book for modern openGL!

UPDATE 1: I have a paper back copy in my hands right now. I have read a hundred plus pages and flipped though a lot more of it. This book is very well organized. First the appendix itself is a book, at nearly 300 pages. It has chapter on freeGLUT, openGL es and webGL, it's an entire chapter worth on webGL, as well as references for glsl variables and functions, and openGL state variables. These are easily searchable cause they are organized. There is an appendix for the low level window systems of Linux (GLX), windows (wgl), and mac. And more, here is a listing of all the appendices.
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