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WebGL Programming Guide: Interactive 3D Graphics Programming with WebGL (OpenGL) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321902924
ISBN-10: 0321902920
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Kouichi Matsuda has a broad background in user interface and user experience design and its application to novel multimedia products. His work has taken him from product development, through research, and back to development, having spent time at NEC, Sony Corporate Research, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories. He is currently a chief distinguished researcher focused on user experience and human computer interaction across a range of consumer electronics. He was the designer of the social 3D virtual world called “PAW” (personal agent-oriented virtual world), was involved in the development of the VRML97 (ISO/IEC 14772-1:1997) standard from the start, and has remained active in both VRML and X3D communities (precursors to WebGL). He has written 15 books on computer technologies and translated a further 25 into Japanese. His expertise covers user experiences, user interface, human computer interaction, natural language understanding, entertainment-oriented network services, and interface agent systems. Always on the lookout for new and exciting possibilities in the technology space, he combines his professional life with a love of hot springs, sea in summer, wines, and MANGA (at which he dabbles in drawing and illustrations). He received his Ph.D. (Engineering) from the Graduate School of Engineering, University of Tokyo.

Dr. Rodger Lea is an adjunct professor with the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre at the University of British Columbia, with an interest in systems aspects of multimedia and distributed computing. With more than 20 years of experience leading research groups in both academic and industrial settings, he has worked on early versions of shared 3D worlds, helped define VRML97, developed multimedia operating systems, prototyped interactive digital TV, and led developments on multimedia home networking standards. He has published more than 60 research papers and three books, and he holds 12 patents. His current research explores the growing "Internet of Things," but he retains a passion for all things media and graphics.

 

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Product Details

  • Series: OpenGL
  • Paperback: 600 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (July 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321902920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321902924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.3 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chris E. Hanson on October 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
WebGL is a strange place, with bits of DNA from OpenGL ES, GLSL, JavaScript, HTML5 and slight odor of past explorations like VRML and X3D. The runtime environment is strange, a powerful low-level language (GLSL) that runs inside of a high-level sandbox (browser JavaScript). Adding to the learning curve is the fact that WebGL is based on OpenGL ES, a lean, mean API that forgoes all the training wheels of legacy OpenGL like predefined modelview and projection matrices and fixed function pipelines. The result is a landscape both beautiful, and frightening for a beginner.

In this far-off land, WebGL Programming Guide is going to be your map and survival manual. It starts by showing you the <canvas> bridge between the safe realms of HTML5 and JavaScript and the wilds of WebGL, with simple 2D drawing examples that mimic the HTML5 Canvas. From there it leaps into the jungle, teaching shaders, uniforms and textures, browser event handling, buffer objects, matrices, transforms and animation, views and lighting.

The number of disparate technologies to get under your belt to master WebGL is formidable (though they are C-style languages, JavaScript and GLSL couldn't be more dissimilar) and this book takes you firmly by the hand and leads you over the obstacles and away from the dead-ends to show you how to succeed with WebGL. The writing is good, neither too verbose or concise. The code is tight and elegant, relying on libraries and abstraction layers early on to not overwhelm you with a wall of code, and then peeling back the layers in more advanced chapters to show how everything works and let you take the reins manually if you choose.

At 516 pages, it's as big as it could reasonably be and not outgrow its purpose.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Coming from a Javascript / Actionscript background the world of raw webGL was really confusing at first. I read a lot of different tutorials online and could get things working, but I didn't really understand what all of the commands were doing. This book really broke it down for me and let me actually understand what was happening. I finished the book and found myself wanting more. I could say that I wish the book covered more, but I actually think it's great that it doesn't bite off more than it can chew. Since finishing this book I've been able to move onto much more complicated books that would have previously been unapproachable.

If you are already familiar with openGL and 3d graphics then this book will probably be mostly recap. If you're just looking to create pretty 3d then I'd grab a book that gets you up and running with ThreeJS which will do the heavy lifting for you. If you already understand javascript and want to get into raw webGL then I'd say this is a great place to start.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WebGL is here to stay, as its unique architecture (accessing the user's GPU (for its shader, for example) and running on the client side) makes it ideal for embedded chips and mobile, as well as browsers. Google Maps runs in WebGL, and both Autodesk's early support with Maya WebGL interfaces, and now their cloud servers which port all their applications to the cloud via WebGL portend well for learning this challenging language.

If you're already an OpenGL Jock (both programs are from the Khronos Group, with a Mozilla pedigree), it will help a lot. Whenever an API accesses the GPU it doesn't bode well for user friendly programming! Since its beta debut in 2009 a lot of "easier" spins have appeared, most especially Three dot js. Both are obviously JavaScript API's, and there are about 20 others vying to help with the GPU coding. Since the technology doesn't require plug ins and bytecode, but uses the user's power, it is ideal for any device with a decent GPU platform, and nearly all browsers now support it natively (although IE's prior to Windows 8.1 do require a plug in).

Although building and animating with WebGL's ide is a pain, the nice thing is that it supports Maya, Blender, etc. and you can seamlessly import your creations. With Flash no longer being supported, and HTML5/Canvas skyrocketing, WebGL is becoming a very hot "go to" platform for 3D. The "feel" is a lot like OpenGL (and in fact you need it to code in WebGL) and the commands sport a blend of imperative and functional. The forums say there is a lot of support for concurrent/parallel built in and coming, but I am skeptical at this writing.

For a new book, the code is pretty clean, with only minor punctuation rather than syntax errors.
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Format: Paperback
Back in 1998 when SGI released their VRML technology based on Open Inventor, SGI customers liked it so much, because they can display their 3D design in a web interface. VRML was good in that time, but you can not manipulate vertex and pixels like today's OpenGL and WebGL technology.

Some friends asks me which book is a good start point to learn WebGL, I told them that I am still looking for a good book. Now I can tell them that this is a good book for you to learn WebGL from beginning. This book tells us the technical details of WebGL, the method of transforming 3D geometry objects and adding special effects into your applications by manipulate pixels. It also shows us advanced technologies adding better visual effects into your 3D scene: Fog and Alpha Blending.

3D graphics is a skill that needs several years to decades to built up. It would be good if you have friends that has years of experience of 3D graphics. When reading this book, it would be helpful if have 3D modelling skills using Blender or Maya. A knowledge of nVidia and AMD, Imagination graphics hardware will also be helpful.
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