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OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook Paperback – July 26, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
First off, this book is perfect for people who already know their way around OpenGL, but may not be too deep into shaders yet, and/or have some legacy bits in their engines.
The book does walk you through setting up a shader based application, and explains what kinds of support libraries you're going to need (always managing to pick the "other" lib than the ones I've used - they like glew more than glee, for instance - but the libs they picked still work as advertised, so I'm not saying they're bad choises. Oddly, there's no mention of SDL or SFML though), but knowing how OpenGL generally works as well as how the math generally works is taken for granted.
On the positive side you won't have to browse through hundred pages of basic matrix and vector math, or compilation basics, which I feel is a good thing.
After the basics the book gets to the fun stuff, explaining lighting, texture use, screen space trickery (like bloom and deferred shading), geometry shaders and tesselation, practical shadows (i.e, shadow mapping and PCT filters, but doesn't waste pages on anything "more advanced"), noise and some particle tricks.
All in all I think it's a rather good resource for anyone who wants to upgrade their OpenGL knowledge to more "modern OpenGL", dropping all legacy stuff, but it doesn't mean you don't still have to get your hands on the orange book.
The book itself is relatively clear but the code accompanying the book has no comments and single character variables. It is pretty bad as a source of explanation and is simply bad code because it can't be maintained. The code needs to be updated with comments.
The use of Qt makes it tedious to build the example code.
All of the examples use the newer OpenGL APIs, and there is some basic background information on how to use them. I found this useful for people like me who have been using the fixed-function API for so long. The examples also use OpenGL Mathematics (GLM), an Open Source toolkit for working with OpenGL-style vectors and matrices. I had been unaware of this toolkit, and I'll most likely be switching to it for my next project. Wolff's style is short and to the point and keeps things moving along.
The meat of the book are the recipes, covering a wide range of shading topics, including emulating the OpenGL 2.0 fixed function pipeline, image processing, soft shadows, synthetic texture generation, and particle systems. There is a lot of information here and it is well written, though it assumes the reader is not a complete novice. Be warned, this is NOT a book for beginners.
I had a couple of minor issues with the book. Most of the examples use C++ and the STL but in a few cases Wolff falls back to using malloc/free for temporary buffers. All of the recipes are based on using geometry, and even in the image processing section it is assumed we'll be processing a 3D scene. It would be nice to have some examples focused entirely on doing 2D image processing of images directly.
Those points are very minor though and in all I thought the book was exactly what I needed to bring my skills up to the most recent OpenGL and GLSL standards.
He definitely cuts back on a lot of 'fluff' (as in you don't need an explanation of a function if you're reading this book).
I was disappointed however by a very poor preparation of the hands on part of this cookbook.
My UI background goes way back to win32 to most recent WPF (and number of embedded, plus web stuff). However, I have only seen Qt in passing, and seeing this in the readme file is disheartening:
"It includes a qmake project file, so building the examples should be
very straightforward as long as you have the Qt SDK installed.
It should also load into Qt Creator quite readily."
It is not straightforward.
The problems so far and counting:
The location for glew and glm are assumed to be on c:\OpenGL ... and are not consistent from chapter to chapter.
This is not mentioned anywhere. README is a good place for that.
GLM version 0.9.0.7 is used. Granted not the author's fault, but easily preventable by including GLM with your source files or at least make a note in the README.
Chapter 9 is missing a header file. Granted you can recreate it yourself from the existing .cpp, but this only speaks poorly on the author's attitude towards cookbook-ing
I have expected a higher level of readiness from a cookbook.
If you're looking for a reference on some algorithms this book is fine, but a better choice is "OpenGL Supper Bible 5th edition" which is self sustained and you can pass it along to a complete novice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book for people familiar with OpenGL but less familiar with the modern versions of OpenGL. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marilee
Excellent starting point for shaders and did get into some pretty advanced stuff. I would recommend this book for those who want to get a grasp on basic shading.Published 18 months ago by Hallucinagenii
The book offers an effective take on OpenGL 4.0 and got me started, but the book stands up poorly against the resources available for free online. Read morePublished on May 21, 2014 by Misha
I found David Wolff's book to be very helpful in learning the foundations of GLSL programming with OpenGL. There are some nice advance techniques covered in this book also. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by CaAmazonReviewer
Really awesome book and incredibly good value. Makes a change to a lot of the really long OpenGL books because you can find the OpenGL nugget you're interested in learning about or... Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by JamesBedford
Title: OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook
Author: David Wolf
Publisher: Packt Publishing Ltd. Read more
This is one of the few books that I owned both paper and digital versions. It is the best book on modern OpenGL (non-fixed pipeline). Read morePublished on September 25, 2011 by Anhui Feidong