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

2.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321552624
ISBN-10: 0321552628
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Editorial Reviews

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: #906,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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