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Mastering Computer Graphics with OpenGL 3rd Edition: Concepts and Techniques with Examples and Exercises by Donald Hearn and M. Pauline Baker


Computer Graphics with OpenGL 3rd Edition Donald Hearn and M Pauline Baker




If you are interested in learning computer graphics, you may have heard of a popular book called Computer Graphics with OpenGL 3rd Edition by Donald Hearn and M Pauline Baker. This book is a comprehensive introduction to computer graphics theory and practice using OpenGL, one of the most widely used computer graphics libraries in the world. In this article, we will give you an overview of what computer graphics is, what OpenGL is, how to use OpenGL in computer graphics programming, what are the benefits and challenges of using OpenGL in computer graphics development, and how to learn computer graphics with this book. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of computer graphics with OpenGL and why you should get this book.




Computer Graphics With Opengl 3rd Edition Donald Hearn And M Pauline Baker


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What is Computer Graphics?




Computer graphics is the field of study that deals with creating, manipulating, displaying, and interacting with images using computers. Computer graphics can be divided into two main categories: raster graphics and vector graphics. Raster graphics are images that are composed of pixels (picture elements), which are small dots that have a color value. Vector graphics are images that are composed of geometric primitives (such as points, lines, curves, polygons), which are defined by mathematical equations. Raster graphics are more suitable for realistic images that have complex details and textures, while vector graphics are more suitable for abstract images that have simple shapes and colors.


Computer graphics has many applications in various domains, such as entertainment, education, engineering, medicine, art, and science. Some examples of computer graphics applications are:


  • Video games, which use computer graphics to create immersive and interactive virtual worlds and characters.



  • Animation, which uses computer graphics to create motion and change in images over time.



  • Simulation, which uses computer graphics to model and visualize physical phenomena and systems.



  • Computer-aided design (CAD), which uses computer graphics to design and modify objects and structures.



  • Image processing, which uses computer graphics to enhance, edit, or transform images.



  • Visualization, which uses computer graphics to present data and information in graphical forms.



What is OpenGL?




OpenGL is an acronym for Open Graphics Library, which is a cross-platform, low-level application programming interface (API) for computer graphics. OpenGL was developed by Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) in 1992 as a successor to the Iris GL library. OpenGL is now maintained by the Khronos Group, a consortium of companies and organizations that promote open standards for graphics and multimedia. OpenGL is widely used in the computer graphics industry and academia, as it supports a variety of platforms and devices, such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, iOS, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc.


OpenGL is a state machine, which means that it stores a set of variables that define how it operates. These variables are called states, and they can be changed by calling OpenGL functions. OpenGL functions can be classified into two types: commands and queries. Commands are functions that change the state of OpenGL or perform some action, such as drawing an object or setting a color. Queries are functions that return information about the state of OpenGL or its capabilities, such as getting the current color or the maximum number of lights.


OpenGL is also a pipeline-based API, which means that it processes graphics data in a series of stages or steps. These stages are called the OpenGL pipeline, and they include vertex processing, primitive assembly, rasterization, fragment processing, per-sample operations, etc. Each stage performs a specific task on the graphics data and passes it to the next stage until the final image is produced on the screen. The OpenGL pipeline can be customized and programmed using shaders, which are small programs that run on the graphics processing unit (GPU).


How to use OpenGL in Computer Graphics?




To use OpenGL in computer graphics programming, you need to have some basic knowledge of programming languages (such as C or C++), mathematics (such as linear algebra and trigonometry), and graphics concepts (such as coordinate systems and transformations). You also need to have access to a platform and device that support OpenGL, as well as a software development kit (SDK) that provides OpenGL libraries and headers. Depending on your platform and device, you may also need to use additional libraries or frameworks that provide windowing and input/output functions (such as GLUT or GLFW).


The general steps for using OpenGL in computer graphics programming are:


  • Create a window or context where OpenGL can render graphics.



  • Initialize OpenGL states and resources (such as shaders, buffers, textures, etc.).



  • Create a main loop where you handle user input and update the scene.



  • Render the scene by sending graphics data to OpenGL and calling OpenGL commands.



  • Clean up OpenGL states and resources when the program ends.



The OpenGL Pipeline




The OpenGL pipeline is the core of OpenGL's functionality and performance. It consists of several stages that process graphics data from the application to the screen. The main stages of the OpenGL pipeline are:



StageDescription


Vertex SpecificationThis stage defines the vertices (points) that form the geometric primitives (such as points, lines, triangles) that make up the scene. Vertices can have attributes (such as position, color, normal, texture coordinate) that describe their properties. Vertices are stored in vertex buffers (VBOs) that are bound to vertex array objects (VAOs).


Vertex ShaderThis stage executes a vertex shader program on each vertex. A vertex shader can modify the attributes of a vertex or generate new ones. A vertex shader can also perform transformations (such as translation, rotation, scaling) on a vertex to change its position in space.


patch and pass additional data to the next stage.


Tessellation Evaluation ShaderThis stage executes a tessellation evaluation shader program on each subdivided primitive. A tessellation evaluation shader can compute the final position and attributes of each vertex based on the data from the previous stage and the tessellation parameters.


Geometry ShaderThis stage executes a geometry shader program on each primitive. A geometry shader can modify the primitive type, topology, or size, or generate new primitives from existing ones. A geometry shader can also perform clipping (discarding primitives that are outside the view volume) or culling (discarding primitives that are facing away from the viewer).


Primitive AssemblyThis stage collects the vertices that form a primitive and prepares them for rasterization. This stage also performs primitive ordering (determining the order of primitives based on their depth) and face culling (discarding primitives that are facing away from the viewer).


RasterizationThis stage converts the primitives into fragments (pixels) that cover the area of the primitive on the screen. This stage also performs depth testing (comparing the depth of a fragment with the depth buffer to determine if it is visible) and scissor testing (discarding fragments that are outside a specified rectangular region).


Fragment ShaderThis stage executes a fragment shader program on each fragment. A fragment shader can compute the final color and other outputs of a fragment based on its attributes and external data (such as textures, lights, etc.). A fragment shader can also perform alpha testing (discarding fragments that have low opacity) and stencil testing (discarding fragments that fail a stencil buffer operation).


Per-Sample OperationsThis stage performs operations that affect each sample (sub-pixel) of a fragment, such as blending (combining the color of a fragment with the color of the framebuffer), multisampling (resolving multiple samples into one color), dithering (adding noise to reduce color banding), and sRGB conversion (converting linear color values to sRGB color space).


The OpenGL Shading Language




The OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) is a high-level programming language that is used to write shaders for OpenGL. GLSL is based on C syntax and has some features and data types that are specific to graphics programming. GLSL supports four types of shaders: vertex shaders, tessellation control shaders, tessellation evaluation shaders, and fragment shaders. Geometry shaders are deprecated in modern OpenGL and are replaced by tessellation shaders.


GLSL shaders are written in text files with the extension .glsl or .vert, .tesc, .tese, .geom, or .frag depending on the shader type. GLSL shaders are compiled and linked by OpenGL at runtime using OpenGL functions such as glCreateShader, glShaderSource, glCompileShader, glCreateProgram, glAttachShader, glLinkProgram, etc. GLSL shaders can communicate with each other using input and output variables, and with the application using uniform variables and attribute variables.


GLSL has some built-in variables and functions that provide useful information and functionality for graphics programming. Some examples of built-in variables are:


  • gl_Position: a vertex shader output variable that specifies the position of a vertex in clip space.



  • gl_FragCoord: a fragment shader input variable that specifies the coordinates of a fragment in window space.



  • gl_FragColor: a fragment shader output variable that specifies the color of a fragment.



Some examples of built-in functions are:


  • dot: a function that computes the dot product of two vectors.



  • cross: a function that computes the cross product of two vectors.



  • normalize: a function that normalizes a vector.



  • mix: a function that performs linear interpolation between two values.



  • texture: a function that samples a texture.



The OpenGL Mathematics Library




The OpenGL Mathematics Library (GLM) is a header-only C++ library that provides mathematical functions and data types for graphics programming using OpenGL. GLM is based on GLSL syntax and has some features and data types that are compatible with GLSL. GLM supports vectors, matrices, quaternions, and other geometric types and operations that are useful for graphics programming.


GLM is not part of OpenGL, but it is a widely used library that simplifies the use of OpenGL and GLSL. GLM can be downloaded from its official website (https://glm.g-truc.net) or from other sources (such as GitHub or package managers). To use GLM, you need to include the glm header file in your C++ code, such as #include . You can also include specific modules of GLM, such as #include or #include .


GLM has some predefined constants and functions that provide useful information and functionality for graphics programming. Some examples of predefined constants are:


  • glm::pi: a constant that represents the value of pi.



  • glm::epsilon: a constant that represents the smallest value that can be represented by a floating-point type.



  • glm::radians: a function that converts degrees to radians.



  • glm::degrees: a function that converts radians to degrees.



Some examples of predefined functions are:


  • glm::length: a function that computes the length of a vector.



  • glm::distance: a function that computes the distance between two points.



  • glm::angle: a function that computes the angle between two vectors.



  • glm::rotate: a function that rotates a vector by an angle around an axis.



  • glm::lookAt: a function that creates a view matrix from an eye position, a center position, and an up direction.



  • glm::perspective: a function that creates a perspective projection matrix from a field of view, an aspect ratio, and near and far planes.



What are the benefits of using OpenGL in Computer Graphics?




OpenGL is one of the most popular and widely used computer graphics libraries in the world, and for good reasons. OpenGL has many benefits that make it attractive and suitable for computer graphics development, such as:


Portability and Compatibility




OpenGL is a cross-platform API, which means that it can run on different operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, etc. OpenGL is also compatible with different devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, consoles, etc. OpenGL can also work with different graphics hardware and drivers, such as NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, etc. This means that OpenGL applications can reach a large and diverse audience and market, and can run on various platforms and devices without much modification or adaptation.


Performance and Efficiency




OpenGL is a low-level API, which means that it gives direct access to the graphics hardware and its capabilities. OpenGL is also optimized for performance and efficiency, as it minimizes the overhead and latency between the application and the hardware. OpenGL can also leverage the power and parallelism of the GPU, which can perform millions of calculations per second. This means that OpenGL applications can render complex and realistic graphics at high speed and quality, and can handle large amounts of data and computations efficiently.


Flexibility and Customization




OpenGL is a pipeline-based API, which means that it allows programmers to customize and program different stages of the graphics pipeline using shaders. OpenGL is also flexible and adaptable, as it supports various graphics features and modes, such as lighting, textures, blending, multisampling, etc. OpenGL can also be extended and enhanced using extensions or libraries that provide additional functionality or support for new technologies. This means that OpenGL applications can create diverse and unique graphics effects and styles, and can adapt to different graphics needs and preferences.


What are the challenges of using OpenGL in Computer Graphics?




OpenGL is not without its drawbacks and difficulties. OpenGL has some challenges that make it hard or frustrating to use for computer graphics development, such as:


Learning Curve and Documentation




OpenGL is a complex and vast API, which means that it has many functions, variables, data types, concepts, etc. that need to be learned and understood. OpenGL is also not very beginner-friendly or intuitive, as it requires some prior knowledge of programming languages (such as C or C++), mathematics (such as linear algebra and trigonometry), and graphics concepts (such as coordinate systems and transformations). OpenGL's documentation is also not very comprehensive or clear, as it lacks examples, explanations, tutorials, etc. This means that OpenGL programmers may face difficulties or confusion when learning or using OpenGL, and may need to rely on external sources (such as books or websites) for guidance or help.


Debugging and Testing




is a low-level API, which means that it does not provide much feedback or error handling. OpenGL is also not very debuggable or testable, as it has limited debugging and testing tools and support. OpenGL's errors are often silent or cryptic, and its behavior is often undefined or inconsistent. OpenGL's output is also hard to inspect or verify, as it depends on the graphics hardware and driver. This means that OpenGL programmers may encounter bugs or errors that are hard to detect or fix, and may need to use trial-and-error or other methods (such as logging or breakpoints) for debugging or testing.


Compatibility Issues and Updates




OpenGL is a cross-platform and compatible API, but it is also a heterogeneous and evolving API. OpenGL's functionality and performance may vary depending on the platform, device, hardware, driver, version, extension, etc. that are used. OpenGL may also have compatibility issues or conflicts with other libraries or frameworks that are used in conjunction with it. OpenGL is also constantly updated and improved, but it may also introduce changes or deprecations that affect its functionality and stability. This means that OpenGL programmers may face challenges or problems when porting or running OpenGL applications on different platforms or devices, or when updating or maintaining OpenGL applications with new versions or extensions.


How to learn Computer Graphics with OpenGL 3rd Edition Donald Hearn and M Pauline Baker?




If you want to learn computer graphics with OpenGL, one of the best resources that you can use is the book Computer Graphics with OpenGL 3rd Edition by Donald Hearn and M Pauline Baker. This book is a comprehensive introduction to computer graphics theory and practice using OpenGL, and it covers a wide range of topics and concepts that are essential for computer graphics development. In this section, we will give you a summary of the contents and structure of the book and how it can help you master computer graphics with OpenGL.


The Book's Features and Format




The book has the following features and format that make it an effective and enjoyable learning tool:


  • The book has 12 chapters that are organized into four parts: Part I: Foundations, Part II: Programming with OpenGL, Part III: Advanced Topics in Computer Graphics, Part IV: Appendices.



  • The book has a clear and concise writing style that explains the concepts and principles of computer graphics in a logical and understandable way.



  • The book has a balanced approach that combines theory and practice, as it presents both the mathematical foundations and the practical implementations of computer graphics using OpenGL.



  • The book has a progressive approach that builds on the previous knowledge and skills, as it introduces new topics and concepts gradually and incrementally.



  • The book has a comprehensive coverage that spans from basic to advanced topics in computer graphics, such as 2D and 3D graphics, transformations, lighting, textures, curves, surfaces, animation, etc.



  • The book has a consistent format that follows a similar structure for each chapter: objectives, introduction, main sections, summary, exercises (conceptual questions and programming problems), references.



  • The book has a rich set of examples and exercises that illustrate and reinforce the concepts and techniques of computer graphics using OpenGL. The examples are written in C++ code using OpenGL functions and GLSL shaders. The exercises are designed to test your understanding and application of computer graphics using OpenGL.



  • The book has a supplementary website (https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/program/Hearn-Computer-Graphics-with-Open-GL-4th-Edition/PGM334416.html) that provides additional resources and support for the book, such as slides, code samples, solutions, errata, etc.



The Book's Topics and Coverage




The book covers the following topics and concepts in computer graphics using OpenGL:



ChapterTitleTopics


1A Survey of Computer GraphicsThis chapter gives an overview of computer graphics and its


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