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OpenGL SuperBible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference (4th Edition) Paperback – Jun 18 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 4 edition (June 18 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321498828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321498823
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 18.7 x 5.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #295,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Grogono on June 16 2010
Format: Paperback
In the preface, Wright says of the first edition of the SuperBible: "A book on OpenGL? I had no idea what I was doing." I have a copy of that edition and it does indeed seem in parts that the author is not far ahead of the reader. But that was in 1996, the fourth edition (reviewed here) appeared in 2007, and the fifth edition is predicted for Summer 2010. Much has changed during 14 years. Significantly, the SuperBible is now in the Addison-Wesley Professional OpenGL Series.

The SuperBible has three parts: the "Old Testament" (pp. 9-514)describes fixed-pipeline programming; the "New Testament" (pp. 515-640) introduces the programmable pipeline (vertex shaders and shaders); and the "Apocrypha" (pp. 641-772) discusses platform-specific techniques for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and using OpenGL ES for embedded systems. The book concludes with more than 350 pages of appendices, including a comprehensive API Reference. The explanations are clear and are supported by numerous figures and code snippets.

Which is better: the "official" OpenGL Programming Guide ("red book") or the SuperBible? The answer is "neither" because the books are intended for different audiences. The Programming Guide does an excellent job of explaining the features of OpenGL and how to use them. The SuperBible describes techniques used in computer graphics and explains how to obtain them with OpenGL. It is therefore more self-contained than the Guide: you can go quite far in graphics programming using the SuperBible as your only source.

The SuperBible tends to be upbeat about things that OpenGl provides and somewhat dismissive of alternative techniques. For example, quaternions "can be difficult to understand [and] really don't solve any problems with Euler angles" -- try explaining that to a games programmer! But this is a minor criticism of a book that, during its long lifetime, has matured from a fat book into a 1200-page SuperBargain.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 25 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
A Great Tutorial July 22 2007
By D. Clemens - Published on
Format: Paperback
I just started learning OpenGL a few months ago. has a free ebook on OpenGL 1.1 but I hate reading at the computer and I wanted to learn OpenGL 2.1.

So I bought this book since it was just published this month and covers 2.1.

So far, I just finished chapter 5 and I am quite pleased. I have no negative feedback on the text itself as I think the author does a great job. Each topic is covered comprehensively and transitions between topics are subtle enough so as to not lose the reader.

Now for teaching purposes the text and source code use GLUT. Thankfully, the author also includes sections on OS specific OpenGL setup.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
best OpenGL book June 7 2009
By techno hermit - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All things considered, this is the best book on writing graphics applications based upon the OpenGL API. No question about it.

You'll also want to buy the "OpenGL Shading Language" which gives the complete description of GLSL (AKA the OpenGL Shading Language), especially if you want to write more advanced shaders.

Also, you must definitely download and print the latest "OpenGL Specifications - version 3.10" (or later) and "OpenGL Shading Language - version 1.40" (or later) from the <[...]> website (currently at [...]>). These are excellent *free* documents in PDF format, but not as easy to learn from as the books mentioned above.

When you become somewhat "advanced", you'll definitely want to review the "GPU GEMS" books. These are great to own in hardbacks, but can also be read for free on the <[...]> website (thanks nvidia!).

I've written DirectX, PlayStation and OpenGL 3D game/simulation engines (commercially released), so I have years of experience now. The "OpenGL SuperBible" was my favorite OpenGL book when I started learning, and is still my favorite OpenGL book today. To write a book that is perfect for [serious] beginners and 3D-graphics gurus too is quite an accomplishment.

PS: This 4th edition does not cover OpenGL versions 3.0 or 3.1, or GLSL versions 1.30 or 1.40; those will be covered in the 5th edition when it becomes available --- hopefully soon!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Good explanations, but very poor code quality March 25 2010
By J. McDonald - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a Software Engineer of ~30 years, and have worked with many development frameworks and used many reference manuals. I purchased the OpenGL Superbible (4th edition) because I wanted a good tutorial-style text on OpenGL programming. In that light, I am pleased with the general layout and presentation style of the book so far. (I've only gotten through the first handful of chapters.)

Be warned, however, that while the book gives a good high-level view of concepts, it is of quite poor quality with respect to details. The code examples in the book are literally riddled with errors and omissions. The full set of example source can be downloaded from the web site, and seems to include corrections to most or all of the errors in the printed text. Were it not for this saving grace, I would have felt compelled to rate the book far lower.

As it stands, I must rate the book as merely OK. The high-level concepts are presented well, but the frequency of erroneous details significantly detracts from one's confidence in the overall quality and accuracy of the work.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Best OpenGL book out there for beginners and experienced alike March 31 2008
By Cristobal A. Alvarez-Russell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has three great uses: as a learning tool for beginners, as an update for intermediates, and as a reference for experts. All groups can be benefited from this book.

With regards to the first, this book provides a much more natural progression between the topics when read front to back. Also, it does not assume a lot of mathematical knowledge, and it will provide some of it as it goes along.

Also, for people who know OpenGL 1.x, this book will be a great way of being introduced to shader programming as part of OpenGL. Also, something I found invaluable in this book is the chapters in optimization (buffer objects, etc). It talks enough about optimizing OpenGL to high-performance applications without delving into 3D engine design (something that is out of the cope), but still filling a niche. Last, it talks about several things that are taken for granted by professionals but novices sometimes have a hard time accessing (post-processing, multiple passes, image processing, etc.)

Even professionals will find the book useful for looking things up, or to use as a reference.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
excellent book for OpenGL March 27 2008
By Liming Mei - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for OpenGL topic. I noticed it also includes the most recent works in the computer graphics field which makes it totally different from the free 1st edition bluebook on the internet. I read it everyday on the train to and back from the work. The words used in the book are easy to understand. The authors did a good job presenting the technical details. This is a must-have for all OpenGL software engineers. Would recommend to other people!

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