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GPU Gems: Programming Techniques, Tips and Tricks for Real-Time Graphics Hardcover – Mar 22 2004

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 22 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321228324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321228321
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

This book is an extensive and practical collection of articles about real-time computer graphics, accumulating the knowledge and experience of experts in both industry and academia. Building, in the same style, upon the wealth of the great "Gems" books already available, GPU Gems is a collection of short chapters. However, a number of key characteristics make this book unique and valuable to today's developers as they attempt to harness the ever-increasing power of the graphics processing unit (GPU).

First and foremost, this book focuses squarely on real-time programmable graphics--specifically, on techniques relevant to GPUs. Each chapter was carefully selected to present ideas and techniques that are directly useful in interactive applications, such as computer games. The chapters provide insight and understanding, rather than focusing on low-level API calls or specific mathematical tricks. Furthermore, each chapter is packed with numerous full-color diagrams and images to illustrate and drive home key concepts. Finally, the experience and diversity of the contributors help readers gain a broad understanding, as well as a certain confidence that the advice they are getting comes from experts in the field.

NVIDIA's strongest asset is its people: the depth and quality of their collective expertise inspired the initial idea for GPU Gems. With so much knowledge and expertise at hand, we felt that the thoughts and insights of the teams that brought us many recent advances in real-time graphics would make for a wonderfully instructive book. So, we started the project with an internal call for participation.

Having the good fortune to work with people from leading game development houses, tool developers, film studios, and academic institutions who are shaping the future of real-time computer graphics, we also wanted to highlight their real-world contributions in GPU Gems. Hence, a wider, public call for participation allowed us to coalesce a great amount of talent and refreshing perspective into this volume.

Whether you're creating new effects, architecting a graphics engine, or squeezing out the last bits of performance, we hope that this book provides valuable guidance and saves you from some of the challenges the authors faced on their own projects. All of us who worked on GPU Gems hope that it will help you to adopt new ideas and take your projects to the next level of graphical realism.

Our Intended Audience

This book provides intermediate and advanced readers with useful information that will help them in their projects. Focusing beyond the fundamentals of high-level shading, GPU Gems looks at how to take existing projects further by removing the mystery behind complex effects and advanced GPU programming. With the rapid evolution of real-time shading languages, the collection of algorithms available to real-time graphics developers is larger than ever. By compiling and distributing the information in this book, our goal is to make high-quality, high-performance graphics more accessible to a wider audience that includes game developers, technical directors, professors, and students.

Trying the Examples

Many of the chapters in this book include code samples to make their subject matter more concrete. The authors used whichever shading language they wanted, so the code samples ended up in DirectX 9's High-Level Shader Language (HLSL) or Cg, which were the only two high-level shading languages widely in use during this project. Almost everything that is presented can be applied to either language, as well as to languages that came later, such as the OpenGL Shading Language. The code samples are available on the CD that accompanies this book, along with standalone examples wherever possible. This makes it easy for you to integrate or experiment with the various examples.

From the Back Cover

GPU Gems has won a prestigious Front Line Award from Game Developer Magazine. The Front Line Awards recognize products that enable faster and more efficient game development, advancing the state of the art.


“This collection of articles is particularly impressive for its depth and breadth. The book includes product-oriented case studies, previously unpublished state-of-the-art research, comprehensive tutorials, and extensive code samples and demos throughout.”
—Eric Haines, Author of Real-Time RenderingGPU Gems is a cool toolbox of advanced graphics techniques. Novice programmers and graphics gurus alike will find the Gems practical, intriguing and useful.”
—Tim Sweeney, Lead Programmer of Unreal at Epic Games

GPU Gems is a compilation of articles covering practical real-time graphics techniques arising from the research and practice of cutting-edge developers. It focuses on the programmable graphics pipeline available in today’s graphics processing units (GPUs) and highlights quick and dirty tricks used by leading developers, as well as fundamental, performance-conscious techniques for creating advanced visual effects. The contributors and editors, collectively, bring countless years of experience to enlighten and propel the reader into the fascinating world of programmable real-time graphics.

Major topics covered include:

  • Natural effects
  • Lighting and shadows
  • Materials
  • Image processing
  • Performance and practicalities
  • Beyond triangles
  • Contributors are from the following universities and corporations:

  • Alias Systems
  • Brown University
  • Croteam
  • Cyan Worlds
  • Hochschule Bremen
  • Industrial Light & Magic
  • Monolith Productions
  • New York University
  • Novarama
  • Paralelo Computacao
  • Piranha Bytes
  • Pixar Animation Studios
  • Siemens Medical Solutions
  • Softimage Co.
  • Softlab-NSK
  • Sony Pictures Imageworks
  • Stanford University
  • UC Davis
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • University of Utah
  • University of Waterloo
  • The accompanying CD-ROM includes complementary examples and sample programs.

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    Customer Reviews

    4.2 out of 5 stars
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    Top Customer Reviews

    Format: Hardcover
    I can't think of a topic that is more well-suited to a gems-style book than shaders, and given how important shaders have become in graphics and game development, I've been looking forward to this book since it was first announced.
    The book consists of 42 articles covering techniques available on modern programmable GPUs. The articles were written by the most impressive collection of authors I've seen. Many of them are from NVIDIA, with the rest being from game development studios and other leaders in the graphics industry, both in academia and commercial development. Each chapter is approximately 15-20 pages long, which allows for greater depth than most gems-style books.
    The topics covered include lighting, shadows, materials, image processing, performance tuning, water, fire, grass, skin (from the Dawn demo), and nontraditional uses of the GPU. The examples use either HLSL or Cg (and thankfully not assembly level shaders). Unfortunately, the OpenGL Shading Language was not complete at the time of the book's writing, but the examples should port easily.
    As should be obvious from the NVIDIA logo on the cover, ATI wasn't involved with this book. Not surprisingly then, many of the demo programs included on the CD won't work on ATI hardware. This is unfortunate, since ATI hardware seems to be more popular at the high end right now, so many readers won't be able to run a lot of the demos. However, the techniques themselves should be readily portable.
    As a nice bonus, the book is printed in full-color, which is definitely a welcome change as it makes it easier to visualize the results.
    This is one of the most timely and relevant books currently available for graphics and game development. I highly recommend it to anyone involved with either.
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    Format: Hardcover
    "GPU Gems" edited by Randima Fernando (Addison-Wesley, 2004, ISBN 0-321-22832-4) is a collection of white papers describing techniques and practical applications useful in today's programmable graphical processing units. The full color hardcover text is 816 pages and includes a CD-ROM that includes working demos and source for most of the articles presented in the book. The text retails for $59.99.
    The text is divided into six major parts: natural effects, lighting and shadows, materials, image progressing, performance and practicalities, and beyond triangles. Each part has anywhere between 5 to 9 chapters (for an overall total of 42 chapters). The chapters are separate white papers related to the overall part's major topic. For example, the natural effects part contains chapters on water caustics, Perlin noise, creating realistic fire, and diffraction just to name a few.
    Generally, each chapter has an introduction, a background with some mathematics, an implementation occasionally with some partial source code, a conclusion, and key references. While a different author writes each chapter, the overall feel of the book is consistent and smooth. The chapters read very similar to a SIGGRAPH paper without as much math or specific detail.
    Take for example, the chapter on stereograms - a process by which a 2D image encodes stereo information that when viewed correctly reveals a 3D scene. The chapter has brief background section that includes several helpful color examples. The author discusses how to create such an image using the fragment program capabilities of a GPU using the z-buffer as a depth map and provides a demo program on the CD.
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    Format: Hardcover
    Addison-Wesley and nVIDIA went all out on this book. Every page is color. This means all of the code samples, graphics, everything, is in color. This is not only an impressive trick, it also makes a book on computer graphics a lot easier to read. To understand what a particular algorithm is trying to do with color you needn't go to the center of the book, the graphic is right there.
    The content of the book is somewhat mixed. It's done as a collection of papers so the writing tends to vary from verbose to terse. For example the chapter on depth-of-field covers five different techniques in 15 pages with 13 medium to large graphics. That's impressive compression, but it means that it is very terse and the chapter amounts to little more than an overview. The very next chapter, on high-quality filtering, weighing in at 25 pages has a better balance of overview and detail.
    Despite it's inconsistencies the book is still a wonderful resource and, frankly, a nice coffee table book to boot. It's even got some unintentionally funny parts, like the section header before page 3 that shows the most un-natural looking monster you have ever seen with the title 'Natural Effects'. Hardly. Still, a great book and a fun read. Bravo AW and nVIDIA.
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