Top 10 Best OpenGL Books for the Beginner & Professional [UPDATED]

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In this article, we will explore the best OpenGL books which help you to become expert in the field. You will have an insight of each OpenGL book. So that you can decide which OpenGL book you will choose to harness your skills.

OpenGL is the leading cross-language, multi-platform API used by masses of modern games and applications in a vast array of different sectors. Developing graphics with OpenGL lets you harness the increasing power of GPUs and really take your visuals to the next level.

Best OpenGL Books for Beginner Professional

 

Best OpenGL Books You Should Read

Here are our best picks :

(1) Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-Down Approach Using OpenGL

(2) OpenGL Superbible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference

(3) OpenGL Development Cookbook

(4) OpenGL Insights

(5) OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL 

(6) C++ Game Development By Example

(7) Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java

(8) OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook

(9) Advanced Methods in Computer Graphics: With examples in OpenGL

(10) OpenGL Game Development (Wordware Applications Library)

 

1. Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-Down Approach Using OpenGL

most popular OpenGL booksComputer animation and graphics-once rare, complicated, and comparatively expensive–are now prevalent in everyday life from the computer screen to the movie screen. Interactive Computer Graphics is the only introduction to computer graphics text for undergraduates that fully integrates OpenGL and emphasizes application-based programming.

Using C and C++, the top-down, programming-oriented approach allows for coverage of engaging 3D material early in the course so students immediately begin to create their own 3D graphics. Low-level algorithms (for topics such as line drawing and filling polygons) are presented after students learn to create graphics.

This book is suitable for undergraduate students in computer science and engineering, for students in other disciplines who have good programming skills, and for professionals.

 

2. OpenGL Superbible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference

best books to learn OpenGLOpenGL SuperBible, is the definitive programmer’s guide, tutorial, and reference for OpenGL 4.5, the world’s leading 3D API for real-time computer graphics. The best introduction for any developer, it clearly explains OpenGL’s newest APIs; key extensions; shaders; and essential, related concepts. You’ll find up-to-date, hands-on guidance for all facets of modern OpenGL development both desktop and mobile.

The authors explain what OpenGL does, how it connects to the graphics pipeline, and how it manages huge datasets to deliver compelling experiences. Step by step, they present increasingly sophisticated techniques, illuminating key concepts with worked examples. They introduce OpenGL on several popular platforms, and offer up-to-date best practices and performance advice.

This revised and updated edition introduces many new OpenGL 4.5 features, including important ARB and KHR extensions that are now part of the standard. It thoroughly covers the latest Approaching Zero Driver Overhead (AZDO) performance features, and demonstrates key enhancements with new example applications.

What is Inside:

  • A practical introduction to real-time 3D graphics, including foundational math
  • Core techniques for rendering, transformations, and texturing
  • Shaders and the OpenGL Shading Language (GLSL) in depth
  • Vertex processing, drawing commands, primitives, fragments, and framebuffers
  • Compute shaders: harnessing graphics cards for more than graphics
  • Pipeline monitoring and control
  • Managing, loading, and arbitrating access to data
  • Building larger applications and deploying them across platforms
  • Advanced rendering: light simulation, artistic and non-photorealistic effects, and more
  • Preventing and debugging errors
  • New applications: texture compression, text drawing, font rendering with distance fields, high-quality texture filtering, and OpenMP
  • Reducing CPU overhead and analyzing GPU behavior
  • Supercharging performance with persistent maps, bindless textures, and fine-grained synchronization

 

3. OpenGL Development Cookbook

best OpenGL Development booksThis straight-talking cookbook is perfect for intermediate C++ programmers who want to exploit the full potential of OpenGL. This guide take you to the next level and will be able to create amazing OpenGL graphics in your applications.

OpenGL Development Cookbook is full of practical techniques for implementing amazing computer graphics and visualizations. You will start with vertex-based deformations, common mesh formats, and skeletal animation with GPU skinning, and going on to demonstrate different shader stages in the graphics pipeline.

This cookbook provides you with practical examples on complex topics, such as variance shadow mapping, GPU-based paths, and ray tracing. By the end you will be familiar with the latest advanced GPU-based volume rendering techniques.

What You Will Learn:

  • How to create an OpenGL 3.3 rendering context
  • Get to grips with camera-based viewing and object picking techniques
  • Learn off-screen rendering and environment mapping techniques to render mirrors
  • Discover shadow mapping techniques, including variance shadow mapping
  • Implement a particle system using shaders
  • Explore GPU-based volumetric lighting using half angle slicing and physically based simulation on the GPU using transform feedback
  • Learn about GPU-based methods for global illumination using spherical harmonics and SSAO
  • Understand translucent geometry and order independent transparency using dual depth peeling

 

4. OpenGL Insights

Best OpenGL Books to readWith OpenGL, OpenGL ES, and WebGL, real-time rendering is becoming available everywhere, from AAA games to mobile phones to web pages. Assembling contributions from experienced developers, vendors, researchers, and educators, OpenGL Insights presents real-world techniques for intermediate and advanced OpenGL, OpenGL ES, and WebGL developers.

The book thoroughly covers a range of topics, including OpenGL 4.2 and recent extensions. It explains how to optimize for mobile devices, explores the design of WebGL libraries, and discusses OpenGL in the classroom. The contributors also examine asynchronous buffer and texture transfers, performance state tracking, and programmable vertex pulling.

Focusing on current and emerging techniques for the OpenGL family of APIs, this book demonstrates the breadth and depth of OpenGL. Readers will gain practical skills to solve problems related to performance, rendering, profiling, framework design, and more.

 

5. OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL 

best opengl programming guidesOpenGL Programming Guide, Ninth Edition, presents definitive, comprehensive information on OpenGL 4.5, 4.4, SPIR-V, OpenGL extensions, and the OpenGL Shading Language. It will serve you for as long as you write or maintain OpenGL code.

This edition of the best-selling “Red Book” fully integrates shader techniques alongside classic, function-centric approaches, and contains extensive code examples that demonstrate modern techniques.

Starting with the fundamentals, its wide-ranging coverage includes drawing, color, pixels, fragments, transformations, textures, framebuffers, light and shadow, and memory techniques for advanced rendering and nongraphical applications. It also offers discussions of all shader stages, including thorough explorations of tessellation, geometric, and compute shaders.

New coverage in this edition includes:

  • Thorough coverage of OpenGL 4.5 Direct State Access (DSA), which overhauls the OpenGL programming model and how applications access objects
  • Deeper discussions and more examples of shader functionality and GPU processing, reflecting industry trends to move functionality onto graphics processors
  • Demonstrations and examples of key features based on community feedback and suggestions
  • Updated appendixes covering the latest OpenGL libraries, related APIs, functions, variables, formats, and debugging and profiling techniques

 

6. C++ Game Development By Example

best opengl Game Development BooksIf you’re a developer keen to learn game development with C++ or get up to date with game development, this book is for you. Some knowledge of C++ programming is assumed.

C++ Game Development By Example starts by touching upon the basic concepts of math, programming, and computer graphics and creating a simple side-scrolling action 2D game. You’ll build a solid foundation by studying basic game concepts such as creating game loops, rendering 2D game scenes using SFML, 2D sprite creation and animation, and collision detection.

The book will help you advance to creating a 3D physics puzzle game using modern OpenGL and the Bullet physics engine. You’ll understand the graphics pipeline, which entails creating 3D objects using vertex and index buffers and rendering them to the scene using vertex and fragment shaders. Finally, you’ll create a basic project using the Vulkan library that’ll help you get to grips with creating swap chains, image views, render passes, and frame buffers for building high-performance graphics in your games.

By the end of this book, you’ll be ready with 3 compelling projects created with SFML, the Vulkan API, and OpenGL, and you’ll be able take your game and graphics programming skills to the next level.

What You Will Learn:

  • Understand shaders and how to write a basic vertex and fragment shader
  • Build a Visual Studio project and add SFML to it
  • Discover how to create sprite animations and a game character class
  • Add sound effects and background music to your game
  • Grasp how to integrate Vulkan into Visual Studio
  • Create shaders and convert them to the SPIR-V binary format

Also Check:

 

7. Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with Java

Best Books to learn Computer Graphics Programming in OpenGL with JavaThis book provides step-by-step instruction on modern 3D graphics shader programming in OpenGL, along with its theoretical foundations. It is appropriate both for computer science undergraduate graphics programming courses in degree programs that emphasize Java, and for professionals interested in mastering 3D graphics skills who prefer Java.

It has been designed in a 4-color, “teach-yourself” format with numerous examples that the reader can run just as presented. New sections have been added covering soft shadows, performance optimization, Nsight debugging, as well as updated industry-standard libraries and steps for running the examples on a Macintosh. Includes companion files with all of the source code, models, textures, skyboxes and normal maps used in the book.

What’s Inside:

  • Includes new sections on implementing soft shadows, performance optimization, and updated tools such as the JOML math library and the NVIDIA® Nsight™ debugger.
  • Covers modern OpenGL 4.0+ shader programming in Java/JOGL, with instructions for both PC/Windows and Macintosh.
  • Illustrates every technique with complete running code examples. Everything needed to install the libraries and run every example is provided and fully explained.
  • Includes step-by-step instruction for every GLSL programmable pipeline stage (vertex, tessellation, geometry, and fragment).
  • Includes companion files with code, object models, figures, and more.

 

8. OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook

Best OpenGL 4 Shading Language booksIf you are a graphics programmer looking to learn the GLSL shading language, this book is for you. A basic understanding of 3D graphics and programming experience with C++ are required.

OpenGL 4 Shading Language Cookbook, provides easy-to-follow recipes that first walk you through the theory and background behind each technique, and then proceed to showcase and explain the GLSL and OpenGL code needed to implement them.

Covers advanced topics such as shadow techniques (including the two of the most common techniques: shadow maps and shadow volumes). You will learn how to use noise in shaders and how to use compute shaders.

The book provides examples of modern shading techniques that can be used as a starting point for programmers to expand upon to produce modern, interactive, 3D computer-graphics applications.

What You Will Learn

  • Compile, debug, and communicate with shader programs
  • Use compute shaders for physics, animation, and general computing
  • Learn about features such as shader storage buffer objects and image load/store
  • Utilize noise in shaders and learn how to use shaders in animations
  • Use textures for various effects including cube maps for reflection or refraction
  • Understand physically based reflection models and the SPIR-V Shader binary
  • Learn how to create shadows using shadow maps or shadow volumes
  • Create particle systems that simulate smoke, fire, and other effects

 

9. Advanced Methods in Computer Graphics: With examples in OpenGL

best books to learn computer graphics with openglThis book brings together several advanced topics in computer graphics that are important in the areas of game development, three-dimensional animation and real-time rendering. The book is designed for final-year undergraduate or first-year graduate students, who are already familiar with the basic concepts in computer graphics and programming.

It aims to provide a good foundation of advanced methods such as skeletal animation, quaternions, mesh processing and collision detection. These and other methods covered in the book are fundamental to the development of algorithms used in commercial applications as well as research.

 

10. OpenGL Game Development (Wordware Applications Library)

top OpenGL Game Development booksThe Open Graphics Library (OpenGL) is the industry standard for high-performance 3D graphics and is widely used to create leading-edge software. OpenGL Game Development shows the beginning computer programmer how to harness the power of OpenGL to create a fully functional map editor and game engine.

The book explores the basics of OpenGL and Windows programming, while focusing on the ultimate goal of developing a 3D first-person shooter.

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