OpenGL:Reference Manual / Edition 4

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Overview

The Official Reference Document to OpenGL, Version 1.4

OpenGL is a powerful software interface used to produce high-quality computer-generated images and interactive graphics applications by rendering 2D and 3D geometric objects, bitmaps, and color images.

Officially sanctioned by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB), The OpenGL® Reference Manual, Fourth Edition, is the comprehensive and definitive documentation of all core OpenGL functions. This fourth edition has been completely revised and updated for OpenGL Versions 1.3 and 1.4.

It features coverage of cube-mapped textures, multisampling, depth textures and shadowing, multitexturing, and register combiners. In addition, this book documents all OpenGL Utility Library functions (GLU 1.3) and the OpenGL extension to the X Window System (GLX 1.3).

A comprehensive reference section documents each set of related OpenGL commands. Each reference page contains:

  • A description of the command's parameters
  • The command's effect on rendering and how OpenGL's state is modified
  • Examples
  • References to related functions
  • Errors generated by each function

This book also includes a conceptual overview of OpenGL, a summary of commands and routines, a chapter on defined constants and associated commands, and descriptions of the multitexturing and imaging subset ARB extensions.

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 Architecture Review Board (ARB), an industry consortium responsible for guiding the evolution of OpenGL and related technologies. The OpenGL ARB is composed of leaders in the computer graphics industry: 3Dlabs, Apple, ATI, Dell, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Matrox, NVIDIA, SGI, and Sun Microsystems.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Slashdot.org
Overall, the latest edition of the OpenGL Reference Manual is a great companion for OpenGL developers. To get the most from this book, readers unfamiliar or interested in learning the API should first read the OpenGL Programming Guide, 4th Edition (ISBN 0321173491) also published by Addison Wesley.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321173836
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 3/19/2004
  • Series: OpenGL Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 784
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 1.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Shreiner, a leading OpenGL consultant, 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.

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Read an Excerpt

OpenGL is a software interface to graphics hardware (the "GL" stands for Graphics Library). This interface consists of several hundred functions that allow graphics programmers to specify the objects and operations needed to produce high-quality color images of three-dimensional objects. Many of the functions are actually simple variations of each other, so in reality there are only about 190 substantially different functions.

The OpenGL Utility Library (GLU) and the OpenGL Extension tothe X Window System (GLX) provide useful supporting features and complement the core OpenGL set of functions. This manual explains what all these functions do. The following list summarizes the contents of each chapter.

  • Chapter 1, Introduction to OpenGL, provides a conceptual overview of OpenGL. It uses a high-level block diagram to explain all the major stages of processing OpenGL performs.
  • Chapter 2, Overview of Commands and Routines, describes in more detail how OpenGL processes input data (in the form of vertices specifying a geometric object or of pixels defining an image) and how you can control this processing using OpenGL functions. GLU and GLX functions are also discussed.
  • Chapter 3, Summary of Commands and Routines, lists the OpenGL commands in groups according to the tasks they perform. The full prototypes provided in this chapter allow you to use it as a quick reference once you understand what the commands accomplish.
  • Chapter 4, Defined Constants and Associated Commands, lists the constants defined in OpenGL and the commands that use them.
  • Chapter 5, OpenGL Reference Pages, which forms the bulk of this manual, contains reference pages describing each set of related OpenGL commands. Commands with parameters that differ only in data type are described together. Each reference page describes the parameters, the effect of the commands, and what errors might result from using the commands.
  • Chapter 6, GLU Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLU commands.
  • Chapter 7, GLX Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLX commands.
What You Should Know Before Reading This Manual

This manual is intended as the companion reference volume to the fourth edition of the OpenGL Programming Guide by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, Dave Shreiner, Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, and Tom Davis (Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003). Both books assume that you know how to program in C.

While the focus of the OpenGL Programming Guide is on how to use OpenGL, the focus of this reference manual is on how OpenGL works.

For a complete understanding of OpenGL, you need both types of information. Another difference between the two books is that most ofthe content of this manual is organized alphabetically, based on the assumption that you know what you don't know and therefore needonly to look up a description of a particular command. The OpenGL Programming Guide is organized like a tutorial: It explains the simpler OpenGL concepts first and builds up to the more complex ones. Although you don't have to read the OpenGL Programming Guide to understand the command descriptions in this manual, your understanding of their intended use will be much more complete if you have read it.

If you don't know much about computer graphics, start with the programming guide rather than this reference manual. In addition, consider these books.

Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice by James D. Foley, Andries van Dam, Steven K. Feiner, and John F. Hughes (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley)—This book is an encyclopedic treatment of the subject of computer graphics. It includes a wealth of information, but is probably most helpful after you have some experience with the subject.

3D Computer Graphics: A User's Guide for Artists and Designers by Andrew S. Glassner (New York: Design Press)—This book is a nontechnical, gentle introduction to computer graphics. It focuses on the visual effects that can be achieved rather than on the techniques needed to achieve them.

The Way Computer Graphics Work by Olin Lathrop (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)—This book is a general introduction to computer graphics directed at beginner- to intermediate-level computer users. It describes the general principles required for understanding computer graphics.

Style Conventions

This guide uses the following style conventions:

Bold—Command and routine names

Italics—Variables, arguments, parameter names, spatial dimensions, and document names

Regular—Enumerated types and defined constants

Monospace font—Code examples

Note that this manual uses abbreviations for command names. Many OpenGL commands are just variations of each other. For simplicity, only the base name of the command is used, and an asterisk is included to indicate that there may be more to the actual command name than is being shown. For example, glVertex* stands for all variations of the command available to specify vertices.

The commands differ mostly in the data type of arguments. Some commands differ in the number of related arguments and whether those arguments can be specified as a vector or whether they must be specified separately in a list. For example, if you use the glVertex2f command, you must supply x and y coordinates as floating-point numbers; with glVertex3sv, you must supply an array of three short integer values for x, y, and z.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
What You Should Know Before Reading This Manual viii
Style Conventions ix
Acknowledgments x

CHAPTER 1. Introduction to OpenGL 1

OpenGL Fundamentals 2
OpenGL Primitives and Commands 2
OpenGL as a Procedural Language 2
The OpenGL Execution Model 3
Basic OpenGL Operation 3

CHAPTER 2. Overview of Commands and Routines 7

The OpenGL Processing Pipeline 8
Vertices 10
ARB Imaging Subset 16
Fragments 17
Additional OpenGL Commands 20
Using Evaluators 20
Performing Selection and Feedback 20
Using Display Lists 21
Managing Modes and Execution 22
Obtaining State Information 22
OpenGL Utility Library 23
Manipulating Images for Use in Texturing 23
Transforming Coordinates 23
Polygon Tessellation 24
Rendering Spheres, Cylinders, and Disks 24
NURBS Curves and Surfaces 25
Handling Errors 26
OpenGL Extension to the X Window System 26
Initialization 26
Controlling Rendering 27

CHAPTER 3. Summary of Commands and Routines 31

Notation 32
OpenGL Commands 33
Primitives 33
Vertex Arrays 34
Coordinate Transformation 35
Coloring and Lighting 35
Clipping 36
Rasterization 36
Pixel Operations 37
Textures 37
Fog 40
Frame Buffer Operations 40
Evaluators 41
Selection and Feedback 42
Display Lists 42
Modes and Execution 43
State Queries 43
ARB Extensions 44
Imaging Subset 44
GLU Routines 46
Texture Images 46
Coordinate Transformation 46
Polygon Tessellation 47
Quadric Objects 48
NURBS Curves and Surfaces 48
State Queries 49
GLX Routines 49
Initialization 49
Controlling Rendering 50

CHAPTER 4. Defined Constants and Associated Commands 53

CHAPTER 5. OpenGL Reference Pages 93

CHAPTER 6. GLU Reference Pages 585

CHAPTER 7. GLX Reference Pages 689

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Preface

OpenGL is a software interface to graphics hardware (the "GL" stands for Graphics Library). This interface consists of several hundred functions that allow graphics programmers to specify the objects and operations needed to produce high-quality color images of three-dimensional objects. Many of the functions are actually simple variations of each other, so in reality there are only about 190 substantially different functions.

The OpenGL Utility Library (GLU) and the OpenGL Extension tothe X Window System (GLX) provide useful supporting features and complement the core OpenGL set of functions. This manual explains what all these functions do. The following list summarizes the contents of each chapter.

  • Chapter 1, Introduction to OpenGL, provides a conceptual overview of OpenGL. It uses a high-level block diagram to explain all the major stages of processing OpenGL performs.
  • Chapter 2, Overview of Commands and Routines, describes in more detail how OpenGL processes input data (in the form of vertices specifying a geometric object or of pixels defining an image) and how you can control this processing using OpenGL functions. GLU and GLX functions are also discussed.
  • Chapter 3, Summary of Commands and Routines, lists the OpenGL commands in groups according to the tasks they perform. The full prototypes provided in this chapter allow you to use it as a quick reference once you understand what the commands accomplish.
  • Chapter 4, Defined Constants and Associated Commands, lists the constants defined in OpenGL and the commands that use them.
  • Chapter 5, OpenGL Reference Pages, which forms the bulk of this manual, contains reference pages describing each set of related OpenGL commands. Commands with parameters that differ only in data type are described together. Each reference page describes the parameters, the effect of the commands, and what errors might result from using the commands.
  • Chapter 6, GLU Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLU commands.
  • Chapter 7, GLX Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLX commands.

What You Should Know Before Reading This Manual

This manual is intended as the companion reference volume to the fourth edition of the OpenGL Programming Guide by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, Dave Shreiner, Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, and Tom Davis (Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley, 2003). Both books assume that you know how to program in C.

While the focus of the OpenGL Programming Guide is on how to use OpenGL, the focus of this reference manual is on how OpenGL works.

For a complete understanding of OpenGL, you need both types of information. Another difference between the two books is that most ofthe content of this manual is organized alphabetically, based on the assumption that you know what you don't know and therefore needonly to look up a description of a particular command. The OpenGL Programming Guide is organized like a tutorial: It explains the simpler OpenGL concepts first and builds up to the more complex ones. Although you don't have to read the OpenGL Programming Guide to understand the command descriptions in this manual, your understanding of their intended use will be much more complete if you have read it.

If you don't know much about computer graphics, start with the programming guide rather than this reference manual. In addition, consider these books.

Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice by James D. Foley, Andries van Dam, Steven K. Feiner, and John F. Hughes (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley)--This book is an encyclopedic treatment of the subject of computer graphics. It includes a wealth of information, but is probably most helpful after you have some experience with the subject.

3D Computer Graphics: A User's Guide for Artists and Designers by Andrew S. Glassner (New York: Design Press)--This book is a nontechnical, gentle introduction to computer graphics. It focuses on the visual effects that can be achieved rather than on the techniques needed to achieve them.

The Way Computer Graphics Work by Olin Lathrop (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)--This book is a general introduction to computer graphics directed at beginner- to intermediate-level computer users. It describes the general principles required for understanding computer graphics.

Style Conventions

This guide uses the following style conventions:

Bold--Command and routine names

Italics--Variables, arguments, parameter names, spatial dimensions, and document names

Regular--Enumerated types and defined constants

Monospace font--Code examples

Note that this manual uses abbreviations for command names. Many OpenGL commands are just variations of each other. For simplicity, only the base name of the command is used, and an asterisk is included to indicate that there may be more to the actual command name than is being shown. For example, glVertex* stands for all variations of the command available to specify vertices.

The commands differ mostly in the data type of arguments. Some commands differ in the number of related arguments and whether those arguments can be specified as a vector or whether they must be specified separately in a list. For example, if you use the glVertex2f command, you must supply x and y coordinates as floating-point numbers; with glVertex3sv, you must supply an array of three short integer values for x, y, and z.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

OpenGL is a software interface to graphics hardware (the "GL" stands for Graphics Library). This interface consists of several hundred functions that allow graphics programmers to specify the objects and operations needed to produce high-quality color images of three-dimensional objects. Many of the functions are actually simple variations of each other, so in reality there are only about 190 substantially different functions.

The OpenGL Utility Library (GLU) and the OpenGL Extension to the X Window System (GLX) provide useful supporting features and complement the core OpenGL set of functions. This manual explains what all these functions do. The following list summarizes the contents of each chapter.

  • Chapter 1, Introduction to OpenGL, provides a conceptual overview of OpenGL. It uses a high-level block diagram to explain all the major stages of processing OpenGL performs.
  • Chapter 2, Overview of Commands and Routines, describes in more detail how OpenGL processes input data (in the form of vertices specifying a geometric object or of pixels defining an image) and how you can control this processing using OpenGL functions. GLU and GLX functions are also discussed.
  • Chapter 3, Summary of Commands and Routines, lists the OpenGL commands in groups according to the tasks they perform. The full prototypes provided in this chapter allow you to use it as a quick reference once you understand what the commands accomplish.
  • Chapter 4, Defined Constants and Associated Commands, lists the constants defined in OpenGL and the commands that use them.
  • Chapter 5, OpenGL Reference Pages, which forms the bulk of this manual,contains reference pages describing each set of related OpenGL commands. Commands with parameters that differ only in data type are described together. Each reference page describes the parameters, the effect of the commands, and what errors might result from using the commands.
  • Chapter 6, GLU Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLU commands.
  • Chapter 7, GLX Reference Pages, contains reference pages for all GLX commands.

What You Should Know Before Reading This Manual

This manual is intended as the companion reference volume to the fourth edition of the OpenGL® Programming Guide, by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, Dave Shreiner, Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, and Tom Davis (Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2003). Both books assume that you know how to program in C.While the focus of the OpenGL Programming Guide is on how to use OpenGL, the focus of this reference manual is on how OpenGL works. For a complete understanding of OpenGL, you need both types of information. Another difference between the two books is that most of the content of this manual is organized alphabetically, based on the assumption that you know what you don't know and therefore need only to look up a description of a particular command. The OpenGL® Programming Guide is organized like a tutorial: it explains the simpler OpenGL concepts first and builds up to the more complex ones. Although you don't have to read the OpenGL® Programming Guide to understand the command descriptions in this manual, your understanding of their intended use will be much more complete if you have read it. If you don't know much about computer graphics, start with the programming guide rather than this reference manual. In addition, consider these books.

  • Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, Second Edition by James D. Foley, Andries van Dam, Steven K. Feiner, and John F. Hughes (Reading, MA: Addison- Wesley). This book is an encyclopedic treatment of the subject of computer graphics. It includes a wealth of information but is probably best read after you have some experience with the subject.
  • 3D Computer Graphics: A User's Guide for Artists and Designers by Andrew S. Glassner (New York: Design Press). This book is a nontechnical, gentle introduction to computer graphics. It focuses on the visual effects that can be achieved rather than on the techniques needed to achieve them.
  • The Way Computer Graphics Work by Olin Lathrop (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.). This book is a general introduction to computer graphics directed at the beginner- to intermediate-level computer users. It describes the general principles required for understanding computer graphics.

Style Conventions

This guide uses the following style conventions:

  • Bold--Command and routine names
  • Italics--Variables, arguments, parameter names, spatial dimensions, and document names
  • Regular--Enumerated types and defined constants
  • Monospace font--Code examples

Note that this manual uses abbreviations for command names. Many OpenGL commands are just variations of each other. For simplicity, only the base name of the command is used, and an asterisk is included to indicate t to the actual command name than is being shown. For example, glVertexstands for all variations of the command available to specify vertices.

The commands differ mostly in the data type of arguments. Some commands differ in the number of related arguments and whether those arguments can be specified as a vector or whether they must be specified separately in a list. For example, if you use the glVertex2f command, you must supply x and y coordinates as floating-point numbers; with glVertex3sv, you must supply an array of three short integer values for x, y, and z.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2004

    Solid desktop reference for OpenGL developers

    The fourth edition of ¿OpenGL Reference Manual¿ edited by Dave Shreiner provides an official command reference for the OpenGL graphics library version 1.4. Published by Addison Wesley (ISBN 0-321-17383-X) the text is approximately 760 pages and has a suggested retail price of $59.99. <p> First introduced in 1992, OpenGL is an industry standard graphical application programming interface (API) that supports 2D and 3D rendering across a host of platforms. The Architectural Review Board (ARB) governs the OpenGL API and oversees the adoption of new interface functions. Functions (or commands) within the API are usually simple and discrete. A developer calls a series of these small functions in sequence to specify rendering operations. To help utilize the library, the ¿OpenGL Reference Manual¿ supplies key functional documentation in a uniform manner. <p> The first two chapters provide an introduction to OpenGL, and an overview of the OpenGL architecture. The provided information is largely for reference rather than instruction. Generally, it is assumed the reader has a working knowledge of the pipeline already. <p> The third and fourth chapters list different groupings of the functional commands to provide the reader with several methods to index and reference functions. The third chapter details all each official OpenGL command categorized by functionality. The fourth chapter lists the various OpenGL constants that are compatible with each command. <p> Beginning with the fifth chapter, 160 official OpenGL commands are described. Listed alphabetically, every command has the following sections: Name, Function Prototype, Parameters, Description, Notes, Errors, See Also, and (sometimes when appropriate) Associated Gets. The coverage of each command spans an average of 3 pages. <p> The last two chapters describe fifty-two of the OpenGL Utility Library (GLU) and thirty-five OpenGL X-Windows extension commands. The reference format is identical but slightly shorter (averaging about 2 pages per command). <p> Overall, the organization and consistency is excellent. Often, material is duplicated per command to save the reader cross-referencing other sections of the book. Throughout the text, the wording is clear and unambiguous (if a bit dry) ¿ exactly what you¿d expect from a reference book of this nature. <p> The book does have a few shortcomings, however. There is only a small trace of sample source code. While the commands are presented alphabetically by class, the book contained no overall index. OpenGL Extensions (pixel and vertex shader commands, etc.) are not provided since they¿re not officially part of the Standard. Finally, having an electronic version of the text would have been a nice touch ¿ especially one that integrated with the common development environments to provide context sensitive help or electronic searching. <p> Overall, the latest edition of the ¿OpenGL Reference Manual¿ is a great companion for OpenGL developers. To get the most from this book, readers unfamiliar or interested in learning the API should first read the ¿OpenGL Programming Guide, 4th Edition¿ (ISBN 0-3-211-73491) also published by Addison Wesley.

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