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OpenGL for physics

  1. May 14, 2007 #1
    I want to learn 3d graphics programming from a math point of view. Can anyone recommend a good book? The best I've found is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0521821037/khongrou-20

    [I'm a physics major and like doing computational science stuff]
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2007 #2
    If you want OpenGL, maybe try the official OpenGL books? They'll have a lot on the basics of rendering pipelines, etc.

    If you'd like something a little higher level, maybe try VTK: http://www.vtk.org. The emphasis in their books (and free software) will be more on visualizing scientific data, less on the actual algorithms.
  4. May 15, 2007 #3
    i would avoid using vtk...as a physics student i would assume you want to do dynamics rendering and not just static. VTK is inherently slow if you do lots of dynamics and the books for VTK are written in script(python? no wait tcl/tk). Its not hard to learn VTK C syntax through the script but its annoying and takes a long time, time away from other stuff you can do as a student.

    If you just wanna learn how to use opengl: the red book and blue book(the official books mentioned above) are probably your best bet. They are on the official site,i think its opengl.org or its from SUN? just search "opengl red book"

    If you want hands on tutorials: Nehe Tutorials and Nate Robins(i hope thats the correct name and spelling) used to be open source i Don't know if they are now...but Nate Robins code is probably better because it follows most opengl book schemes

    if you want to learn about interactive camera navigation:
    www.libsdl.org OR glut(opengl's version) which are the easier GUI sdks to use with Opengl.

    if you want to learn about 3D math involved in 3D engine progrmaming:
    with opengl: I suggest picking up the Opengl for Game programming books, the one i learned from is from the primatech series(do they still exists) editor andre lamothe
    This one has an entire physics one at the back but its in OO design

    OR david eberly's "3D game engine development" also in OO design

    [and the better 2 that i have been introduced]
    if you want to learn just the coding for the mathematics & physics(classical?) components
    Eric Lengyel: 3D Mathematic for Game programming( or something by a similar name)
    has no code but its structure will lead you in the order you should code stuff and it covers so much of 3D math & physics including basic numeircal principles if you haven't already covered them as well as curves/surfaces and bounding volumes/collision stuff.

    Christof Ericson: Realtime collision detection. The book I am currently working through.
    Its got all the geometry stuff that the lengyel book doesn't have organized in a better order but its first few chapter orders don't compare to the lengyel book.
    The great thing abotu this book its got code, gives you a great starting point for the code, has an extensive geometry section, and talks about spatial partitioning as well as robustness. Bad thing is that though most of the functions are complete..there are alot of snippet codes and "if you want to go further look at this reference".

    [0] Chris Hecker's papers on 3D physics if you can find them (siggraph or the gaming one)
    [1] THe bible for graphics Foley and Van Damm (u go to waterloo right? this book should be in the library).
  5. May 15, 2007 #4


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  6. May 15, 2007 #5
    Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll definitely look up some of these books.

    Has anyone heard of the book I linked? It was linked on the OpenGL website and I was especially interested in the bit on raytracing. Based on the contents, at what level is it at? I've only taken a year of CS and a basic numerical analysis class.
  7. May 15, 2007 #6


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    If I were you, I would actually skip OpenGL completely, and just write your own ray-tracer. Look into the open-source povray, for example.

    - Warren
  8. May 15, 2007 #7
    ooo I never knew about povray. Thanks!
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