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OpenGL Graphics Through Applications

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OpenGL Graphics Through Applications, 9781848000223 (1848000227), Springer, 2008
This book is the result of teaching computer graphics for one and two semester, year two/three undergraduate and postgraduate lecture courses in Computer Graphics. Throughout the book, theory is followed by implementation using C/C++ and complete programs are provided with suggestions for change to enhance student understanding. During 30 years of university teaching the author has become aware of the frustration that many students suffer, of code fragments that ‘never quite work’ and programs that on a different system require system dependent additions! With this in mind all the programs given have been tested using MS C++ v6 and most have been tested using Solaris 4.2 and Borland C++ v5.

There are a number of texts which give a more in depth approach to the OpenGL pipeline and repetition has therefore been avoided by referencing such texts for the interested reader. The objective is to get students immersed in graphics applications as rapidly as possible, to develop confidence, which in turn leads to experimentation, which is so vital to the enthusiastic programmer. Theory and practice have been developed in parallel so that in many cases the reader begins to understand the strengths and weaknesses of a particular algorithm.

After a rapid ‘getting started’ introduction we look at the structure of bit map (.bmp) files as a precursor to understanding audiovisual files (.avi). This work forms a foundation for later sections on image processing and texturing. These are very simple file structures that can be converted from other image file formats using commercially available software packages. The chapter introducing image processing covers edge detection, enhancement and data capture from CAT scans. Theory and practice can be quite different and some processing appears more of an art than a science due to the variability in the image quality and the nature of the image itself.

The example of edge finding on CAT scans where different slices may have well defined edges and other more fuzzy edges due to gray hair is not always apparent to the eye. We address these problems with alternative solutions with varying degrees of success to enable readers to comprehend that algorithmic development is still an inexact science for such applications.

In Chapter 4 we move to the first chapter, which might be considered to be computer graphics with all the mathematics that is required. I do not encourage students to skip over these areas of understanding for the ‘black box’ approach will only get you so far and gaps in knowledge at an early stage will come to haunt one later on. The toil of getting to grips with material will be amply repaid as students grow in knowledge – although I am aware that many avoid the joys of mathematical rigor!
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