Orange Book in 2019 still suitable?

Hello, do you still recommend the orange book:

for learning the GLSL language in-depth, or do you believe it is outdated in 2019?. As I know this book doesn’t teach anything about compute and tesselation shaders which are an ingredient of GLSL > 3. I have seen at, that in the best sellers list of OpenGL at the first places the new red book and this one: are shown.

What book do you believe is more suitable to learn the GLSL language in deep? Or do you recommend another one?.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s reasonable to learn GLSL as a distinct construct from OpenGL. After all, everything you do in GLSL is in some way built on stuff you’ve been provided with from OpenGL.

Nothing I’ve seen in those reviews suggest that the Orange Book is particularly good at teaching GLSL. And a “cookbook” is very much not a tool for learning a technology (it’s a tool for finding specific solutions to specific problems using that language. That’s not the same thing). While the quality of OpenGL learning materials on the web isn’t great, I’d suggest online materials over either of these books as a starting point.

Also, the GLSL specification, while very much not a learning guide, is quite readable. It’s comprehensive in a way most books won’t be, and it will tell you exactly what each feature is doing.

That is right, OpenGL and GLSL come together. Nevertheless, GLSL does the whole shading and vertex operations while OpenGL instructs the GPU to handle the drawing and memory operations on a high level like blending, culling, etc. I agree with you that there are not many but awesome online places like shadertoy, theshaderbook etc. to learn and practice GLSL, but I believe that a solid understanding of the math and operations behind that is also important and this can only be taught by a textbook.

The main problem that exists (and maybe that is the reason why there are no more new tutorials for OpenGL) is that because of game engines like Unity, UE there is no need to invent the wheel from scratch and you can get most of shaders ready implemented. In other words, every newbie or amateur is able to create a graphical application or game, without having a solid CG theoretical background like the past years :(.

I have them both here, and yes I think they would both be useful from a learner’s perspective. The Orange Book has more content on how to implement various shading techniques and how to drive those shaders from the GL side, whereas the Cookbook has less of that but does cover some features in later GLSL versions.

Flip though them both and see which one matches your learning style and the content you’re aiming to learn. I personally prefer the layout and readability of the Orange Book, but this is about what “you” like best. With either you can get a good feel for the “overall context” involved in writing shaders, giving you the mental hooks to hang further knowledge on. Once you’ve got that down, then you’ll gradually find it easier to just dive into the GLSL and GL specs to find specific details that you need, referring to the books less and less, typically poking into them via the index. It’s at that stage that the “deep” comes in.

Thanks for sharing your experience with these books. One additional option I have encountered is the new red book. As I could see it schows a lot of the new shader techniques and is the newest one of all the serie of orange, red, blue books. Nevertheless, like you wrote the orange book is maybe the best choice to learn the basic shading concepts. I will consider to take a look at both of these books and decide which one suits best to me.

That’s a good option as well (have that one here too). I guess it just boils down to what you’re most interested in. If you want to focus on the absolute latest shading language features and interfaces, then go with the cookbook or the red book.

THX dark, I am interested to focus on both, in general I want to develop a professional 3D framework embedded in a GUI API which can be used for creating apps in engineering, health care, automotive etc. So both the visual and the drawing operations are very important for this task. For example painting a vehicle should approximate the real visual appearance otherwise it is useless. No maybe you ask, Why do you not use a game engine?. The answer is C++ is not compareble to C# (Unity) for performance and flexibility and UE is mostly designed for AAA games and animations for studios. In addition, I am a C++ fan :).

Ok, sounds good.

Given that we’ve mentioned the:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention:

Written in 2016, it’s almost as current as the Red Book (nothing for OpenGL 4.6, but the deltas from 4.5 aren’t large). It does describe how to use shaders, and has some coverage of shading techniques, though not as much as some of the others. Worth a scan to see if it might be useful to you.

Given that we’ve mentioned the: OpenGL Programming Guide, 9th ed

Yes, and this is the book I have ordered now :).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention: OpenGL Superbible, 7th ed.

I have the old 6th version but I didn’t like the teaching style. There is too much blabla to come to the point and that is the reason why I put it by side. I don’t know how the 7th version is, but I prefer other books and learning sources instead of this one. The way I have started to learn OpenGL (and I am still using to refresh basic knowledge) was the learnopengl tutorial. This is an awesome tutorial to start with but for more advanced concepts (i.e. tesselation, compute shaders, shadow mapping etc.), the red book and the series of that are more suited because they describe more complex operations in computer graphics. Thank you for all your recommendations may the force be with you :).

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