Redbook or Super bible?

Hi All,
For starters I’m completely new to 3d programming and 3d programming concepts. I’m looking into picking up my first book and wanted to know your opinion. The two i’m looking at is the Redbook and the Opengl Super bible (blue book). Does anyone know which one i should read first?


Well, both!

The blue book is basically a technical reference, which lists all the comands and all the parameters that they take; so it won’t teach you 3d programming and 3d programming concepts quite as a tutorial. On the other hand, the red book is more concept-oriented so it teaches you more of those.

It all depends on how much 3d math you know, because 3d programming is composed of a lot of math stuff. On that note, I can really recommend 3d math primer for graphics and game development by Fletcher Dunn and Ian Parberry (…3049&sr=8-1 ). Won’t teach you lots of render but it will teach you the math needed for 3d games.

Also, if you’re into opengl shaders and stuff, the Orange book might come in handy (there’s a bundle of red book and orange book on amazon :slight_smile: ).

The `blue book’ ( is something different than the OpenGL Superbible ( The first is indeed a reference manual, the second is a book with tutorials.

I don’t have any experience with the Red Book, but I can recommend the Superbible: it is a great book. Keep in mind that the Superbible covers OpenGL up until version 2.1 (while the latest and greatest OpenGL version is 4.0). It will still be useful to learn about OpenGL though.

Neither. If you are new to OpenGL, you should start with OpenGL 3 and onwards because any older version of OpenGL will be obsolete pretty soon.

The only book that I know that teaches that aimed at beginners is the “Beginning OpenGL Game Programming”, Second Edition by Luke Benstead.

Sorry to dig up an old post but i had a question. I decided to get the red book and 3d math primer recommended above.

However, i found a great bargain online for the red book 5th edition version 2 which covers 1.5 to 2.0. Now, i know it’s outdated and it’s why i was able to pick up for $9.00. However, as a beginner not looking for the cutting edge techniques upfront will it suffice to get me going?

I would say GL 2 make computer graphics easier to learn (than using pure modern GL without any deprecated calls) so go ahead.
But keep this handy quick ref card near you, as each blue part is deprecated, to avoid spending too much time learning obsolete stuff :

If you learn the concepts, even obsolete ones, it will still, somehow, help. Just know what you’re after and stick to it… Fixed function can be regarder as working with “fixed” shaders.
Actually, it’s how hardware vendors (ati/nvidia) supported fixed function in the last years. Plus OGL 2 has shaders. Sure, some stuff goes away in higher versions, some (essential or just helpful) stuff gets added, but the basics are the same.

I recon if you have some program running made by you with some non-trivial shaders applied on some vbo-resident meshes, you can go on your own afterwards. Moving it to newer OpenGL versions would be a good exercise then. Just remember the way you learn to do stuff in OGL 2.0 might not be the best way, so just learn the concepts but don’t fix too much stuff in your mind.

Im starting out and I’d say the OGL Superbible is fantastic, I don’t have the red book to compare to, But its really helpful! If you get it, the Fifth Edition is the one you want, it covers 3.3 which appears to be the base for future versions. Good luck with your coding.