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, Third Edition, is the comprehensive and definitive documentation of all OpenGL functions. This third edition covers OpenGL Version 1.2, including its newest features: 3D texture mapping; multitexturing; mipmapped texture level-of-detail control; new pixel storage formats, including packed and reversed (BGRA) formats; rescaling vertex normals; and specular lighting after texturing. In addition, this book documents the newest routines in the OpenGL Utility Library (GLU 1.3) and added functionality in the OpenGL extension to the X Window System (GLX 1.3).
The comprehensive reference section documents each set of related OpenGL commands. Each reference page contains:
This book also includes a conceptual overview of OpenGL, a summary of commands and routines, a chapter on defined constants and associated commands, and a description of the ARB extensions, including multitexture and the imaging subset.
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 industry leaders, such as 3Dlabs, Compaq, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Intergraph, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and SGI.
The OpenGL® Reference Manual, Third Edition, has been completely revised and updated for OpenGL, Version 1.2, by Dave Shreiner, in collaboration with the ARB.
What You Should Know Before Reading This Manual.
1. Introduction to OpenGL.
OpenGL Primitives and Commands.
OpenGL as a Procedural Language.
The OpenGL Execution Model.
Basic OpenGL Operation.
The OpenGL Processing Pipeline.
ARB Imaging Subset.
Additional OpenGL Commands.
Performing Selection and Feedback.
Using Display Lists.
Managing Modes and Execution.
Obtaining State Information.
OpenGL Utility Library.
Manipulating Images for Use in Texturing.
Rendering Spheres, Cylinders, and Disks.
NURBS Curves and Surfaces.
OpenGL Extension to the X Window System.
Coloring and Lighting.
Frame Buffer Operations.
Selection and Feedback.
Modes and Execution.
NURBS Curves and Surfaces.
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 180 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.
This manual is intended as the companion reference volume to the OpenGL Programming Guide, Third Edition, by Mason Woo, Jackie Neider, Tom Davis, and Dave Shreiner (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1999). 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.
This guide uses the following style conventions:
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.