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The best book on the nitty gritty of graphics that I've found is Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice

However, as this was written in the early 90s, it is a little out of date.

Are there some similar books which go over the more recent developments?

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closed as too broad by Byte56 Oct 26 '13 at 15:14

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think this is confusing, since it's about fundamentals that you're asking and you need something modern :) – legends2k Dec 28 '12 at 4:12

Real-Time Rendering

Not for the faint of heart.

Real-Time Rendering

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+1. However this book is more about "the top of the current graphics knowledge" than about fundamentals. But this is a must read anyhow and this is also my favorite on this subject. – Valkea May 14 '11 at 0:23

For basics I would suggest

CG Fundamentals

*these aren't OpenGL books, they just use OpenGL to teach rudimentary CG concepts

Math Basics

To be proficient in computer graphics or even to understand the basics, a decent amount of mathematical concepts needs to be grasped; it requires a decent understanding of trigonometry and linear algebra. For this I recommend

  • Vector math tutorial for 3D Computer Graphics is by far the best resource for learning vectors and matrices. It is also interactive in that at the end of each section there's a test question to verify and seal the understanding of that topic.


Out of these math books, the most intuitive is the first with lot of funny anecdotes in between, the last is for hard core math fanatics (if you're afraid of symbol vomit, steer clear of it), although it's a good book for experienced CG programmers who need a reference. The one in between is really good in that it details out somethings which the other two (or many books for that matter) omit, and in the spectrum of intuitiveness and hard core math it's in between.

The reason I didn't suggest Real-Time Rendering is that it's not more of a "hands-on, get your hands dirty" CG book; it's a broad survey of techniques used in the industry than on fundamentals of CG and more of theory than workouts.

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I've heard that the GPU Gems series of books are a really great read. You can purchase them (a quick search on will bring up some results), but they are also free to read online:

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GPU gems are great, but nothing to start with ... – Notabene May 15 '11 at 17:21

We used Computer Graphics with OpenGL (Hearn & Baker) when I was in university and I liked it a lot. Despite its name, it gives the fundamentals of 2D and 3D graphics and rendering. OpenGL is used as example when doing 3D graphics, but only after the fundamental maths and algorithms have been presented.

After that, Real Time Rendering as already suggested.

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