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I know the basics of OpenGL and I'm starting to love computer graphics more and more. I have a computer science background and have been programming for 5 years. I've been reading the orange book and kind of want to figure out a project that can push me to the next level. I don't want it to be over overwhelmingly hard, I just want a project that can help me progress.

As, of right now I've played around with basic programs in the book. Changing parameters seeing how data moves from one shader to the next.

Any Ideas of what might be a good intermediate project to tackle?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Instead of starting a bigger project to improve your skills, just make a few demos. GLSL programs tend to be pretty small, with bigger projects you spend too much time writing frameworks/opengl than actual GLSL programs. Simply start with a opengl library that lets you write GLSL (can be some old code, ogre, ardor3d, etc) such that you won't waste too much time on other things.

I would start with off porting basic rendering from the fixed function pipeline to GLSL to get a feel for it (implement per pixel lightning). Then start with some basic bump mapping, improve it with Parallax mapping, etc. Make sure you really understand everything before going on to the next project.

Then just look around the net, if you see something you like, try to implement it yourself. GPU gems (nvidia) is a great source of inspiration.

Once you know a little more, try to implement effects like deferred shading, sky scattering and depth of field. After that you'll definitely have a good feeling about what is possible with GLSL.

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