Chapter 1. An Introduction to OpenGL

OpenGL is a good 3D graphics API.

When asked “What makes a good 3D graphics API?”, most software developers will probably mention the following:

• It must allow real-time rendering—that is, it must be efficient.

• It must be widely supported.

• It must be easy to use.

Efficiency is often in the eye of the beholder. Many applications require frame rates that allow real-time interactivity, whereas significantly lower frame rates suffice for applications such as offline video production and visualizing terabytes of scientific data. If the application isn’t the bottleneck, and the API is well designed, API efficiency should always be an implementation issue. A good API design should facilitate and never hinder ...

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