Best Computer Graphics Books for Beginners (OpenGL, Vulkan…)

Computer Graphics is a vast topic with many different technologies and software that can be used. To assist you on your journey, we have compiled together here some of the Best Books on Computer Graphics for beginners.

We have included books on a wide range of topics, such as OpenGL and Vulkan (Two of most popular technologies used for Computer Graphics) as well as several books which deal with Computer Graphics in a more “general” sense (not based around a particular technology).

1. Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice

The book “Computer Graphics: Principals and Practice“, is widely considered the “traditional bible” for 3D computer graphics and animation. It is the most exhaustive overview of computer graphics techniques available, despite its age.

The book is a bit old, and is missing some newer Computer Graphics concepts, but it is still a great choice for developing your base concepts. Also a good choice as a reference book for more experienced Computer Graphic Designers.

Note: There is a newer edition of this book available.

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2. 3D Graphics Rendering Cookbook (Vulkan and OpenGL)

Best Computer Graphics Books for Beginners

The 3D Graphics Rendering Cookbook teaches you modern rendering techniques, how to leverage and use Vulkan and OpenGL, create a rendering pipeline and much more.

The book will take you step-by-step through the process of building an actual 3D Graphics Engine. You will learn new concepts along the way one by one, and learn how to integrate them into one final product. Finally you will learn how to further optimize and fine-tune your graphics application to make it industry ready.

This book is easily best choice for anyone interested in learning how to make 3D Graphics engine.

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3. Essential Mathematics for Games and Interactive Applications:

Best Computer Graphics Books for Beginners

Most people do not understand the importance of Mathematics in 3D Graphics and Games. When the entire concept of “3d rendering” is based around mathematical operations and algorithms, it makes sense that we focus on it heavily.

This book aims to teach you all the Essential Mathematics that you need to know for Graphics Rendering. You will learn how to properly animate, simulate, and render scenes, while also learning about the underlying mathematical process.

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4. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics

Fundamentals of Computer Graphics has been a very popular entry in the Computer Graphics territory that has reached its 5th edition. Written by various experts, this book is an ideal resource on computer graphics for both new beginners and for industry professionals.

The book focuses on building your intuition and concepts on how the various simple and everyday things we see are really done. Such as displaying an image on to the screen. You will learn the various techniques involved in these processes, such as ray-tracing, sampling theory, texture mapping, rasterization and many more.

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5. Computer Graphics, C Version (2nd Edition) 

Best Computer Graphics Books for Beginners

This book is yet another popular classic that is widely recommended. Computer Graphics, C Version caters to programmers of all levels, and does not assume that you have any prior knowledge about Computer Graphics.

You will be taught everything from the very basics of Computer Graphics, all the way upto the advanced concepts. It is a rather old book, but this will actually help beginners build up their basic concepts better, and will also be useful as a reference book for more experienced users.

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6. OpenGL Superbible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference 7th Edition

This here is a book entirely dedicated to the learning of OpenGL. Normally one would have to go through the documentation for OpenGL to learn how to use it. This can be quite tough however, hence people often turn to other mediums such as videos and books.

The OpenGL Superbible is an updated and definitive guide for OpenGL (4.5. It clearly explains OpenGL’s newest APIs, key extensions, shaders, and essential related concepts.

For those of you who do not know what OpenGL is; it is the worlds leading 3D-API for computer graphics. It makes sense to learn such a powerful API, and thus this book is a great choice for any Computer Graphic Designer to have.

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7. Vulkan Programming Guide

Lately a newer 3D API for Computer Graphics called “Vulkan” has gained alot of popularity and widespread adoption. Many Games and Applications are now being created using Vulkan instead of OpenGL for various reasons (mainly performance).

Since it is so new, and is constantly updating, it can be hard to find the proper resource to learn Vulkan. Currently one of the best options out there is the Vulkan Programming Guide which claims to be an authoritative reference for the Vulkan API.

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This marks the end of the Best Computer Graphics Books for Beginners Article. Any suggestions or contributions for CodersLegacy are more than welcome. Questions regarding the tutorial content can be asked in the comments section below.

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