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May 022011

The Basics of the Art of Lighting is a three part tutorial by Audri Phillips from Intel. Autodesk Maya is the tool used in this tutorial, but the concepts are universal and useful to learn in order to understand the light interactions that occur in the real world.

Ultimately, lighting is about controlling and shaping light and shadows, reflections, refractions, and even color-whether you do it on a computer or on a film set. This kind of control requires an understanding of how light works, the aesthetic art of lighting, and techniques for lighting. This knowledge helps you develop your eye so that you can look with understanding at your image, clearly see it, and know what needs to be done. By looking and learning as much as you can about color and lighting, you can decide which information to use to create your lighting design-be it naturalistic or stylized in a myriad of ways.

Apr 282011

The code for several demos in the GLUT tutorial was plagued with a int to void * conversion. While this seems to work perfectly in Windows, at least in this case, Linux users found out that it did not even compile.

The code has been updated and hopefully the problem is gone. Please do report any problems you find. I’m sure there must be some bugs still on the loose…

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Apr 202011

ShaderGen is an old tool from 3D labs, but its usefulness is not gone. The tool creates shaders that mimic the results of a set of fixed function state. There is a large set of options to define a state as available in OpenGL compatibility mode. Lighting, Fog, and all the other features that are gone in core profiles. Select the options you desire, check the result with fixed functionality, and then press “generate”. The tool creates the shaders that emulate those fixed function features. It only produces GLSL 1.2 code, but conversion shouldn’t be an issue.

Apr 112011

GLUT was conceived by Mark Kilgard with the goal of providing a simple, yet powerful enough, toolkit to deal with the intricacies of the windowing system when building OpenGL applications. In my opinion GLUT was a very effective solution and completely fits the bill. As far as I know, GLUT is still the simplest toolkit around and yet it does most of what is needed for simple prototypes.

GLUT however is not free of criticism. Complaints about the lack of control on the event loop are abundant on the web and some extra functionality, context creation and multisampling, would be most welcome.

GLUT is not open source hence it could not be modified, so GLUT clones have appeared. These kept the API (all gluts functions are usually implemented exactly with the same name) but improved and extended it to address the above mentioned issues.

There are open source versions of GLUT, such as freeGLUT and OpenGLUT. They all kept the API so 99.9% of what will be presented in this tutorial is still valid. Nonetheless these new versions do have some extensions that make it worth a try. Check out the extensions in freeGLUT  here.