View Full Version : Please recommend good books on learning computer Graphics

04 April 2003, 04:14 AM
I am new here. I am looking for best CG books on the market. My interests are in animation and rendering(ray tracing,GI etc.)
I want to start from the basics. So please list the books that you think are best for learning or you gained a lot from.
I 'd like to own those books which contain information(both maths and theory) that will last for a long time. So books about directx or openGl are not in my interest range.
Thansk a lot.
Bin Zhao

04 April 2003, 06:20 AM
The standard book, the Bible of CG is:

Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice
James D. Foley (Editor) John F. Hughes (Editor) Andries van Dam (Editor) Steven K. Feiner (Editor)
Addison Wesley; 1995
ISBN: 0201848406

A few that complement it are:

Computer Animation: Algorithms and Techniques
Richard Parent
Morgan Kaufmann Publishers; 2001
ISBN: 1558605797

Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques: Theory and Practice
Mark Watt, Alan Watt
Addison Wesley; 1992
ISBN: 0201544121

Computer Graphics : Mathematical First Steps
William Hall, Patricia Egerton, Pat Egerton
Prentice Hall PTR; 1998
ISBN: 0135995728

Mathematical Elements for Computer Graphics
David Rogers, J. Alan Adams
McGraw-Hill; 1989 (2nd edition)
ISBN: 0070535302

For more conceptual stuff (no math a more gentle intro):

The Art of 3-D Computer Animation and Imaging
Isaac Victor Kerlow
John Wiley & Sons Incorporated; 2000 (2nd edition)
ISBN: 047136004X

Principles of Three-Dimensional Computer Animation: Modeling, Rendering, and Animating with 3d Computer Graphics
Michael O'Rourke
W. W. Norton & Company; 1998
ISBN: 0393730247

For rendering:

An Introduction to Ray Tracing
Andrew S. Glassner (editor)
Academic Press; 1989
ISBN: 0122861604

Realistic Ray Tracing
Peter Shirley
A K Peters; 2000
ISBN: 1568811101

Realistic Image Synthesis Using Photon Mapping
Henrik Wann Jensen
A K Peters; 2001
ISBN: 1568811470

If you want animation applied directly to computers:

Digital Character Animation 2 : Essential Techniques
George Maestri
New Riders Publishing; 1999
ISBN: 1562059300

Digital Character Animation 2, Volume II: Advanced Techniques
George Maestri
New Riders Publishing; 2001
ISBN: 0735700443

Inspired 3D Character Animation
Kyle Clark
Premier Press, Inc.; 2002
ISBN: 1931841489

On the other hand if you are moer interested in principles of animation regardless of the medium:

The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Cllie Johnston
Hyperion; 1995
ISBN: 0786860707

The Animator's Survival Kit
Richard Williams
Faber & Faber; 2002
ISBN: 0571212689

The Animator's Workbook
Tony White
Watson-Guptill Publications; 1986
ASIN: 0823002284

I'm sure there are some other recommendations.

04 April 2003, 01:43 PM
Damn malducin, every book I was going to list is on your list plus a couple I have not even heard of. Thats a very impressive line up/layout you presented. Thanks for taking the time to do it. And now thanks to you I'm headed to the bookstore today.:bounce:

04 April 2003, 03:33 PM
Originally posted by aurora
...And now thanks to you I'm headed to the bookstore today.:bounce:

Stop! Don't go to a bookstore! Instead, go to this site ( and simply search for the book(s) you want. You'll save lot's of money this way! Don't forget to choose which country you want to search in. Generally Amazon will turn out to be the cheapest but you never know...

For example, I ended up getting the retail priced @ $96 CDN Maya 4.5 Saavy book for $60CDN through Chapters on-line!!!:thumbsup: And I have a brick & mortar Chapters 12 blocks away from my house!!! It also took only 4 days to receive the book w/ free shipping.

04 April 2003, 04:30 PM
For compositing, check out
The Art and Science of Digital Compositing Ron Brinkmann.
ISBN: 0121339602

Its a bit old, but still packed with all of the fundamental concepts. I think schools still use this book as a text even..

04 April 2003, 07:43 PM
Thanks for all your replies.
Now I have only one question:
If I want to write my own renderer, what other books should I have besides those 3 malducin mentioned?
I assume to write a renderer, ray tracing and GI are not only things I should know. Are those books about modeling,lighting and general theory and algorithms for rendering helpful?

04 April 2003, 09:28 PM
Well it wasn't to hard since only a few days ago I was creating some webpages about CG related books.

As far as buying them, online is fine and dandy, though I still boycot Amazon for their stupid patent policies. Besides it's good to check books to see if you like them, and supports brick and mortar stores.

As far as writing a renderer, the one from Shirley and the one about photon mapping could be more than enough. One thing though, if you buy the Shirley book be sure to check the errata on the web, as it has a bit of typos here and there. There are many other books that are helpful. One old one in particular that I like is "Photorealism and Ray Tracing in C" by Watkins, Coy and Finlay. Mainly because it includes the source code for this nice little renderer. The Computer Image by Watt and Policarpo also contains source for a nice little renderer but I don't like that book too much as a whole.

The CG bible (the Foley, Hughes, Van Dam) should be fairly useful as it cover the basic theory of shading, texture mapping, lighting, etc.. The Watt and Watt covers a bit more in depth that with some bits of code there. Besides those there is the Graphic Gems series which contain small articles about a variety of subjects, so for example you can look how to implement a better line intersection code, etc. I do sugest checking them out first as they do cover a wide variety of topic.

As far as other books being helpful it depends how sophisticated you want to get. The 3 book (or well the Shirley and Jensen) have enough to cover all the basic aspects of writing a renderer: shading, lighting, texture mapping, basic object types (spheres, polygons, etc.), camera specification, etc. But if you want to get a bit more sophisticated, say add NURBS, subdivision surfaces or implicit surfaces to your renderer there are some advanced and quite specific books out there. For better images and efficency there is radiance caching invented by Greg Ward. There have been SIGGRAPH Course Notes about Monte Carlo renderers and photon mapping which could be useful but might be harder to find.

You might want to check the draft of Matt Pharr's (who worked at Exluna and now Nvidia) book (which wont be published untill 2004) on a literate ray tracer which is very good and is used at Stanford:

Looks good.

Speaking of which you could always check out the source from a few renderers out there to learn from.

04 April 2003, 10:23 PM
Thank you very much,malducin, especially for Matt Pharr's draft book.
I will check the books out you mentioned.

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