Review of OpenSceneGraph 3.0 Beginner’s Guide by Rui Wang & Xuelei Qian

When asked to review OpenSceneGraph 3.0: Beginner’s Guide I was excited to hear that a published book on OpenSceneGraph 3.0 was coming out.  OpenSceneGraph has grown into such a first class tool that it’s high time some books start hitting the shelves on how to use it.  The dearth of good published material reminds me a little bit of OpenGl back in 1998 – it was difficult to find a book on it anywhere outside of the classic red, blue and white books.

This book is called a beginners guide but has useful bits for anyone who seriously uses the library.  OpenSceneGraph is simply amazing; but getting up to speed and just compiling and building can be daunting for the first time user.  OpenSceneGraph 3.0 a Beginner’s Guide excels in covering all the details in setting things up in the first few chapters and brings out a number of important gotchas that can really cause you to spin your wheels if you miss them.

Chapters 1-3 quickly get you setup and running the sample programs in your build environment.  It’s obvious that the authors have a preference for Windows but the important Linux information is provided as well.  Chapters 4-9 get you up to speed on the basics of using scene graphs and of course OpenSceneGraph in particular.  It is quite comprehensive covering the basic principles of scene graphs and exploring all the various nuances that you may need to explore – stereo rending, multiple windows and viewports, etc.  This in addition to covering the core basics of models, animation, lighting, texturing etc.  Chapters 10-12 cover more advanced topics such as plugins, visual components and optimizing the rendering process.  A number of pop quizes throughout the book ask well thought out questions about each chapters topics.

At 385 pages I was highly impressed at the depth and scope of coverage.  The book does indeed deliver on it’s claims of being accessible for those brand new to OpenSceneGraph; although it does require a firm understanding of C++ of course  – it’s not a primer on that.  To be frank I almost find the title a bit deceiving – this book definitely should sit on the shelf of any developer of OpenSceneGraph at any skill level.

I look forward to hearing back from others who have read and used this book.  I would recommend a cover to cover read for any OpenSceneGraph user.

The publishers site for this book is available for your perusal here.

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