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Miller, who was editor-in-chief of PC Magazine from 1991 to 2005, authors this blog for PC Magazine to share his thoughts on PC-related products. For instance, she pointed to the new Bing Food and Drink application, which has a "hands-free mode" that turns on the camera and lets you use gestures to advance through the recipes, so you don't have to touch the screen if you have dirty hand. Visual Studio 2013 is the centerpiece of Microsoft's developer strategy, adding more focus on mobile and connected applications in this update, which is available in preview today. In this article I will introduce the reader to the OpenGL rendering API (application programming interface). OpenGL is a rendering API (application programming interface) that provides hardware accelerated (GPU) rendering functions.
OpenGL was originally created by a company called Silicon Graphics in 1991 and released in 1992 [2]. In this diagram, the blue nodes represent the stages of the rendering pipeline that are still used in the current OpenGL rendering pipeline. The first step in the graphics application is sending the vertex data to the GPU for rendering.
GL_LINE_STRIP: Will draw an open connected series of lines where each vertex is connected by a line segment.
GL_LINE_LOOP: Will draw a closed connected series of lines where each vertex is connected by a line segment. GL_TRIANGLE_FAN: This primitive type is useful for drawing circles with any number of vertices where the first vertex is the central vertex that is used to connect all additional vertices in the list.
Similar to the quads primitives types, the polygon primitives types have also been removed from the OpenGL specification as of OpenGL 3.2. To draw a connected (convex) polygon in OpenGL 2.1, you can use the GL_POLYGON primitive type.
The next stage of the OpenGL fixed-function pipeline is the Transformation and Lighting stage (often simply referred to as T&L). During the Primitive Assembly stage, OpenGL will convert the primitives from the basic primitive types into triangles. The Rasterizer is responsible for converting the primitives from the primitive assembly into fragments (which eventually become the individual screen pixels). The Color Sum stage is used to add-in a secondary color to the geometry after the textures have been applied.
During the Alpha Test stage, fragments can be discarded if the alpha value is below a certain threshold.
During the Depth test stage, a fragment can be discarded if the current framebuffer has a depth buffer, and the depth test stage (GL_DEPTH_TEST) is enabled and it fails the depth comparison function [6]. The stencil test can be used to discard fragments that fail a stencil comparison operation based on the content of the stencil buffer [7]. If color blending is enabled (glEnable(GL_BLEND)) then blending will be performed based on the blend function and the blend equations.
If you are using a color palette with few colors, you can enable the GL_DITHER state to inform OpenGL to try to simulate a larger color palette by mixing colors in close proximity. The stages of the fixed-function rendering pipeline were described in the previous section. The previously defined fixed-function transformation and lighting stage are now replaced by the programmable vertex shader program.
The fragment shader program replaces all of the complicated texture blending, color sum, and fog operations from the fixed-function pipeline.
The primary responsibility of the fragment program is to determine the final color (or colors in the case of multiple color targets) of the fragment. OpenGL 3.2 (released in 2009) introduced an additional stage to the programmable shader pipeline called the geometry shader [9].
The geometry shader comes after the vertex shader in the programmable shader pipeline and therefore the output of the vertex shader becomes the input to the geometry shader. OpenGL 4.0 (released in 2010) introduced a set of three additional stages to the programmable shader pipeline.
The three parts of the tessellation stages are the Tesselation Control Shader (TCS), the Tessellator (tessellation primitive generator), and the Tessellation Evaluation Shader (TES) [10]. The Tesselation Control Shader (TCS) is an optional shader stage (it is not required to specify a shader program for this stage). The Tessellator (or Tessellation primitive generator) is a fixed stage in the rendering pipeline.
The purpose of the tessellator is to determine how many vertices to generate, in which order to generate them, and what kind of primitives to build out of them [10]. The Tessellation Evaluation Shader (TES) is invoked for each tessellation coordinate generated by the tessellation primitive generator (the previous stage).
Before we start setting up the project, we need to obtain a few dependencies that we will be using to facilitate the creation of the OpenGL application. In the next sections, I will step through the process of creating a project in Visual Studio 2012 that is suitable for creating OpenGL applications. In this article, I will only show how to create a minimal shader program that consits of a simple vertex shader and a fragment shader.
Vertex Shader: Create a simple vertex shader that will transform the vertices from object-space to clip-space.
Fragment Shader: Create a simple fragment shader that will determine the final color of the fragment that will appear on screen.
In the Win32 Application Wizard – Application Settings dialog box, select the Empty project check box and click the Finish button.
You should now have an empty project that we can start creating our first OpenGL application in. From the dialog box that appears, select the C++ File (.cpp) template from the Visual C++ > Code template category. Before we start coding, let’s setup the project correctly to facilitate good development practices. Open the project properties dialog box and change the Output Directory to bin\ for both the Debug and Release build configurations. Change the Target Name to $(ProjectName)d for the Debug build configuration and leave it as $(ProjectName) for the Release build configuration.
We also need to tell Visual Studio to use the bin folder as the Working Directory when debugging the application. In the Debugging properties, change the Working Directory to $(OutDir) for both the Debug and Release build configurations.
We also want to place the dependencies in a location that can be accessed by several projects in our solution. We need to update the project settings so that Visual Studio knows where to find the include files and compiled library files.
The FreeGLUT and the GLEW library need to be compiled but the GLM library does not require any compilation (GLM is a header-only library).
FreeGLUT provides Visual Studio 2012 project files so we can add this project to our solution directly. To make sure FreeGLUT builds the static libraries, open the build Configuration Manager (Build > Configuration Manager… from the main menu).
Do the same for the Release solution configuration but make sure the configuration for the freeglut project is set to Release_Static. Optionally, you can also edit the build configurations and remove configurations that you do not want to see in the Build and Platform drop-down menus in Visual Studio.
Build the FreeGLUT libraries for both the Release and Debug build configurations by right-clicking on the freeglut project in the solution explorer and selecting Build from the pop-up menu that appears. When we build the solution, want to make sure that the FreeGLUT binaries are built before our own application is built. Open the Project Dependencies dialog by selecting Project > Project Dependencies… from the main menu. Open the Project Properties dialog for your project and select the Linker > General properties. The library paths may not be present until you have built the freeglut library files for both the Debug and Release configurations.
Right-click on the glew_static project and select Properties from the pop-up menu that appears. In the Configuration Properties > General property tree change the Platform Toolset property to Visual Studio 2012 (v110).
Build the GLEW library binaries by right-clicking on the project and select Build from the pop-up menu that appears.

To fix this error, open the glew.rc file by double-clicking on the error in the Output window. To ensure that the glew_static project is built before our own project, we can create a dependency between the glew_static project and ours.
From the Projects pull-down menu, make sure you select the Tutorial1 project is selected (or whatever name you chose for your own project). Doing this guarantees that Visual Studio will not try to compile our project unless all of it’s dependencies are built first. There is very little setup to perform for the GLM math library because it is a header-only library.
One nice feature that GLM provides is visualizers that tell Visual Studio how to display the vector and matrix types in the debugger.
First, we’ll start off by making a global header file that can be included in all of our source files. You usually only have to include a single header file to get consistent functionality throughout all of your CPP files. You should not include 3rd party headers and system header files in your local project’s header files. The GLEW_STATIC macro definition is required when we are linking against the GLEW static library. It is useful to note that the wglew.h header file includes OpenGL extensions that are specific to Windows only.
Using this technique will ensure this header file is only included when compiling on Windows. It is also important to note that the GLEW header files must be included before the freeglut headers.
The FREEGLUT_STATIC macro definition is required when linking with the FreeGLUT static library. This implies that we don’t need to explicitly specify this file in the linker settings but I prefer to be explicit about which files my project is linking against in the project settings. By the way, you may have noticed that we don’t need to install any dependencies for OpenGL itself. The GLM_FORCE_RADIANS macro definition is required to ensure that all of the GLM functions consistently use radians instead of degrees for all of the math functions. Now that we have our global header file defined, lets get to work on the main application code.
Download and extract the file to your project folder and include the header and source files in your project in Visual Studio. Next, let’s define some macros that can be used later when setting up our vertex buffers. The g_Rotation variable is a quaternion that is used to store the rotation of the object in the scene. Vertices can only be shared this way using an index buffer if all of the vertex attributes are the same. Next we need to define a few variables to store handles to the objects that will be created by OpenGL. The g_vaoCube variable will be used to refer to the Vertex Array Object that will be used to render our cube. The g_ShaderProgram variable will be used to store the reference to the compiled and linked shader program. The g_uniformMVP variable is used to reference another variable that is defined in the shader program. Next, we will declare some functions that will be used as callbacks for windowing events (keyboard, mouse, rendering, and idle).
The DisplayGL function will be called whenever the contents of the window need to be redrawn (for example, if something in the scene moves or the window is resized). Questa edizione passerà alla storia per essere stata il palcoscenico di presentazione di Windows 8. I concetti chiave, a suo dire, sono la prossima generazione di hardware e le nuove occasioni per gli sviluppatori.
Miller is chief information officer at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm.
CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows head Julie Larson-Green didn't quite apologize for the Windows 8 but certainly indicated that the company understood that a lot of things needed to be changed.
A demo showed four Web view controls with two WebGL and two streaming videos, running simultaneously on the same screen. The green nodes represent stages of the fixed-function pipeline that have been replaced by different stages in the programmable shader pipeline in later versions of the OpenGL API. For each additional vertex after the 3rd, the triangle is closed by adding an edge from the to the vertex. In this stage the vertex is transformed into view space by transforming the vertex position and vertex normal by the current model-view matrix (GL_MODELVIEW). For example, if a triangle strip of consisting of N vertices, N-2 triangles will be drawn [3].
Vertex attributes are interpolated across the face of the vertex for attributes such as color, texture coordinates, and fog coordinates. If the specular highlights are computed in the lighting stage (before textures are applied) the resulting effect simply makes the texture brighter instead of adding-in the specular highlights. This is useful when rendering outdoor scenes when far away geometry will be clipped away by the far clipping plane (clipping planes are defined by the projection matrix).
This stage only functions if the GL_ALPHA_TEST is enabled and the framebuffer uses a color mode that stores the alpha value (such as RGBA). By default, a fragment will be discarded if its depth value is greater than the depth value of the current fragment (that is, it is behind the current fragment). This is similar to the effect you get when you are using an indexed image compression algorithm such as Graphics Interchange Format [8] (GIF) which uses a color palette with few colors. This gives the graphics programmer more flexibility regarding how the vertices are transformed (we can even decide not to transform the vertices at all) and we can even perform the lighting computations in the fragment shader to achieve per-pixel lighting (as opposed to per-vertex which was a limitation of the fixed-function pipeline).
The fixed-function pipeline performs a lot of the operations that beginning graphics programmers will have difficulty with (for example, the vertex transformations are always a difficult concept to master). Commonly, this is done by multiplying the vertex position by the model-view-projection matrix (commonly referred to as the MVP matrix). The graphics programmer must create a fragment program that performs these operations (or not if you don’t care about the distance fog for example). The fragment program can be used to compute the per-pixel lighting as well as blend together multiple textures to determine the final fragment color. The geometry shader can be used to process primitives of one type and generate primitives of another type.
Patches are simply a stream of vertices that are to be considered a single patch primitive. The primary responsibility of the TCS is to determine how much to tessellate the output patch [1]. The primary purpose of the TES is to determine the final attributes of each of the tessellated vertices. The purpose of the GLUT library is to provide window, keyboard, and mouse functionality in a platform-independent way.
This makes writing math functions in C++ very similar to the math functions you will see in GLSL shader code.
I will step through the different stages of the programmable shader pipeline to see how we can use OpenGL to push vertices through the rendering pipeline to generate the final rendered image.
All of the source code should be platform agnostic so you should be able to follow the tutorial if you are programming for Linux, Mac OS, or any other desktop platform.
Right-click the project in the Solution Explorer and select Add > New Item… from the pop-up menu that appears. You should never use absolute paths (paths that start with a drive letter) and you should not use the $(SolutionDir) property to specify paths. But we can use the supplied project files for Visual Studio 2010 and just change the toolchain to compile with Visual Studio 2012. This name indicates that this project was intended to be used with the Visual Studio 2010 IDE but we are including it in a Visual Studio 2012 IDE.
To fix this, simply scroll to somewhere near the middle of the string and add a break by adding a pair of double quotes separated by a space to break the single string value into 2 separate string values (as shown in the highlighted text below). At this point we only need to tell Visual Studio to link in the library dependencies for the glew_static library.

The only thing you must make sure you do is configure the include paths correctly (which we have already earlier).
This will be a very simple example and in the end you should know how to load geometry into OpenGL and render that geometry using a simple vertex and fragment program. Local header files for your project tend to change frequently which defeats the purpose of using precompiled headers (because it will cause the precompiled header to be rebuilt frequently).
This class simplifies some of the functionality to move and rotate the view and compute the view matrix and projection matrix that are required to render the 3D scene.
You may need to change the name of the global header file in the Camera.cpp file to match the name of the global include file used in your project. Otherwise, these variables will be set to 0 if the corresponding key on the keyboard is not pressed. If you are not familiar with quaternions, I suggest you read my article title Understanding Quaternions. This is useful for creating a consistent user experience regardless of the frame-rate on the end-users computer.
The order that the vertices will be sent to the GPU is determined by another buffer called the Index buffer which we will declare next. Well, technically we could send 36 vertices to the GPU without using an index buffer but the vertices would have to be duplicated several times to properly define the cube. If we introduced vertex normals, then only one face of the cube would have the correct normals applied. As an optimization OpenGL can remove primitives from the rendering pipeline which are not facing the camera.
A Vertex Array Object can be used to bind all of the vertex attributes and the index buffer into a single argument. The shader program combines both the vertex shader and the fragment shader into a single object. The MVP acronym suggests that the shader variable defines the concatentated model-view-projection matrix that is used to transform the cube’s vertices into clip-space (more about transformation and spaces can be found in another article titled Transformation and Lighting). We will create a simple vertex shader and fragment shader that can be used to render very basic 3D primitives. In July 2006, the OpenGL Architecture Review Board transferred control of the OpenGL specification to the Khronos group where it currently resides [2].
Using a fixed-function pipeline, the graphics programmer did not have full control over the various aspects of the rendering pipeline. In addition to the position of the vertex in 2D or 3D space several other attributes that describe the vertex can also be sent to the GPU. These include points, lines, triangles, quads, and polygons (but quads and polygons are deprecated as of OpenGL 3.1).
Points can be used to render particle effects but it is more common to render particle sprites as quads instead of points. After transforming the vertex position and vertex normal, lighting information is computed for each individual vertex.
Primitives must also be transformed into viewport space and clipped to fit within the viewport boundaries. For an example of using multi-texture blending in the fixed-function pipeline, you can refer to my article titled [Multi-textured Terrain in OpenGL]. Instead of seeing the hard-edge of the far clipping plane, the geometry will gradually become less visible in the distance approaching the fog color. Blending is performed by combining the colors and alpha values from the source fragment with the destination fragment. The stages colored green in the fixed-function pipeline are replaced by the vertex program and fragment program. Throughout this article, we will learn how to use the programmable shader pipeline to define a vertex program that can be used to transform the vertex data into the correct space for rasterization. For example, you could pass a stream of points (a single vertex) that represents the 3D positions of particles in a particle system and the geometry shader can produce a set of triangles that can be used to render the texture mapped, orientated particles.
A patch can consist of 3 vertices in which case the patch is simply a triangle but a patch can also consist of 4 or more vertices (polygon tesselation). It passes the tessellated coordinates to the TES stage (described next) for further processing [1] [10]. If you prefer to use dynamic linking then you must also copy the DLL files to the bin folder where your executable resides.
The main advantage of precompiled headers is that they only have to be prebuilt once and can be quickly included in subsequent builds. Visual Studio will not automatically treat this header file like a precompiled header until you configure your project to use precompiled headers. This function is useful for disabling vsync and allows our program to run as fast as it can (instead of waiting for the vertical refresh which is usually 60 Hz.
These headers and libraries are part of the Windows SDK and are automatically included in projects created with Visual Studio. This inconsistency is addressed by this macro and in later versions of GLM this macro will no longer be required because radians will be the default behavior for the GLM math library. Since creating any kind of model loader is beyond the scope of this article, I will just define the geometry in-line using static arrays.
Instead of creating a lot of duplicate data, we can specify an index buffer that determines the order in which to push the vertices to the GPU. To resolve this issue, we would need to declare a unique vertex for each of the 24 unique vertices of the cube. You can think of the shader program similar to an application that runs on the GPU instead of on the CPU. Miller works separately for a private investment firm which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made. By the end of this article you will know how to create a simple OpenGL application and render 3D objects using shaders. Despite the transfer from the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, the ARB acronym is still used today to prefix the name of OpenGL core extensions. Using the fixed-function pipeline these attributes included vertex color, vertex normals, texture coordinates, and fog coordinate. In addition to the classic primitive types, the patch primitive is introduced in OpenGL 4.0 to provide support for tessellation shaders. Since this stage happens for each vertex it is not capable of performing per-pixel lighting using the fixed-function pipeline. It is also possible that back-face culling will occur at this stage (if back-face culling is enabled).
Placing external dependencies in a folder with your solution file makes it easy to share and distribute your solution files with others later on. If you want to distribute your source code and project files to someone else then the relative paths will still be correct but absolute paths will not be the same on another computer.
If you use static linking, you do not need to distribute any additional DLL files with your executable. This will be useful for computing the amount of time that has elapsed between frame updates.
Without disabling vsync, your program would never run faster than the refresh rate of your monitor).
Likewise, the g_bShift boolean variable will be set to true if either the left shift or right shift keys are pressed. The default winding order of front-facing triangles is counter-clockwise as shown in the image below. The individual shaders (vertex, fragment) first need to be compiled into a form of object code (similar to those .obj files generated by your compiler).
The compiled shaders are then linked together into a final shader program which can be executed on the GPU. The first parameter must be GL_PATCH_VERTICES and the second parameter is an integer value that determines the number of vertices in the vertex stream that are to be considered a patch. If the solution files are located in different folders then the project-relative paths will still be correct but the $(SolutionDir) variable will be different.

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