Wish I’d found This Earlier…

This page on matrices in OpenGL looks like it might prove very handy! I’ve been struggling with transformation maths for a while now.

More generally, this and this page might prove a good introduction to GLSL for anyone thinking of dipping their toes in to shader programming in QC.


4 Responses to “Wish I’d found This Earlier…”

  1. 1 blouboy
    July 10, 2008 at 5:23 am


    you might find professor gilbert strang’s linear algebra course on mit’s opencourseware site to be of some use(i think on iTunesU too for free). i started with it last summer and became too bogged down with other stuff to continue, but it is pretty good either as an introduction or a refresher. if you can find a copy of his book, it works well with his course and makes his lectures make more sense. you don’t need the book, but the book and lectures are structured so they each make you think about different aspects of the subject.

    once you make sure you have a decent foundation in linear algebra, michael mortenson’s book geometric transformations for 3d modeling looks like a good place to turn for some transformation specific math. i have to confess i haven’t seen that exact book, but i’m pretty sure it is just the updated edition of his book which was once simply titled geometric transformations. i liked that book quite a lot and learned a lot from it.

  2. 2 toneburst
    July 10, 2008 at 8:41 am

    Hi blouboy,

    thanks for the tips, they all sound like great sources of info.
    I’ve just ordered this book
    Which I’m hoping will tell me most of the stuff I’ll need. I’ve never been very good at maths generally, so I’m really looking for something very-much geared towards just the specifics I’ll need for basic 3D geometry, transformations and lighting calculations.

    Having said that, I’ll definitely check out the sources you mention.

    The problem I always have is that it’s usually easier and more fun to create something new based on what I already know, rather than get the basic theory under my belt. This is especially the case with QC, because it’s so easy and quick to knock together something that looks quite impressive, without a really thorough understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of what’s going on. I’ve also been working a lot with other people’s code (which ultimately is what a lot of people working in the area do, anyway, to a greater or lesser extent). This is good in that I’m able to produce quite impressive-looking things relatively quickly, but bad in the sense that it’s quite easy to make the code work in QC, without really having any idea of how or why it actually works…

    Anyway, thanks again for the pointers, and encouragement!


  3. 3 blouboy
    July 11, 2008 at 7:45 am

    I have to agree with you that a huge part of the appeal of QC is that you can make really cool stuff without really knowing how you did it. It is even better when you have someone else posting lots of cool shaders etc. for an already cool application. I check in almost every day to see what you’ve come up with. I really appreciate all you’ve done and will gladly help and encourage it. I’ve been too busy and lazy to do it yet, but I will probably create a Vimeo account and upload some of the stuff I’ve done with your help.

    I’ve got little list here of some applications that are handy for helping to understand the written stuff. I’m just a math hack, and these have all helped me with stuff I wouldn’t otherwise get. They are all 2D, which is considerably easier. The transformation game at the Brown site is fun and demonstrates just how confusing transformations can be. Mathmap and Geoebra will let you play with math and transformations in a way that I think you will find to be very comfortable and very informative. Check out the Brown site and then try Mathmap. It is a Gimp plugin, but there is a stand alone port for OS X. It has a series of predefined effects that you can mess around with and they give you the equations that are doing the transformations. It can do some extremely cool things, which you can see just by googling or searching Flickr. It is a bit confusing to use. Go to the library, drag an effect to the expression tab, and then go to the user values tab and drag a picture to where it ought to go. Show the preview window and you are in business. Once you get that, the rest is pretty easy to figure out. Geogebra is most definitely worth looking into too.




    Good luck, and I look forward to the magic you make with it.

  4. 4 toneburst
    July 11, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Great references once again blouboy. I’m definitely interested in MathMap. I noticed looking at some of the photos tagged ‘MathMap’ on Flickr, there seem to be a lot of cool things you can do with panoramic photos. I’ve just bought a ‘rotator’ pano head for my Canon G6 and Nikon FC-E9 fisheye. I need a proper tripod, but then I’ll be set for doing proper 2-shot panos, which is pretty cool.

    Thanks again for all the sources, and of course for the support and encouragement.

    Incidentally, that book I ordered arrived today. Unfortunately, I left it at work though, so I can’t tell you if it’s any good.


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