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Relevance of "Jim Blinn's Corner" series of books

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Hi all, Due to recently getting older I've been given some money - thinking about investing it Jim Blinn's books or possibly the ShaderX/GPU-Gems series. I trust that everyone here is familiar with Jim Blinn and his somewhat legendary status in the graphics world [grin] I've heard people refer to his series as essential reading for people interested in graphics programming and his writing style is commended as being very readable and entertaining/interesting. Jim Blinn's Corner: Trip Down the Graphics Pipeline, 1996 Jim Blinn's Corner: Dirty Pixels, 1997 Jim Blinn's Corner: Notation, Notation, Notation, 2002 Whilst I'm sure they'll be interesting no matter what, I'm wondering about their relevance with regards to the now standard hardware/shader based graphics processing route. I know enough about the mathematics/concepts of general graphics processing, but I don't tend to directly use that theory on a daily basis - lots of it is abstracted via the API or just handled by the hardware instead... Given the relative ages of the books (the '96 and '97 ones) I wondered whether they're going to be focusing on some older stuff thats not really so relevant/useful anymore. For a total price of £77.22 it'd be nice if they had more than just novelty value [smile] Anyone read these books and offer any comments? Cheers, Jack

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My universities library stocked them, although Id say that they are a great read (he is a very entertaining writer) it depends what you are after. Many of the chapters in the book that are still relevant can be found seperately on the internet or in more modern.

If you want more applicable material go for GPU gems and the newer ShaderX books (3/4, since the first three ShaderX books deal more with limitations of shader model 1-2.0 and basics).

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Thanks for the reply.

I'm pretty sure GPU Gems and/or ShaderX will be more practical, but I was thinking about Jim Blinn's corner from an "enthusiast" type point of view. That is, just learning more about the science/technology that I have an interest in. BUT, where it gets blurry is that to justify that sort of money I'd also like to get something useful from the books.

Cheers,
Jack

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Well I'd have to go to uni to check but this seems to be most of what youd be getting from Blinn's corner, if that helps.

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Hey,
I find Blinn's books great. I think the only problem with them is, that you can find his ideas implemented in every math or graphic library ... so it is actually there and you do not have to re-invent the wheel ... but if you are interested to know why things work as they work, this is great.
I am too shy to comment on the ShaderX books here :-).

- Wolf

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Quote:

you can find his ideas implemented in every math or graphic library


Very true, but understanding those ideas is always helpful.

I like his books (I am still missing one, but I'll pick it up soon). I'd say go for it.

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Quote:
Original post by wolf
if you are interested to know why things work as they work, this is great.
Yeah, this is my primary justification - understanding the "why" [grin]

Quote:
Original post by wolf
I am too shy to comment on the ShaderX books here :-)
Really? I wonder why... How's about you give me a good answer and I hit the "buy" button to make you some more $/£/€ [lol]

Jack

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I can't speak to the relevance of the books, not having read them personally, but my gut feeling is that no amount of theory is irrelevant. I'm told on a regular basis that assembler skills are no longer relevant, but I still find a deep understanding of processor architecture extremely useful on a virtually daily basis [smile]

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Hey Jack,
the ShaderX books try to give you a good explanation + working code for techniques that were used in games or for techniques that should be used in games in the future.
I think the last two books of the series are more tailored to the latest standards, so if you are not working on a XBOX game or a PC game with a low min spec, these books should be fun to read. If you have to target older hardware the first three books are also very cool.

Have fun,
- Wolfgang

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Quote:
Original post by ApochPiQ
I'm told on a regular basis that assembler skills are no longer relevant, but I still find a deep understanding of processor architecture extremely useful on a virtually daily basis [smile]
That is a damn good point!

Quote:
I think the last two books of the series are more tailored to the latest standards, so if you are not working on a XBOX game or a PC game with a low min spec
my "low spec" engine that I have is entirely fixed-function [lol] But my own personal projects have never been below SM2, SM3 or when I can get Vista running SM4. I think I'll pick up the last two, although Amazon.co.uk doesn't seem to stock, list or know anything about ShaderX 4 [oh]

Cheers,
Jack

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