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Fundamentals of three-dimensional computer graphics. (English) Zbl 0702.68099
Wokingham etc.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. XVI, 430 p. (1989).
Alan Watt’s book is entitled “Fundamentals of three-dimensional computer graphics”. On scanning through the table of contents, one immediately notices that the book covers a lot more than fundamentals. It is, in fact, about image synthesis which is the art of picture making assuming a raster scan device. Image synthesis deals with realistic image generation, generating images that are hardly distinguishable from photographs.
The book starts off by covering fundamental 3-D geometry such as transformations and projections. Right after that it jumps a big and treats different reflection models such as the Phong model and the Cook- Torrance model. These models are used for shading objects, i.e., coloring each pixel on the screen covered by the image of the object. Chapter 5 deals with rasterization of lines and polygons, followed by parametric curve and surface representations in chapter 6. Ray tracing, the tool that provides the highest realism, is the subject of chapters 7 and 8. A relatively new approach of image synthesis, called the radiosity, is investigated in chapter 9 with details as to how to decrease the computational cost using progressive refinement. Chapter 10 is devoted to shadow and texture generation and to environment mapping followed by a short chapter on functionally based modeling. Antialiasing, a technique that is used to remove “jaggies” from raster images, is considered in chapter 12. Three-dimensional animation and color science closes the scope of the book.
The book is well written, meticulously organized and adequately illustrated with both line drawings and shaded images. The 14 chapters provide a compressed coverage of modern image synthesis well appropriate for a one semester graduate course on advanced computer graphics. The numerous examples and program fragments make the book well suited for self study.
Reviewer: L.P.Piegl

MSC:
68U05 Computer graphics; computational geometry (digital and algorithmic aspects)
68-01 Introductory exposition (textbooks, tutorial papers, etc.) pertaining to computer science
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