I'm Morgan McGuire (@CasualEffects). I've been working on computer graphics and games for 20 years at great places including NVIDIA, Williams College, Brown University, and Activision.

See my home page for a full index of my blog posts, books, research, and projects.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Graphics Codex Web Edition

The essential reference for computer graphics is now available on all platforms through the Graphics Codex Web Edition.

Sample Radiometry diagram
 Both readable and solid, the Graphics Codex provides the reader with the essence of 3D computer rendering.”Eric Haines, Autodesk   coauthor of Real-Time Rendering

 I own and use the Graphics Codex. Is it a reference tool, a companion to a textbook, an alternative to a textbook, or a self-study guide? It can work in any of these roles, but I think it is in fact a new thing. It's a thing we'll be seeing a lot of...dollar for dollar, it's the best scholarly information I have ever purchased.”Peter Shirley, University of Utah
   coauthor of Fundamentals of Computer Graphics

The Graphics Codex contains 225 short-form topics on shading, geometry, radiometry, ray tracing, GPUs, LaTeX, HTML5, and everything else of interest to the modern graphics developer and research. It also has 12 long-form chapters comprising a college course on physically based rendering.
A long-form chapter of lecture notes on
the major physically-based rendering algorithms
The Web Edition uses your existing Amazon account. Your purchase and account details are secured by Amazon and you don't have to deal with a new username or password. It costs only $10 for a lifetime subscription that you can use on any supported web browser. That includes free monthly updates of new content and features.

I've taught computer graphics at Williams College for six years using the Graphics Codex as assigned reading alongside (in different semesters) Real-Time Rendering, Computer Graphics: Principles & Practice, and Fundamentals of Computer Graphics. It is the ideal companion app for students because it provides the convenience and speed of Google + Wikipedia with the accuracy of a textbook. The long form chapters are my lecture notes, designed to the ACM-IEEE 2013 CS curriculum guidelines for computer graphics.

A short reference topic on
properties of transmissive surfaces
As a professional game developer and researcher, I use the reference material in the Graphics Codex every day. In fact, that's how I choose topics to add: anything that I need to look up more than once gets added, as does anything suggested to me. Just e-mail me with what you'd like to see in the next update. 

The Graphics Codex is not like commercial e-books. I wrote it specifically for an interactive format, with densely linked material and a very intelligent search function with metadata. I implemented the Web Edition and the native iOS Edition app myself and directly support them. There's no outsourcing or contractors involved, except for marketing where Alice Peters and Sannie Sieper created a postcard to send to faculty on my behalf. I price both editions at $10 because I think that is a fair price for the material. That's the price of lunch for most people, so it is affordable for anyone in the field. Because there is no overhead for physical inventory or bookstore acting as a middleman, most of your purchase price goes directly to the author to fund future development. The copyright statement clearly affirms your right to Fair Use of the material in the app, including using material from it it in presentations and academic publications with credit. In fact, I'm working on features for more easily copying images and code from it--direct copying of text doesn't work well because the clipboard would be filled with markup.

Pseudocode for a commonly needed function
I hope you'll use the Graphics Codex. You can now have the best parts of a book, a reference, and an online encylopedia in one expert-written app. Support a new world of independent publishing for computer graphics!

Morgan McGuire is a professor of Computer Science at Williams College, visiting professor at NVIDIA Research, and a professional game developer. He is the author of the Graphics Codex, an essential reference for computer graphics now available in iOS and Web Editions.