Preface – OpenSceneGraph 3 Cookbook


During the last 12 years, OpenSceneGraph, which is one of the best 3D graphics programming interfaces in the world, has grown up so rapidly that it has already become the industry's leading open source scene graph technology. The latest distribution, OpenSceneGraph 3.0, now runs on all Microsoft Windows platforms, Apple Mac OS X, iOS (including iPhone and iPad), GNU/Linux, Android, IRIX, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and FreeBSD operating systems, with the efforts of 464 contributors around the world, and over 5,000 developers of the osg-users mailing list/forum and diverse and growing communities.

In the year 2010, I wrote the book "OpenSceneGraph 3.0 Beginner’s Guide" with the help of Dr. Xuelei Qian. It was published by Packt Publishing, and could help the readers gain an overview of scene graphs and the basic concepts in OpenSceneGraph. But one book is far less than enough, especially for those who want to continuously study this high-quality library in depth and play with some state-of-art techniques. So the book "OpenSceneGraph 3 Cookbook" comes onto the scene, with over 80 recipes demonstrating how to make use of some advanced API features and create programs for industrial demands.

In this book, we will work on different goals, which originate from actual projects and customer needs, and try to make use of the cutting-edge graphics techniques, or integrate with other famous and stable libraries to satisfy various multi-level and multi-aspect demands.

Some of the recipes are too long and too complicated to fit into any of the chapters, so they will only appear in the source code package, which can be downloaded from the Packt website, or the author's Github repository as described later.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Customizing OpenSceneGraph, introduces some advance topics about the configuration and compilation, including build steps on mobile devices and the automatic generation of the API documentation.

Chapter 2, Designing the Scene Graph, explains the management of scene graph, as well as the implementation of user-node functionalities in various ways.

Chapter 3, Editing Geometry Models, shows how to create polygonal meshes and make them animated. It also introduces some solutions for modifying existing geometric properties.

Chapter 4, Manipulating the View, discusses the topics of multi-screen and multi-view rendering, and the camera manipulation using input devices such as the joysticks.

Chapter 5, Animating Everything, introduces almost all kinds of real-time animation implementations as well as the integration of physics engines.

Chapter 6, Designing Creative Effects, discusses some cutting-edge techniques about realistic rendering with GPU and shaders. It also demonstrates a common way to create post-processing framework for complicated scene effects.

Chapter 7, Visualizing the World, is a totally independent chapter that demonstrates the generation of landscape pieces and even the entire earth, using VirtualPlanetBuilder.

Chapter 8, Managing Massive Amounts of Data, shows some advanced ways to manage massive data in OpenSceneGraph applications, with the help of some modern hardware features such as occlusion query and draw instancing.

Chapter 9, Integrating with GUI, covers the integration of OpenSceneGraph and other graphics user interfaces (GUI), including 2D and 3D widgets, mobile programs, and web browsers.

What you need for this book

To use this book, you will need a graphic card with robust OpenGL support, with the latest OpenGL device driver installed from your graphics hardware vendor.

You will need to download OpenSceneGraph 3.0.1 from Some recipes may require the latest developer version. The CMake utility is also necessary for compiling OpenSceneGraph and the source code of this book. You may download it from

You will also need a working compiler which transforms C++ source code into executable files. Some recommended ones include: gcc (on Unices), XCode (on Mac OS X), and mingw32 and Visual Studio (on Windows).

Who this book is for

This book is intended for software developers, researchers, and students who are already familiar with the basic concepts of OpenSceneGraph and can write simple programs with it. A basic knowledge of C++ programming is also expected. Some experience of using and integrating platform-independent APIs is also useful, but is not required.

General real-time computer graphics knowledge would be sufficient. Some familiarity with 3D vectors, quaternion numbers, and matrix transformations is helpful.


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Downloading the example code

You can download the example code files for all Packt books you have purchased from your account at If you purchased this book elsewhere, you can visit and register to have the files e-mailed directly to you.

You can also download the latest version of the source code package at the author's GitHub repository All recipes of this book are included in this link, as well as more OSG-related examples written by the author and other contributors.


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