Paperback: 235 pages
Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press; 2 edition (July 9, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #574,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #27 in Books > Computers & Technology > Graphics & Design > Rendering & Ray Tracing #429 in Books > Computers & Technology > Games & Strategy Guides > Game Programming #680 in Books > Textbooks > Computer Science > Graphics & Visualization
The book "Realistic Ray Tracing" contains a description of all important ray tracing techniques and a guideline to the implementation of a ray tracing program. The book covers the basics like ray-object intersection, lighting, viewing and materials, but the major part of the text deals with advanced techniques monte carlo integration, antialiasing, soft shadows or path-tracing.The book contains only some 150 pages and each technique is thus described in 3 to 10 pages. The language used is clear and the book is very readable. It is very easy to read the whole book or just to pick a specific chapter and get an idea of one topic. The main focus of this book is the implementation of a ray tracer. All techniques are described in a way that enables the reader to easily code them. All the math needed is provided and procedural pseudo code fragments are given in some chapters. Despite being quite a thin book, the selection of topics is very good and most of the important ray tracing techniques are covered.There are some problems with this book though. First of all, this book does not describe the ray tracing algorithm very well. Readers completely unfamiliar with this method might have some difficulties understanding the overall picture. This is also true for the implementation part. Although a lot of techniques and basics are explained, the author does not cover the implementation of a ray tracing framework.Some of the chapters are simply too brief. The mathematical background is covered but not explained. In the first chapter, the author introduces 4-dimensional homogeneous coordinate systems without explaining them. This could have been done in 1-2 pages and would have helped to better understand a lot of the transformations used throughout the book.
I was initially excited about this book, as I have a somewhat silly notion that books produced by authors bold enough to condense a large subject into a compact little package are generally very tight, elegant works that are a joy to read. Wirth's Compiler Construction is an excellent example of this.As I worked through this book, I found this to be anything but the case. Maybe this is my fault; after all I did say it was a somewhat silly notion.I have found that the assumed knowledge varies widely as you work your way throughout the book, and not just in an easy-to-difficult progression from front to back. I have worked through approximately 3/4ths of this book, and have found it so riddled with errors that I often wonder if the author didn't just submit his first draft as camera-ready to the publisher. Every time I look at a pseudocode algorithm I check the errata page, and almost every time I find that there are errors. One algorithm was so incredibly wrong that rather than try and correct the code in my book with a pencil, I had to print the correct code, cut it out, and tape it over the existing one! After all of this you start to wonder how much you can trust what is being said, which is unfortunate.The book does have some redeeming value, and if you keep in mind the large number of errors, you can actually learn quite a bit from it. It just annoys me to spend money on a "rough draft" book that could have benefited so much by a little more "proofing" by the author. I would also take with a grain of salt reviews here that are obviously written by people who read the back cover and the introduction with great zeal and formed their summary based on that.
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