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Survey of Computer Graphics Programming Languages Jerry Yee November 30, 2004 Computer Graphics Programming Languages •Why do we need them? To make cool films like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (920 special effect shots, 10 months to render on 1000 Linux workstations) To provide an abstraction for 3D modeling, animation, scientific visualization because programming in a general programming language is inefficient and not very intuitive. •Some Languages: OpenGL, Cg, VRML, Fran •Design Goals: ease of use, portability, scalability, extensibility, well documented OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) •Application programming interface for 3D modeling and animation •Supported across most operating systems •API is available for C, C++, Java, Fortran, and Ada programming languages. •Key Design Goals: ease of use, portability, openness, extensibility Cg (C for Graphics) •Primarily a shading language (describes how to fill display pixels) •Designed to program NVIDIA’s programmable graphical processing units (GPU) •Uses OpenGL API for 3D modeling •Key Design Goals: to support GPU features, to be a general programming language for GPUs, extensibility VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) •Designed to model 3D scenes over the Internet •Supports object manipulation and animation, allows the viewer to move about in the scene •Key Design Goals: performance, portability Fran (Functional Reactive Animation) •Designed for 3D modeling and reactive animation •Embedded in the Haskell functional programming language •Design Goals: Ease of construction, composability, and regulation of sampling rates for animation Why OpenGL? OpenGL was designed to be open and available on a wide range of systems. The OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) consists of representatives from industry, universities, and private research groups. The OpenGL ARB gathers a wide range of feedback and modifies OpenGL according to industry needs. OpenGL is the oldest of the four languages surveyed here (released in 1992).