OpenGL State

GL rendering consists of geometry + state

Both are passed to graphics hardware via function calls

To draw something, the necessary state attributes (e.g. color) are set first
Then, the geometry (e.g. triangle data) is passed

State is retained until changed
State changes do not affect any geometry already drawn

OpenGL State

State includes: Example:
glColor3f(1, 1, 0)      # Set current color


glVertex2f(0.0, 0.0)    # This triangle is yellow
glVertex2f(0.4, 0.0)
glVertex2f(0.8, 0.8)

glColor3f(1, 0, 1)      # Change current color
glVertex2f(0.0, 0.0)    # This triangle is magenta
glVertex2f(-0.4, 0.0)
glVertex2f(-0.8, -0.8)



Signal from rods & cones to brain is smoothed - there is a several millisecond ramp-in or out after light hits or stops hitting the rod/cone.

Light flashing at > ~60 Hz appears to be continuous.
Called the Critical Flicker Frequency (CFF)

Below the CFF, flashing is perceptible

~ 45 Hz is usually good enough -> film flickers at 48 Hz; PAL TV at 50 Hz; NTSC TV at 60 Hz


Illusion of motion produced by rapidly displaying still frames that change

Does not need to be at CFF
Animation frame rate can be independent of video display frequency

Traditional animation often works at 12 frames per second.
But faster rates will yield smoother motion.

Below ~ 10 fps, animation looks like a slide show, rather than motion

GLUT Timers

Animation in OpenGL is achieved by calling the "Display" function repeatedly, drawing a single frame each time.

In GLUT, this requires calling glutPostRedisplay() regularly.

An "Update" function is also typically used, to compute changes for each frame.

Use GLUT timers to call functions at a fixed rate:
def update(v):
  glutTimerFunc(16, update, 0) # Schedule a new call in 16 ms,
                               # yielding 60 fps
  newposition = moveObject()
  # etc.

glutTimerFunc(0, update, 0) # Schedule the first "update" call

Frame Buffer

The frame buffer is a chunk of graphics card memory that contains what is displayed on the screen.

Like an image, but for each pixel there can be additional data besides color - depth, masking, etc.

OpenGL renders shapes, images, etc. into pixels of the frame buffer. rasterizing it - converting it into raster form in the frame buffer.

Double Buffering

Double-buffering hides the image being drawn until it is finished.

The previously completed image is displayed while the new one is drawn.

The frame buffer is split into two buffers - front buffer (displayed) and back buffer (drawn into).

Useful for smooth animation.

Double Buffering

Double Buffering

To use double-buffering:

Pass GLUT_DOUBLE flag to glutInitDisplayMode, instead of GLUT_SINGLE

Call glutSwapBuffers() at end of frame (replaces glFlush())

def draw():

glutInitDisplayMode(GLUT_DOUBLE | GLUT_RGB)

In-class Exercise

Write a program that animates a bouncing triangle.

If you have time, enhance it - add multiple triangles, allow the user to change the speed by hitting keys, etc.

Creative Commons License
This document is by Dave Pape, and is released under a Creative Commons BY-2.0 License.