Anim8or - Basics to Advanced/PreReq 1
Prerequisite 1: Understanding OpenGL
OpenGL is an interesting topic to cover, since the Anim8or program and many other commercial 3D modelers run on OpenGL.
What is OpenGL
OpenGL is an API (Application Programming Interface) which interacts directly with the video hardware in your computer to produce different types of graphics very fast. This approach to graphics is much faster than what’s called software-based graphics. The main problem with Software-based graphics is that it is not using the full potential of your video card. Usually, the software-based approach is used to create simple graphics such as the user interface in Microsoft Word. But for 3D graphics to run at full speed you need direct contact with the video hardware for optimal performance. That is the purpose of OpenGL.
One more thing to discuss is how OpenGL makes the programmer’s life a little bit easier. OpenGL takes care of interfacing with the video hardware by itself without the programmer writing any code to do that. In the early days of graphics programming, programmers would sometimes have to write a lot of code just to interact with the video hardware. Now they don’t have to worry about that. They can just concentrate on drawing graphics.