Digital. Dynamic. Mobile. The Graphics Codex by Prof. Morgan McGuire.

A reference topic in The Graphics Codex

           The Codex  •  Nonlinear Content   •   Dynamic Layout  •  Self-Publishing  •  Coming Soon

I own and use the Graphics Codex. Is it a reference tool, a companion to a textbook, an alternative to a textbook, or a self-study guide? It can work in any of these roles, but I think it is in fact a new thing. It’s a thing we’ll be seeing a lot of…dollar for dollar, it’s the best scholarly information I have ever purchased.
Prof. Peter Shirley (University of Utah)
coauthor of Fundamentals of Computer Graphics

As befits its subject, the hot new graphics textbook isn’t available on paper. It is pure digital. It covers the essential undergraduate and graduate topics, works on any screen from phone to projector, and adapts to your favorite equation style, programming language, and APIs. It costs your students only $10, and will never be out of date because it updates every month for free.

1. The Codex

A chapter on light transport
A chapter on light transport

Pictured at top: A reference topic in the Graphics Codex

I wrote the Graphics Codex ( as a textbook and reference for computational graphics. It draws on two decades of teaching and research experience in academia at Brown University and Williams College and in industry at companies like Activision and NVIDIA. The materials lines up with the latest ACM-IEEE curriculum, on which I consulted.

Through 13 chapters and hundreds of encylopedia-like articles, it covers all of the typical graphics syllabus topics such as ray tracing, OpenGL and GPUs, and virtual reality. What sets the Graphics Codex aside from other educational resources is that it fully embraces its digital medium to provide:

  • Web (for Android, Windows, Linux, and OS X) and iOS App versions
  • Always up to date: free monthly updates with new content and corrections
  • Accessible to all: costs only USD $10 from Amazon or Apple
  • Nonlinear, searchable content
  • All diagrams licensed for reuse in the classroom and presentations
  • Reader-selectable programming language and math conventions
  • All code samples are copyable
  • Automatic layout adjustment for every screen

The Graphics Codex is designed either to stand alone as your only text or to work as a supplement alongside a traditional book. In the past ten years I’ve taught courses in each style, and provide a suggested syllabus mapping from chapters in the top three graphics textbooks to related topics in the Graphics Codex.

A huge advantage of the web and mobile app packaging is that students always have the book with them. I pull up topics on the projector in lecture in response to questions. Students easily check the authoritative resource for the course whether they’re programming in lab or completing a problem set in on a blanket in the quad on a sunny day.


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