“Principles of Digital Image Synthesis” now free for download

Andrew Glassner released his two-volume book “Principles of Digital Image Synthesis” to be free for download from Google Books. This book is pretty amazing in its scope and depth. Published in 1995 by Morgan-Kaufmann Press, it provides an education in almost all the key scientific and mathematical concepts used in rendering. The human vision system and color, display systems (pre-LCD, though), signal processing, sampling and reconstruction, Monte Carlo integration, energy transport, BRDFs, and much more, in 1600 pages. I turned to it for some bits of theory for our first edition. Despite its age, it is a worthwhile volume, as the underlying science and math are still valid.

Update: get a nicer version of the PDF version of the book from Iliyan’s site, or from here. Read more about it here.

Unfortunately, Google Books doesn’t quite list the book correctly and makes it hard to find both volumes when searching. So, here are the direct links:

Just hit the PDF download link in the upper right corner of each page, prove you’re not a computer, and you’ll then have each volume. You’ll want to rename the PDFs, as Google Books calls each volume the same name, Principles_of_digital_image_synthesis.pdf. Volume 1’s PDF is 12.0 MB, Volume 2’s is 17.8 MB.

Finally, to get the errata for the book, go to the author’s page about the book.

Special bonus project: I just asked Andrew Glassner if it would be OK for someone with Acrobat or other editor to put both PDFs into a single PDF, and to fold in the errata. He said that would be great, and that he could provide a bit more new errata which is not on his webpage yet. Let me know if you’re interested in doing a good deed for the graphics community and I’ll coordinate any efforts. Update: looks like we’ve got a volunteer, and so I’m hoping a new PDF version will be available in a few days.



  1. Larry Gritz’s avatar

    Thanks for this news! Would you believe that not two hours ago, I was looking at my copies of these very books on my shelf, thinking, “those would be ideal to just keep a PDF on my laptop rather than taking up shelf space.” I was in the middle of scanning reams and reams of old xeroxed technical papers that have been growing in my file cabinets since grad school, and am now really in love with the idea of occasional-reference material being digital.

    BTW, no fancy program is necessary to concatenate PDF files — every Mac comes with this Python script:
    /System/Library/Automator/Combine\ PDF\ Pages.action/Contents/Resources/join.py
    that basically is ‘cat’ for PDF (um, except it wants a “-o outputname” rather than going to the stdout). I’m happy to do it for you if you don’t have easy access to a Mac.

    But maybe if somebody has a *really* fancy program (I don’t), they could actually edit the PDF in place to fold the errata right into the main PDF’s text. I think we’d be happy to have a few ragged margins in exchange for the corrections being patched in.

    I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but… how is this kosher with MKP? Do they no longer sell the book and don’t care?

  2. ingenious’s avatar

    Great news Eric, thanks for the tip!

    About the bonus project. I’d already done the large part of it when I came back to this post and read it to the end ?? What’s left is to fold in the errata, run OCR on the PDF, create PDF bookbarks from the TOC. I’m not sure if I’ll have time for the last step though. Anyway, it’d be great if I can get the unpublished errata somehow (maybe you can contact/email me through my WordPress account?).

  3. Shadow007’s avatar

    What would be even better (if possible) would be an additional “EPUB” version of the book, if Mr Glassner were allright with it …

  4. Philippe Leprince’s avatar

    That’s awesome. Volume 2 mysteriously disappeared from my desk a few years back : now it is in my Mendeley collection. ??
    Any chance to get a pdf from the original publisher ? Having a searchable pdf would be so much better…

  5. Eric’s avatar

    Philippe: sorry, no PDF from the publisher, and Andrew’s files are in an old version of LaTeX that doesn’t compile any more. The consolidation process (currently being done by “ingenious”) may be able to get us a searchable PDF by using OCR, though the first attempt caused the file to balloon in size (it jumps to 280 MB!). He’s figuring it out.

  6. Philippe Leprince’s avatar

    Thanks Eric. I just wish publishers would wake up and aknowledge to the potential of ebooks for niche technical content… ??

  7. ingenious’s avatar

    Have a little more patience, guys. The improved (searchable and more) version is coming very soon. You’re gonna like it ??

  8. Shadow007’s avatar

    Great !!!

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