There are a lot of resources available now for someone learning 3D graphics and rendering, though sometimes it's difficult to tell what's a good resource and what isn't. This page contains links to external resources that either I have used, strongly believe in or that others I know have found useful. It's by no means an exhaustive list and I'll keep updating it as I can. Please be aware that anything linking to something you pay for (e.g. Amazon book or product links) are affiliate links so I will receive a small commission on any sale which will help maintain this site.
The definitive documentation for OpenGL is the official programming guide, or ‘Red Book’.
There are several versions of the Red Book so make sure you get the latest one. If searching you’ll find various different versions and some of the older ones are available online. The Red Book has improved over the years, but at times it reads more like a technical manual. While it’s an important reference point, I’ve found its emphasis on the API can make it tricky for a beginner to grasp the underlying pipeline concepts. The first chapter talks more about the pipeline though and is an absolute must read.
This is not one I've read myself, but over the years quite a few students have commented to me that they've preferred this to the Red Book and found it more accessible.
Maths for Computer Graphics Books
One of the predecessors of this book was our key text when I was a first-year undergraduate student and we all found it very helpful at the time. Prof John Vince is a great guy and was a very patient lecturer, which I feel also comes across in the text. I'm happy to recommend his book as a core introduction to the maths topics that you'll need in any graphics career. It starts with the basics and then covers things like vectors, matrices, transformations but also introduces a few more advanced topics like quaternions and curves.
Real-Time Graphics Books
When I was learning graphics these types of book were some of the best resources available. They tend to take the format of curated collections of high quality articles on varieties of topics, normally by respected academics or industry practitioners. Although some are quite old now, I do still recommend having a look as older techniques can be great starting points when you're learning - you just need to update things to work with the modern graphics pipeline.
This is the first in a series of books by NVIDIA, who have kindly released it for free on their website, though it's still available in print through Amazon if you prefer a physical copy. Some chapters I'd recommend: chapter 7 on grass rendering; chapter 21 on glow; Mark Harris' chapter 21 on fluid simulation which I found really helpful at the time and I think was one of the first practical descriptions of using the GPU for fluids.
This is the second from NVIDIA, and again it's been released it for free on their website, and still available in print through Amazon if you prefer. Some chapters I enjoyed: chapter 9 on deferred rendering; chapter 16 on atmospheric scattering; sections 4, 5 and 6 were then an interesting direction in the exciting general purpose GPU (GPGPU) movement.
This is the third instalment from NVIDIA, again released it for free on their website, and still available in print through Amazon. Some chapters I enjoyed: chapter 1 on procedural terrains; chapters 4 and 6 on trees; chapter 13 on volumetric light shaft effects; chapter 19 on deferred rendering; chapter 30 on 3D fluids using the GPU.