CISC440 S2018

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Course information

Title CISC440/640 Computer Graphics
Shortened URL
Description A first course in computer graphics covering fundamental concepts and techniques related to rasterization, textures, 2-D and 3-D transformations (including perspective projection), shading, hidden surface elimination, and anti-aliasing, as well as selected topics in modeling, animation, ray tracing, and global illumination. OpenGL will be used for programming; you should have some familiarity with C/C++ or be ready to learn it.
When Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2-3:15 pm
Where ISE 207
Instructor Christopher Rasmussen, 446 Smith Hall,
Office hours Wednesdays, 10 am -- 12 pm
TA Chunbo Song,

TA office hours: Mondays, 3-5 pm, 201 Smith Hall

  • 60% 4 assignments worth 15% each. Each homework will be due about 2 weeks after being assigned (one is a little shorter, one a little longer)
  • 20% Midterm exam
  • 20% Final exam. "Bonus topic" lecture material will not be tested
  • 2% Extra credit for completing course evaluation

Graduate students will be given extra tasks to complete or features to implement on each homework, and extra questions to answer on each exam.

Programming assignments will be graded on the basis of correctness, efficiency, and originality. This is not an introductory programming class, so coding style is not critical. However, if you want partial credit for something that doesn't quite work, it needs to be well-commented and easy to follow.

For the overall course grade, a preliminary absolute mark will be assigned to each student based on the percentage of the total possible points they earn according to the standard formula: A = 90-100, B = 80-90, C = 70-80, etc., with +'s and -'s given for the upper and lower third of each range, respectively. Based on the distribution of preliminary grades for all students (i.e., "the curve"), the instructor may increase these grades monotonically to calculate final grades. This means that your final grade can't be lower than your preliminary grade, and your final grade won't be higher than that of anyone who had a higher preliminary grade.

I will try to keep you informed about your standing throughout the semester. If you have any questions about grading or expectations at any time, please feel free to ask me.

Academic policies Programming projects are due by midnight of the deadline day (with a grace period of a few hours afterward...after sunrise is definitely late). A late homework is a 0 without a valid prior excuse. To give you a little flexibility, you have 6 "late days" to use on homeworks to extend the deadline by one day each without penalty. No more than three late days may be used per assignment. Late days will automatically be subtracted, but as a courtesy please notify the instructor (and CC the TA) in an e-mail of your intention to use late days before the deadline. See submission instructions below.

The two exams will be closed book (i.e., no reference materials allowed). Unless otherwise instructed, you are responsible for all material covered up to the day of the exam, both from the assigned readings (everything in the Readings column of the Schedule below) and in lectures (excluding guest lectures).

Students can discuss problems with one another in general terms, but must work independently on programming assignments. This also applies to online and printed resources: you may consult them as references (as long as you cite them), but the words and source code you turn in must be yours alone. The University's policies on academic dishonesty are set forth in the student code of conduct here.


Textbook (required) Fundamentals of Computer Graphics (4th ed.) [Marschner in calendar below]

Steve Marschner and Peter Shirley

CRC Press, 2016

Textbook web site: Author (most useful thing there is link to course with relevant slides), Publisher

This book should be at the campus bookstore. Other ordering options:

  • Amazon: About $69 for new hardcover, $25 to rent physical book for semester, E-book purchase $66
  • CRC Press (the publisher): E-book rental is $52 for 180 days


OpenGL Key thing to note: We are using OpenGL 3.3 for programming! A lot of examples on the web are for older 2.x, so beware

Homeworks Assignment submissions should consist of a directory containing all code (your .cpp files, header files, makefile if applicable, etc.), any output data generated (e.g., images, movies, etc.), and an explanation of your approach, what worked and didn't work, etc. contained in a separate text or HTML file. Do not submit executables, .o files, or libraries, please! The directory you submit for each assignment should be packaged by tar'ing and gzip'ing it or just zip'ing it. The resulting file should be submitted through Canvas.

You may develop your OpenGL, C/C++ code in any fashion that is convenient--that is, with any compiler and operating system that you want--but you must avoid OS- and hardware-specific functions.


Note: The blue squares in the "#" column below indicate Tuesdays.
UDCapture link

# Date Topic Notes Readings Assignments/slides
1 Feb. 6 Introduction Graphics background, course information Marschner, 1-1.4 slides
2 Feb. 8 2-D, 3-D Geometry Vector & matrix review, homogeneous coordinates, 2-D & 3-D transformations, quaternions Marschner, 2.4, 5.2-5.2.2, 6-6.3 (skip 6.1.6, 6.2.1-6.2.2), 16.2.2 slides
3 Feb. 13 3-D Geometry More 3-D transformations, camera manipulation & the view volume Marschner, 6.5-7.2 slides
4 Feb. 15 3-D Geometry Perspective projection, geometry pipeline, transformations with GLM Marschner, 7.3, 7.5; OpenGL tutorials #1 (including installation instructions), #3 slides

HW #1

5 Feb. 20

Register/add deadline Feb. 19

OpenGL/GLFW Program initialization, window creation, geometric primitives Marschner, 17-17.7, 17.9-17.11 slides
6 Feb. 22 OpenGL/GLFW Basic animation, user interface callbacks OpenGL tutorial #6 slides
7 Feb. 27 GPU programming Introduction to GLSL, vertex shaders vs. fragment shaders Marschner, 17.8; Orange book Chaps. 2-5 slides
HW #1 due
8 Mar. 1 Shading Quick GLSL texturing demo; Radiometry: irradiance, radiosity, radiance, BRDFs Marschner, 10-10.2.1, 20-20.2 slides
HW #2

9 Mar. 6 Shading Diffuse, specular reflection, Gouraud/Phong shading details; OpenGL, GLSL shading methods Marschner, 10-10.2.2; OpenGL tutorial #8
10 Mar. 8 Textures Texture-mapping pipeline, bump & displacement mapping, environment maps Marschner, 11.2, 11.4 (homogeneous division material--not barycentric coords), 11.5
11 Mar. 13 Textures Shadow maps, magnification/minification Marschner, 11.1.3-11.1.4, 11.6-11.7
12 Mar. 15 Hidden surface elimination, rasterization Line and triangle clipping, backface culling, painter's algorithm, Z-buffering; line drawing Marschner, 8.1.3-8.2.3, 8.4; 8.1-8.2 HW #2 due
13 Mar. 20 Midterm review
Mar. 27 NO CLASS
Spring break
Mar. 29 NO CLASS
Spring break
15 Apr. 3 Motion/simulation Particle systems, flocking Marschner, 16.7
16 Apr. 5 Miscellaneous
17 Apr. 10
Withdraw deadline Apr. 9
Finish textures + physics/simulation OpenGL, GLSL texturing details; introduction to Bullet physics library OpenGL tutorial #5 and clicking HW #3
18 Apr. 12 More on physics/simulation More on Bullet physics library Bullet tutorials
19 Apr. 17 Bonus topic: character control
20 Apr. 19 Ray tracing Ray casting, intersection testing, shadow rays Marschner, 4
21 Apr. 24 Ray tracing Reflections, refractions, distributed ray tracing for anti-aliasing Marschner, 4 HW #3 due
22 Apr. 26 Ray tracing Distributed ray tracing for soft shadows, glossy reflections, spatial data structures; bidirectional ray tracing Marschner, 4, 12.3, 13.1, 13.4; "Bidirectional Ray Tracing" paper by

P. Heckbert

HW #4
23 May 1 Global illumination, noise Photon mapping, value/Perlin noise Photon mapping introduction, online demo, tutorial
Marschner, 11.5.2-11.5.3, Orange book 15
24 May 3 Bonus topic: face and scene synthesis
25 May 8 Shape modeling Bezier curves and surfaces, Catmull-Rom splines Marschner, 15-15.6.1 (ignore material on knots, Hermite form)
26 May 10 Shape modeling Subdivision, geometry shaders Marschner, 15.6-15.6.1
27 May 15 Final review HW #4 due
May 17-18 or 21-24 FINAL EXAM