CS 451: Syllabus

Syllabus for Spring 2012

Topics and Reading Assignments


We will be using primarily the OpenGL User Guide and Reference Manual and SIGGRAPH Proceedings as the basis for the course.

In addition, you may want to purchase Advanced Animation and Rendering Techniques by Watt and Watt, 1992, if you can find it cheaply. It is an old book, but has good descriptions of some of the fundamental techniques for advanced rendering. The professor also has a number of specalized computer graphics texts students may borrow for part of the semester.


Weekly critiques and presentations 30%
Participation 5%
3 Primary Projects 45%
Final project 20%

This course is a combination of a weekly seminar-style discussion and four significant projects. The four projects are given on the assigment page.

In a typical week we will go over 4-5 SIGGRAPH papers on a selected topic. The papers will span from the algorithm's initial development to recent modifications and updates. Everyone will be expected to have read through all of the papers.

Each paper will have two people selected to present it to the group; not everyone will present every week. The presenter is responsible for writing a short critique of the paper--generally one page--that summarizes the algorithm and identifies points for discussion. The critiques need to be posted on a wiki page at least 12 hours prior to meeting time. The critique will help guide the discussions during the meeting time.

Late Policy: All paper critiques must be available to the rest of the class at least 12 hours before the class meeting where the paper will be discussed. Late critiques will be penalized 20%.

Students will have three weeks for each of the three primary projects. Each student will present their project in the class following the due date. The presentation is worth 20% of the project grade. A maximum of 50% credit will be given for late projects.

Starting a project in the last few days before it is due will guarantee a poor project and a poor grade. The projects are three week projects because you should plan on them taking between 30-45 hours of study, design, and programming. Spread across three weeks, that is a reasonable 10-15 hours per week.


Use the college wiki to post your critiques and to hand in your project writeups. These will not be extensive, but should contain lots of pictures and an overall description of your design, algorithm, and implementation.

For each critique or assignment, give the page the label specified in the assignment and it will automatically be linked to the course wiki page.

Weekly Topics and Readings

  • OpenGL
  • Shading Models
  • Ray Tracing
  • Radiosity
  • Plants and Forests
  • OpenGL Project Presentations
  • Non-Photorealistic Rendering I
  • Non-Photorealistic Rendering II
  • Texture
  • Photorealistic Project Presentations
  • Animation
  • Splines and Subdivision Surfaces
  • Fluid Flow
  • Non-Photorealistic Project Presentations
  • Special Effects
  • TBD, possibly hardware
  • TBD, possibly game engines