CS180: Introduction to Computer Graphics

Winter 2020

Course Description
[Shadows Demo by NVIDIA]
[Pen Tool in Adobe Photoshop]
[Whitted Style Ray Tracing]
[Fluid Simulation by Muller et al.]

This course is an introduction to the foundations of three-dimensional computer graphics. Topics covered include 2D and 3D transformations, Rasterization based interactive 3D graphics, shading and reflectance models, texture mapping, geometric modeling using Bézier and B-Spline curves, ray tracing, and animation. There will be an emphasis on both the mathematical and geometric aspects of graphics, as well as the ability to write fully functional 3D graphics programs.

Pre-requisites for the course:
Linear algebra, C++ Programming, Algorithm, Data Structure

Instructor's Announcement

Welcome to the CS180, Introduction to Computer Graphics! In this course, you will learn almost everything about MODERN topics in Computer Graphics. You don't have to write any GPU code, such as OpenGL and its shading language GLSL, so you can focus on the ideas and algorithms rather than painful GPU implementation and debugging. That being said, we do require C++ programming, which is difficult to replace for its high performance and handy libraries.

We are also aware that not all the students are clear what this course is about. Mostly, there's confusion between this Computer Graphics course and other Computer Vision courses. We suggest that you read the tentative syllabus below, to find whether this is the course that you are looking for. Basically, this course does not involve any "guesses", so it is not related to Machine Learning and Data Science. It is about understanding the mechanics that the real world and the computers generate and represent visual information. This course is not about how to use tools to create 3D scenes like an artist either, but it will tell you the science behind these tools to make animations and movies.


Lingqi Yan
Email: lingqi@cs.ucsb.edu
Office hour: Tuesdays 2PM - 3PM, HFH 2119

Teaching Assistants

Yaoyi Bai
Email: yaoyibai@cs.ucsb.edu
Office hour: Fridays 4PM - 5PM, HFH 5110

Göksu Güvendiren
Email: goksu@cs.ucsb.edu
Office hour: Mondays 1PM - 2PM, Trailer 936

Sign up on Piazza for course announcements, discussion and Q/A!

Time and Locations

Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:00AM - 12:15PM
Phelps 2516

Discussion Sessions:
9:00AM - 9:50AM, Kerr 2166B
10:00PM - 10:50AM, Girv 2112

Books Recommended

There are no required textbooks for this course. The lecture slides and discussion materials will be your main references. And they will usually be available by the next day of the corresponding lecture/discussion. Other related reading materials will be available to download from this course website before lectures.

Optional references:
Steve Marschner and Peter Shirley, "
Fundamentals of Computer Graphics", 3rd or later edition. (Recommended as "Reading" of each lecture)
Tomas Akenine-Möller et al., "Real-Time Rendering", 3rd or later edition. (Electronic version of the 4th edition is available in UCSB library.)

Assignments and Grading

Your assignments are weekly, mostly programming tasks. As announced earlier, we have optimized your implementation workload, so you are usually expected to write NO MORE THAN 20 LINES OF CODE per week. Besides, we provide code skeleton for each assignment, along with a pre-configured Ubuntu virtual machine for you to get started smoothly.

All assignments are due by 11:59PM Pacific Time on the dates specified. You should plan ahead. Each late day will cause a 10% off the final score of the corresponding assignment. We will use Gauchospace for submissions. Detailed submission guidelines will be in the assignment descriptions.

You will work on the assignments individually. Each assignment takes 8% of your final grade.

There will be one midterm exam and no finals. The midterm exam is in written form and will be taken in class. And it takes up 18% of your final grade.

After the midterm, you will be working on a course project in groups of two or three. The topic of the project can be arbitrarily selected from all the topics covered in this course. The project also takes up 18% of your final grade.

Course Syllabus

Here's a tentative schedule, which is relatively fluid and may change (quite frequently) as the quarter progresses.

Week Date Topics
1 Jan 7 Overview of Computer Graphics [PDF]
Jan 9 Vectors and Linear Algebra [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 2 (Miscellaneous Math) and Chapter 5 (Linear Algebra)
2 Jan 14 Transformation 1 (2D Transformations) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 6 (Transformation Matrices), Sections 6.1 and 6.3
Jan 16 Transformation 2 (3D Transformations) [PDF] [Supplementary]
Reading: Chapter 6 (Transformation Matrices), Sections 6.2, 6.4 and 6.5
3 Jan 21 Transformation 3 (Viewing) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 7 (Viewing)
Jan 23 Rasterization 1 (Triangles) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 3 (Raster Images), Sections 3.1 and 3.2;
Chapter 7 (Viewing), Section 7.1.1; Chapter 8 (The Graphics Pipeline), Section 8.1
4 Jan 28 Rasterization 2 (Antialiasing and Z-Buffering) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 8 (The Graphics Pipeline), Sections 8.2 and 8.3;
Chapter 9 (Signal Processing)
Jan 30 Shading 1 (Illumination and Shading) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 10 (Surface Shading), Sections 10.1 and 10.2
5 Feb 4 Shading 2 (Graphics Pipeline and Texture Mapping) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 11 (Texture Mapping), Sections 11.1 and 11.2
Feb 6 Shading 3 (Texture Mapping cont.) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 11 (Texture Mapping), Sections 11.3 and 11.4
6 Feb 11 Geometry 1 (Introduction) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 15 (Curves), Sections 15.1, 15.2, 15.3
Feb 13 Geometry 2 (Curves and Surfaces) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 15 (Curves), Sections 15.6.1
7 Feb 18 Midterm (in class)
Feb 20 Ray Tracing 1 (Introduction) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 4 (Ray Tracing)
8 Feb 25 Ray Tracing 2 (Acceleration) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 12 (Data Structures for Graphics), Sections 12.1 to 12.3
Feb 27 Light Transport and Materials [PDF]
Reading: N/A
9 Mar 3 Animation 1 (Introduction and Mass Spring System) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 16 (Computer Animation), Sections 16.1, 16.2
Mar 5 Animation 2 (Simulation and Kinematics) [PDF]
Reading: Chapter 16 (Computer Animation), Section 16.5
10 Mar 10 Color [PDF]
Reading: N/A
Mar 12 No Class

Programming and Collaboration Policy

Programming projects are to be implemented individually from scratch. That is, you should not derive solutions from existing sources or previous instances of this course (including previous postings from the online course, at other universities etc.). Discussion of programming projects is allowed and encouraged, but copying of solutions or code from other students, or from students who previously took this course in any university or online setting is not allowed. If you do obtain substantial help from the instructor, teaching assistant/tutor or another student, you must document this in your program. Furthermore, you should in general not copy code from other sources. If in doubt, please ask. Further specifics are given in the assignment specifications.

To repeat, you may not copy solutions or code from other students, or students who previously took this or a similar class at a university or online. You must clearly declare any code and ideas that came directly from others, as opposed to what you created yourself. If you fail to do so, we can only assume you are presenting your own work. Of course, presenting other people's work as your own is academic dishonesty. Students who engage in dishonest activities, with an intent to alter their grade, will receive an F for the course and be reported to the University for further action. Note that you will also be held liable for publicly posting your code on Github or other public websites, if another student subsequently copies from it.


Students with documented disability are welcome to contact the DSP office to arrange the necessary academic accommodations. We will also spare no efforts to help.