Computer Graphics

CSCI 490-J4, CSCI 680-N6

Fall 2017

Course Description

This course will provide an overview of fundamental principles and algorithms used in computer graphics. The emphasis is on fundamental. This is not a course on making cinematic special effects, video games, highly visual web pages, or using 3D modeling packages. (Although all of these areas are natural extensions of the ideas that will be presented.)

Suggested Topics

Following is a suggested list of topics to cover during the semester. The topics will be taken as quickly as time permits.


Nothing official yet, but a working familiarity with data structures (i.e., lists, stacks, trees, multi-dimensional arrays) is essential. CSCI 340 is strongly recommended. Math 240 is also highly recommended.

WARNING: Computer graphics uses a lot of math. You won't need to to solve any calculus problems in this course, but you need to be comfortable in following a discussion that involves calculus. You should be very comfortable dealing with linear algebra, although most matrices will be no larger than 4x4, and nothing more complicated than matrix inversion will be required.

Required Materials

  1. Computer Graphics, by Hearn and Baker, (4th Edition, 2011), Prentice Hall
  2. Course notes made available through the course web page during the semester.


Assignments are due on the assigned date. Late assignments are reduced in grade by 10% for each school day late.

Programming Assignments

There will be 5-6 major programming assignments, likely based on the following topics. Assignments should be developed to run on the system/environment determined by the instructor (C/C++ on Cygwin for Windows or Linux at this writing.) Support code and data files will be provided for these systems, but rarely for any others. Each project will be passed off with the instructor. Signup sheets will be made available to schedule pass offs. Passing off each assignment requires electronic submission of all source code files and source data files. Each assignment has an artistic component where you design your own scene and render it. Noteworthy images will be posted on the web.

Research Papers

In addition to other class assignments, graduate students are required to turn in a research paper on computer graphics topics. Topics must be submitted and preapproved by dates that will be given in class.

Paper Guidelines

The paper should contain at least 6 pages of double spaced text. Font size is no greater than 12 pt. Margins no more than 1 inch on all sides. Images and diagrams are extra and do not count towards 6 pages of text. Each paper requires at least four scholarly references.

Scholarly References

Anything in the library is not automatically a scholarly reference. Product reviews are not scholarly references. Descriptions of applications of computer graphics might be scholarly. Research journals and conference proceedings, especially those produced by the ACM or IEEE are almost always considered scholarly references. When in doubt, check with the instructor.


There will be a midterm that will be announced in class at least a week in advance. Exams will usually involve numeric computations, so calculators are mandatory. All calculators must have their batteries removed before the exams.

The final exam will be given in accordance with university policy at the time scheduled in the course catalog. If you have more than two final exams scheduled for the same day, you have the right to request the rescheduling of the exam with the highest course number.


The weighting used in calculating the final grades reflects the difference in course load:
Programs Paper Midterm Final
Undergraduate 40% 0 30% 30%
Graduate 30% 15% 25% 30%
The final grade percentages follow the standard 10 point breakdown.
A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D F
[94-100%] [90-94%) [87-90%) [83-87%) [80-84%) [77-80%) [73-77%) [70-73%) [60-70%) <60%
There is no curve. The instructor reserves the right to adjust class percentages upward. As personal policy, the instructor does not adjust grades downward to fit some predetermined curve.

Academic Misconduct

You are encouraged to study with others and ask questions of other students in the class. However, any work on assignments and exams must be done alone. You should never lend others your work, and never borrow someone else's work. You should never ask for the answers to an assignment from someone else. You should never offer the answers to an assignment to someone else.

If you have questions as to what is acceptable behavior with regards to sharing information, ask your instructor.

People involved in cheating will face a substantial grade penalty. An academic misconduct report must be filed.


If you need an accommodation for this class, please contact the Disability Resource Center as soon as possible.The DRC coordinates accommodations for students with disabilities. It is located on the 4th floor of the Health Services Building, and can be reached at 815-753-1303 (V) or

Also, please contact me privately as soon as possible so we can discuss your accommodations. The sooner you let us know your needs, the sooner we can assist you in achieving your learning goals in this course.