Computer Graphics
Number: CSD 15-462 /15-662
Instructor: Nancy Pollard
Teaching Assistants: Harry Gifford
Q Youn Hong
David Matlack
Steven Fackler
Office Hours:
Pollard: By Appointment
Q: Sun: 8-10 pm
Steven: Mon: 8-10 pm
David: Wed: 8-10 pm
Harry: Thurs: 8-10 pm
Time: TR 10:30 pm - 11:50 pm
Location: GHC 4401 (Lecture)
GHC 5205 (Office Hours)
Piazza: Piazza Board
(Use Piazza for the announcements and discussion)


This course provides a comprehensive introduction to computer graphics modeling, animation, and rendering. Topics covered include basic image processing, geometric transformations, geometric modeling of curves and surfaces, animation, 3-D viewing, visibility algorithms, shading, and ray tracing.



The programming assignments in this course will be written in C++ and require knowledge of mathematics involving matrices, vectors, etc. Therefore successful completion of the following courses is required:

15-213/18-243 Introduction to Computer Systems

and either

18-202 Mathematical Foundations of Electrical Engineering

or both

21-241 Matrix Algebra, and
21-259 Calculus in Three Dimensions

Once you've completed 15-462, you may be interested in other courses offered by the Carnegie Mellon Graphics Lab.


There are two required textbooks for 15-462 this semester:

Shirley, Peter et. al. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics. 3rd ed. Wellesley: A K Peters, 2009.

OpenGL® Architecture Review Board. OpenGL® Programming Guide. 6th ed. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2007.

An older edition of the OpenGL® Programming Guide (covering the OpenGL® 1.1 specification) may be found online here and should be sufficient for the purposes of this course. However, the printed text may be of interest as it is newer than the online version and covers the OpenGL® 2.1 specification.

Assignments & Grading

  • (10%) Homework 1
  • (10%) Homework 2
  • (10%) Project 1
  • (10%) Project 2
  • (10%) Project 3
  • (15%) Project 4
  • (10%) Project 5
  • (10%) Midterm Exam
  • (15%) Final Exam
You will be given a total of three "late days" for the semester. You may use these late days to extend the deadline of any programming or written assignment without penalty. Once all three late days have been used, further extensions will only be granted at the instructor's discretion and may incur a grading penalty.

Note: Please use the Bulletin Board as a primary resource rather than emailing TAs directly. It will yield a more timely respones as all the TAs will be browsing it and your question may even have been answered already!


Note: This syllabus may change during the course. Keep checking back.

Name: Introduction
Date: Tue 01/15
Slides: Lecture 1 Slides
Name: OpenGL®
Date: Thurs 01/17
Slides: Lecture 2 Slides
Reading: Red Book Ch. 1 and 2
Notes: Project 1 Assigned
Project: Project 1 Description
Project: Project 1 Handout
Name: Math for Computer Graphics
Date: Tue 01/22
Slides: Lecture 3 Slides
Notes: Lecture 3 Notes
Reading: Shirley Ch. 2
Name: Transformations
Date: Thurs 01/24
Slides: Lecture 4 Slides
Notes: Lecture 4 Notes
Reading: Shirley Ch. 6
Name: Viewing/Camera
Date: Tue 01/29
Slides: Lecture 5 Slides
Notes: Lecture 5 Notes
Reading: Shirley Ch. 7
Name: Curves and Splines
Date: Thurs 01/31
Slides: Lecture 6 Slides
Notes: Lecture 6 Notes
Reading: Shirley Ch. 15
Notes: Project 1 Due
Name: Meshes and Surfaces
Date: Tue 02/05
Slides: Lecture 7 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH 2000 Course Notes
Slides: Project 2 Slides
Notes: Project 2 Assigned
Project: Project 2 Description
Project: Project 2 Handout
Name: Shading/Light
Date: Thurs 02/07
Slides: Lecture 8 Slides
Reading: Shirley Ch. 10
Name: Materials
Date: Tue 02/12
Slides: Lecture 8 Slides
Name: Textures
Date: Thurs 02/14
Slides: Lecture 9 Slides
Notes: Texture Synthesis
Reading: Shirley Ch. 11
Notes: Homework 1 Assigned
Homework: Homework 1
Homework: Homework 1 Solution
Name: Non-photorealistic Rendering
Date: Tue 02/19
Slides: Lecture 10 Slides
Notes: NPR Paper 1
Notes: NPR Paper 2
Notes: Project 2 Due
Notes: Project 3 Assigned
Project: Project 3 Checkpoint Description
Project: Project 3 Description
Project: Project 3 Handout
Name: Illusions
Date: Thurs 02/21
Slides: Lecture 11 Slides
Name: Color
Date: Tue 02/26
Slides: Lecture 12 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH 2001 Course Notes
Notes: Homework 1 Due
Name: Light
Date: Thurs 02/28
Slides: Lecture 13 Slides
Notes: Rendering Equation Notes
Notes: Rendering Equation Paper
Midterm Exam
Name: Midterm Review
Date: Tue 03/05
Notes: Midterm Review
Notes: Project 3 Checkpoint Due
Name: Midterm Exam
Date: Thurs 03/07
Date: Tue 03/12
Date: Thurs 03/14
Name: Ray Tracing
Date: Tue 03/19
Slides: Lecture 14 Slides
Notes: Board Notes
Name: Spatial Data Structures
Date: Thurs 03/21
Slides: Lecture 15 Slides
Notes: Project 3 Due
Notes: Project 4 Assigned
Project: Project 4 Description
Project: Project 4 Handout
Name: More Ray Tracing
Date: Tue 03/26
Reading: Shirley Ch. 13
Notes: Distributed Raytracing Paper
Indirect Lighting
Name: Radiosity
Date: Thurs 03/28
Slides: Lecture 17 Slides
Notes: Radiosity Paper
Name: Animation and Motion Capture
Date: Tue 04/02
Slides: Lecture 18 Slides
Name: Photon Mapping
Date: Thurs 04/04
Slides: Lecture 19 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH 2007 Course Notes
Name: Direct-Indirect Separation
Date: Tue 04/09
Slides: Lecture 20 Slides
Notes: Direct-Indirect Separation Paper
Name: Differential Equations and Particle Systems
Date: Thurs 04/11
Slides: Lecture 21 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH 1997 Course Notes
Notes: Project 4 due
Notes: Project 5 assigned
Project: Project 5 Description
Project: Project 5 Handout
Notes: Homework 2 assigned
Homework: Homework 2
Homework: Homework 2 Solution
Name: Cloth, Characters and Fluids
Date: Tue 04/16
Slides: Lecture 22 Slides
Notes: Character Physics Paper
Notes: Fluid Dynamics Paper
Date: Thurs 04/18
Name: Image Processing
Date: Tue 04/23
Slides: Lecture 23 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH Course on HDRI
Notes: Homework 2 due
Name: Photo and Webcam Clipart
Date: Thurs 04/25
Notes: Lecture Link
Notes: Lecture Link
Notes: Lecture Link
Final Exam
Name: Final review
Date: Tue 04/30
Slides: Midterm Review
Slides: Final Review
Notes: Project 5 due
Name: Project Showcase
Date: Thurs 05/02
Slides: Showcase Slides
Name: Final Exam
Date: Thurs 05/09
Time: 8:30 - 11:30 AM
Location: WEH 7500

Last updated: May 02, 2013