Computer Graphics
Number: CSD 15-462
Instructor: Nancy Pollard
Teaching Assistants: Evan Shimizu
Susan Wang
Felipe Gomez-Frittelli
Office Hours:
Pollard: By Appointment
Evan: Tues: 8-10 pm
Susan: Wed: 8-10 pm
Felipe: Thur: 8-10 pm
Time: TR 10:30 am - 11:50 am
Location: DH A302 (Lecture)
GHC 5201 (Office Hours)
Discussion Board: Piazza
Final: Monday, May 8, 8:30-11:30am, DH A302


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. 2nd ed. Wellesley: A K Peters, 2005.

OpenGL® Architecture Review Board. OpenGL® Programming Guide. 8th ed. Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2013.

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® 4.3 specification.

Assignments & Grading

  • (10%) Homework 1
  • (10%) Project 1
  • (15%) Project 2
  • (15%) Project 3
  • (10%) Project 4
  • (15%) 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 01/14
Slides: Lecture 1 Slides
Name: OpenGL®
Date: Thurs 01/16
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 01/21
Slides: Lecture 3 Slides
Name: Transformations
Date: Thurs 01/23
Slides: Lecture 4 Slides
Notes: Warp Curves
Name: More Transformations
Date: Tue 01/28
Slides: Lecture 5 Slides
Notes: Lecture 5 Notes
Name: Viewing and Cameras
Date: Thurs 01/30
Notes: Project 1 Due
Slides: Lecture 6 Slides
Notes: Manipulating Transforms
Name: Meshes and Surfaces
Date: Tue 02/04
Notes: Project 2 Assigned
Notes: Charles Loop's Masters Thesis
Project: Project 2 Description
Project: Project 2 Handout
Name: More Surfaces
Date: Thurs 02/06
Slides: Lecture 8 Slides
Slides: Subdivision Project Slides
Light, Color, and Rendering
Name: Shading / Light
Date: Tue 02/11
Slides: Lecture 9 Slides
Name: Textures
Date: Thurs 02/13
Slides: Lecture 10 Slides
Notes: Reaction Diffusion Textures
Name: Curves and Splines
Date: Tue 02/18
Homework: Homework 1
Notes: Homework 1 Assigned
Notes: Project 2 Due
Slides: Lecture 11 Slides
Notes: Splines Handour
Name: Color / Light
Date: Thurs 02/20
Slides: Color Slides
Slides: Light Slides
Slides: SIGGRAPH Course Notes
Name: Ray Tracing
Date: Tue 02/25
Notes: Project 3 Assigned
Notes: Homework 1 Due
Solutions: Homework 1 Solutions
Project: Project 3 Description
Project: Project 3 Handout
Slides: Lecture 12 Slides
Name: Spatial Data Structures
Date: Thurs 02/27
Slides: Lecture 13 Slides
Midterm Exam
Name: Midterm Review
Date: Tue 03/04
Notes: Mid Review
Name: Midterm Exam
Date: Thurs 03/06
Date: Tue 03/11
Date: Thurs 03/13
Name: Real-Performance Ray Tracing - Kayvon Fatahalian
Date: Tue 03/18
Slides: Lecture 13 Notes
Name: Guest Lecture - Jim McCann
Date: Thurs 03/20
Website: Link
Global Illumination
Name: Radiosity
Date: Tue 03/25
Slides: Lecture Notes
Notes: Cohen Radiosity Paper
Name: Photon Mapping
Date: Thurs 03/27
Notes: Project 4 Assigned
Notes: Project 3 Due
Slides: Lecture 14 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH 2007 Raytracing
Project: Project 4 Description
Name: Direct / Indirect Separation
Date: Tue 04/01
Slides: Lecture 15 Slides
Notes: Krishnan Paper
Name: NPR
Date: Thurs 04/03
Slides: Lecture 16 Slides
Notes: NPR Paper
Name: Illusions
Date: Tue 04/08
Slides: Lecture 17 Slides
Date: Thurs 04/10
Name: Differential Equations and Particle Systems
Date: Tue 04/15
Project: Project 5 Assigned
Project: Project 4 Due
Project: Project 5 Description
Project: Project 5 Handout
Slides: Lecture 18 Slides
Notes: SIGGRAPH Course Notes
Name: Character Animation
Date: Tue 04/17
Slides: Lecture 19 Slides
Name: Cloth and Fluids
Date: Thurs 04/22
Notes: Lecture 20 Notes
Name: Image Processing
Date: Thurs 04/24
Slides: Lecture 21 Notes
Notes: HDR Notes
Notes: Photo Clip-Art
Final Exam
Name: Final Review
Date: Tue 04/29
Notes: Project 5 Due
Notes: Final Review
Notes: Midterm Review
Notes: Midterm Solutions
Name: Project Showcase
Date: Thurs 05/01

Last updated: May 03, 2014