CIS 277 Introduction to Computer Graphics Techniques

Dr. Norm Badler

Spring 2013

MWF 12-1; Room TBD


Course Objectives:

This course is focused on programming the essential geometric and mathematical concepts underlying modern computer graphics.  Using both 2D and 3D implementations, it covers fundamental topics in graphical user interfaces, computational geometry, 3D modeling and graphics algorithms.


CIS 120 .  CIS 121 and CIS240 are useful pre-or co-requisites.

Course Function:

This course is designed as a first course in programming computer graphics algorithms, bridging introductory programming and mathematics with the more advanced graphics topics covered in CIS460.  It is offered as a Spring term sophomore course and is required for DMD majors (entering Fall 2006 or later). 

Course Format:

The course is intended as an intensive programming course meeting three times a week. Students will create a computational graphics and geometry software library over the course of the semester.  Software design, debugging, unit testing, code re-use, and code sharing will be important characteristics of the programming assignments.   There will be (nominally) one assignment due each week.  The individual assignments will be small enough to ensure completion, but they are designed to grow into a library of reusable C++ code for other graphics projects or purposes.  All code will be based on OpenGL and/or Visual Studio, with QT used as the GUI development environment.  There will be a midterm and a final exam.  The grading will be approximately 15% midterm, 20% final and about 7% per homework assignment.


Interactive Computer Graphics, by Edward Angel, 6th Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2012.

Syllabus (programming interleaved with concepts):

  1. Overview of C++ and software library engineering and code debugging. 
    1. Basic differences between C++ and Java
    2. Setting up and compiling projects
    3. C++ Pointers
    4. Debugging tips
    5. Designing, implementing, and connecting C++ classes
    6. File input and output
  2. Vectors and matrices
  3. Introduction to 2D and 3D graphics
  4. 2D and 3D transformations
  5. Matrix data structure for polylines and polygons
  6. Basic OpenGL for 2D drawing
  7. Scene Graph construction and traversal
  8. QT
    1. An introduction
    2. Widgets and how they are incorporated into your code
    3. Event driven programming
  9. QT Designer
  10. Viewing transformations
  11. Line segment to line segment intersection
  12. 2D polygon manipulation:
    1. Bounding boxes (AABB, OABB)
    2. Point in polygon algorithm
  13. Other useful 2D geometry algorithms
  14. Introduction to 3D graphics programming
  15. 3D viewing transformations and cameras
  16. Normals, height fields, and meshes
  17. Lighting and material properties
  18. Sub-division surfaces
    1. Concepts
    2. Data structure
  19. Fractal surfaces
  20. Progressive mesh refinement and terrain models
  21. Bezier curves and surfaces
  22. Polygon mesh
    1. Data structure for vertices, faces, and edges; access efficiency
    2. Mesh editing
  23. Textures in OpenGL
  24. Shape deformation: global transformations and free-form deformations
  25. Image morphing
  26. Quaternions