CS 536 Computer Graphics I
Course Page : http://www.cs.drexel.edu/~david/Classes/CS536

Recommended Textbooks:
  1. Introduction to Computer Graphics, by James D. Foley, Andries van Dam, et al. Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1994; ISBN: 0201609215
Suggested Supplemental Texts:
  1. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, 3rd ed., by Peter Shirley et al., AK Peters, 2009, ISBN: 978-1-56881-469-8
  2. The Essentials of CAGD, by Gerald Farin and Dianne Hansford. AK Peters, 2000; ISBN: 978-1568811239
It is University policy that you read your official Drexel email; it is the course policy that you read it at least once per day.

Course Objective

Computer Graphics represents a vast technical field, ranging from mathematics and geometry topics to computer hardware and software engineering topics to rendering, animation and virtual reality, far more than can be comprehensively covered in a 10 week term. Computer Graphics I is designed to provide students with an introduction to the fundamental algorithms of computer graphics through detailed coverage of the mathematics and implementation of 2D and 3D line, curve and surface drawing. The course culminates with a focus on 3D viewing and visible surface algorithms.


Students are required to have taken CS260 (Data Structures), CS 350 (Software Design) and Math 201 (Linear Algebra). You will find this course extremely difficult if you do not have strong (B or better) linear algebra skills. Minimal review of linear algebra will be given in this class. Students are assumed to have excellent knowledge of programming. Students can use whatever programming language they wish (C, C++, Java, etc.) for the assignments in this class with the following caveat: you will need to turn in both source code and a makefile for testing and evaluation. Code must run as a single command-line process on the CS Department's Linux (tux) computers, or possibly on a MacOS X computer, without needing special libraries. Arguments passed to the command-line will parameterize assignments; hence you'll need to read command-line arguments (argc, argv) and parse input files. This course is mathematically intense and implementationally challenging. You will be required to implement complex data structures and mathematical calculations as a regular part of your assignments.

Course Grading Scheme
  • Assignments (80%)
  • Presentation (10%)
  • Final exam (10%)
I intend to use the standard grading scale of 100→ 90 (A), 89→ 80 (B), 79→ 70 (C), 69→ 60 (D), else (F).
Also note that incompletes will not be given for this course.


Students must work on the assignments individually. No geometry or graphics libraries may be used in the homework assignments.

1 point per day (max of 5 points) will be deducted from late assignments.
You will be given a grade of 0 if an assignment is not turned in by the last day of classes.

The programming assignments should be submitted on the class WebCT page before 11:59 PM on the due date.

Note: If the TA or instructor finds strong evidence of cheating on assignments and/or the final examination, the student(s) involved will receive an "F" in the course, and a memo describing the cheating will be added to their student record. Be very careful, it is not worth the risk.
Note: Your source code for all programming assignments will be run through a plagiarism detection system. This program uses compiler techniques, which are invariant of syntax and style. If you are sharing/borrowing code with other classmates (from this or previous years), you will get caught.


Every graduate student will make a 10 minute presentation based on a research paper from the
SIGGRAPH Proceedings or the Seminal Graphics Collection.
Students should choose a paper from 1998 or earlier on a subject that will not be covered in class by Professor Breen.

If you are not on a drexel.edu computer you will have to access the papers through the Drexel Library by clicking on "ACM Digital Library" -> "Proceedings" -> "SIGGRAPH".

Online students will pick a paper and submit a Powerpoint presentation that describes the paper. There should be at least 10 slides in the presentation.

Presentation Schedule


There will be a final exam on the material from class that is NOT covered by the regular assignments.
This includes the material presented by the graduate students.

Final Exam Topics

Link to Recorded Lectures


Week 1 (September 21 - 25)
Week 2 (September 28 - October 2)
  • Reading Assignment
    • Foley et al.: Chapter 5
    • Shirley et al.: Chapter 6
  • October 1 - Lecture: 2D-Transformations 6 per page
  • October 1 - Lecture: 3D-Transformations 6 per page
Week 3 (October 5 - 9)
Week 4 (October 12 - 16)
  • Reading Assignment
    • Foley et al.: 9.2→9.2.3
    • Shirley et al.: 2.5, Chapter 15
    • Farin and Hansford: Chapters 3, 4, 5 & 9
  • October 15 - Lectures: Introduction To Curves 6 per page
  • October 15 - Lecture: Bezier 6 per page
Week 5 (October 19 - 23)
Week 6 (October 26 - October 30)
  • Reading Assignment
    • Foley et al.: 3.7, 3.14, 6.1→6.4
    • Shirley et al.: 8.3, Chapters 7 and 9
  • October 29 - Lecture: Thick Primitives 6 per page
  • October 29 - Lecture: Introduction to 3D Viewing 6 per page
Week 7 (November 2 - 6)
Week 8 (November 9 - 13)
  • Reading Assignment
    • Foley et al.: 13→13.4, 9.3, 9.4
    • Farin and Hansford: Chapters 6, 7 & 12; 13.7→13.8
  • November 12 - Lecture: Surfaces 6 per page
  • November 12 - Lecture: Subdivision Surfaces and Solid Modeling
Week 9 (November 16 - November 20)
  • Reading Assignment
    • Foley et al.: Chapter 10
    • Shirley et al.: Chapters 4, 10, 13, 16, 24 & 25; 8.2, 8.4
  • November 19 - Lecture: Solid Models 6 per page
  • November 19 - Lecture: Culling, Z-Buffering and Ray Tracing 6 per page
  • November 20 - Assignment 4 Due
Week 10 (November 30 - December 4)

File last modified on December 6, 2009.