Course Objectives
ECS 175  Computer Graphics
Fall Quarter, 2014
Computer Graphics is the illustration field of Computer Science. Its use today spans virtually all scientific fields and is utilized for design, presentation, education and training. Computer Graphics and its derivative, visualization, have become the primary tools by which the flood of information from Computational Science is analyzed.
The effective construction of threedimensional computergenerated illustrations is not only a computer science problem, it is a problem that involves other fields as well. For example, It depends heavily on mathematics for its geometric basis and computational algorithms, and it depends on Physics for its principles of geometric optics (the reflection of light from surfaces determines the displayed color of the surface). It is also the study of a field that provides methods by which illustrations can be generated by others. Thus it provides a feedback mechanism to the problem solver  the illustration.
In this way, it is unique in the computer science discipline. Computer Graphics is utilized by a wide variety of fields  including computer science  as a tool to assist in the problem solving aspects of the field.
The primary objective of this course is to have you learn the basic principles of 3dimensional computer graphics. Thus, we will study the elementary mathematics techniques that allow us to position objects in three dimensional space. We will study the geometric optics necessary to determine how light bounces off surfaces. But, most important, we will study ways to utilize a computer system and methods to implement the algorithms and techniques necessary to produce basic 3dimensional illustrations. These topics will include the following:
transformational geometry  utilizing transforms to positioning and manipulate objects in 3dimensional space. This includes the positioning of virtual cameras and light sources.
rendering of complex models  accurately drawing illustrations of complex objects with arbitrary camera and light sources.
shading algorithms  determining how a surface should be shaded to produce realistic illustrations.
Curves and surfaces  methods for rendering and shading curved objects
To understand these principles of computer graphics requires not only study of the literature, but experimental work on a graphics system. Therefore, as part of this course, the students will design and implement a substantial computer graphics system/project and will generate some complex illustrations with this system.
This course is not a discussion of standard graphics systems, nor experimentation with canned packages. It is not a tutorial on PHIGS, GKS, Wavefront, XAOS, RenderMan, ALIAS, Powerpoint, PEX, Paint, Animator, or any other package. We will focus on the fundamental algorithms of computer graphics from which all these other packages are derived.
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Computer Science Department, University of California, Davis
All rights reserved.
