Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

COMP30071: Advanced Computer Graphics (2009-2010)

This is an archived syllabus from 2009-2010

Advanced Computer Graphics
Level: 3
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP20072
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: 11 weeks.
Lectures: 22 in total, 2 per week, including discussion and Q&A sessions
Lecturers: Roger Hubbold, Stephen Pettifer
Course lecturers: Roger Hubbold

Stephen Pettifer

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture 1.4 Mon 12:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 1 w1-5,7-12 Lecture 1.4 Tue 13:00 - 14:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 100%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 0%
Degrees for which this unit is optional
  • Artificial Intelligence BSc (Hons)


This Course Unit covers the principles of modern techniques for Computer Graphics modelling and image synthesis, on the assumption that students have already completed the introductory Computer Graphics course (COMP20072). Its principal aim is to introduce students to the ever-expanding repertoire of techniques for defining and rendering images of 3D model data. Particular attention is focussed on the increasing requirements for complex rendering and interaction to occur in real-time.

WARNING. The second part of this course deals with global illumination. Although the focus is on understanding the key concepts and algorithms, the material is mathematical in nature. Students taking this course who are uncomfortable with continuous maths (geometry, vector algebra, integration, use of Greek alphabet in notation) may find some of the material challenging.

Learning Outcomes

A student completing this Course Unit should:

Have a knowledge and understanding of the principles of image synthesis, from the construction of application models, to the rendering of images. (A)
Have a knowledge and understanding of current models for the interaction of light and materials, and rendering techniques based on these models. (A)
Have a knowledge and understanding of applications of interactive computer graphics for scientific visualization, and other areas such as engineering, design, simulation and entertainment. (A)
Understand the need for, and the specifics of, techniques for obtaining real-time performance of computer graphics algorithms. (B)
Have a knowledge and understanding of some areas of current computer graphics research. (A)

Assessment of Learning outcomes

All learning outcomes will be assessed by examination.

Contribution to Programme Learning Outcomes

A1, A2, A5, B1, C4.


Introduction and overview (1)

Applications of advanced image synthesis: visualization, animation, games, CAD systems, simulation. The classical graphics pipeline rendering: geometry, tessellation, modelling and viewing transformations, clipping, screen mapping, rasterizing. Global illumination: starting with the image plane, ray tracing. Local versus global illumination.

Modelling techniques (2)

Procedural modelling: fractal geometry, modelling with fractals, particle systems, L-systems.

Model acquisition (2)

Laser scanning; surface fitting; occlusions and hole-filling; acquisition from video.

Speed-up techniques (2)

Examples of model complexity, the need for interaction. Culling techniques: back-face, view frustum, portals, occlusion culling. Spatial enumeration, grids, AABBs, HBBs. Level of detail.

Programmable rendering (1)

The GPU and its architecture. Vertex and pixel shaders.

Non-photorealistic rendering (1)

Approaches to rendering that, instead of striving for traditional photorealism, emphasise information content, visualization and understanding. Early work by Gooch & Gooch, and an overview of more recent techniques.

Image-based rendering (1)

Impostors, billboards, nailboards. Images with depth, the warping equation, layered depth images. Hybrid geometric-image-based rendering.

Introduction to global illumination (1)

What is GI, why is it important, when and how is it used? Light and materials, light transport, energy exchange between surfaces, tracing light paths, participating media.

Modelling surface reflectance (2)

Reflectance, the BRDF, irradiance, radiance. Solid angle, integration over hemisphere. Phong reflectance model.

Refraction, Snell's Law. Subsurface scattering, the BSSRDF. Surface texture, texture mapping, bump mapping, subdivision surfaces. Bidirectional texture functions.

Ray tracing (2)

Basic backward ray tracing, primary and secondary rays, shadow feeler rays, reflection and transparency. Recursive algorithm. RT signature. Real-time ray tracing. Monte Carlo ray tracing. Importance sampling, variance reduction methods. Path tracing, bidirectional ray tracing.

Photon Tracing (3)

The Rendering Equation, overview of photon tracing, tracing direct illumination, indirect illumination. Modelling light sources, emitting photons. Projection maps. Tracing photons, specular and diffuse interactions, Russian Roulette. The photon map, k-d tree. Radiance estimation, final rendering. Caustics.

Review lecture (1)

Recap of course structure and content, question and answer session.

Reading List

The basic material for the course is covered by the recommended reading and although it is not essential to buy these, students will be expected to read additional material on the subjects presented.

So it is recommended that if the books are not purchased then they are studied in the University Library or CS Resource Centre. Other materials, such as copies of published papers, will be made available, on paper and on-line, to supplement the lectures and books.