CS 283, Advanced Computer Graphics Algorithms and Techniques, Prof. Ravi Ramamoorthi


This course is intended to provide a graduate-level introduction to modern computer graphics. We will cover some of the basic background of 3D computer graphics in the areas of geometry, physical simulation/animation, imaging and rendering. The course is intended to bring incoming graduate students or advanced undergraduates up to the research frontier, and prepare them for further work in the field. As such, at least half the material in the course will go over topics of current research interest, such as subdivision, the physical simulation of solids and fluids, and precomputation-based methods for real-time rendering.

Below are some example computer-generated images, of the types of simulation, geometry, rendering and imaging topics we will be studying.

Roster, Mailing List and Newsgroup

The class is here . We have no TA for this course, but we do have a grader: Brandon Wang brandonwang@berkeley.edu Please directly e-mail him your assignments, including homework 0.

We have a Piazza newsgroup; please sign up (CS 283, spring 2013). We will be posting topics of general interest to the class there, so it is important everyone signs up. Given the small size of this course, I will also try to be available on e-mail.

Final Projects For Class

Thank you everyone for a great semester. Here are a selection of final projects (we will add more to this list after migrating from temporary student class accounts).

Old Final Projects from 2010

Please see the following from 2010 fall for an idea of what you can do with your final projects.


CS 283 is intended for advanced undergraduates and incoming graduate students interested in learning about the state of the art in computer graphics. While it is mandatory for PhD students intending to work in computer graphics, it is likely to also be of significant interest to those with interests in computer vision, robotics or related fields, as well as those in other areas with some interest. It is the entry-level course for these students. We also welcome advanced undergraduates, who are interested in pursuing research or industry careers in the field, or just interested in learning more. An obvious prerequisite is to have taken CS 184 (or the equivalent at another university) and have enjoyed/done well in it. Beyond this, strong interest in computer graphics and/or related fields is required, and we encourage those students to enrol. Students who are interested but concerned about the level and prerequisites should contact the instructor.

Relationship to Other Courses

We offer a full plate of computer graphics courses. I hope you will be enthusiastic about, and enrol in these offerings. Besides the undergraduate CS 184, there are a host of graduate classes in geometry, visualization, rendering and so on. More classes will be added in future years, initially as CS 294, then transitioning to permanent numbers. We intend this course (now permanently numbered CS 283) to be the entry-level class for the other special topics courses.

Course Format and Requirements

CS 283 is intended to be a regular lecture course, but adapted for advanced undergraduates and incoming PhD students. A syllabus/schedule is noted below. Grading will be based on 4 programming projects, all of which can and should be done in groups of two (you are responsible in that case for finding partners, and also to ensure each person does their fair share; you can also choose to work individually if you decide, though the requirements will remain the same in this case). In relation to those who took CS 184 with me, the scope of each project is similar to the raytracer and opengl assignments of CS 184, and the workload is therefore similar (one less project but all of large scope; no midterm or final, but the material is obviously more advanced).

You are also welcome to propose your own research or implementation project in lieu of one or more of the assignments, subject to instructor approval. In this way self-directed students may pursue topics of special interest to them. Also, students who are more interested in (say) geometry than rendering, could pursue additional projects in that space. Students are also welcome to take the class pass/fail, and should speak to the instructors in regards to requirements in this case. This may be a good option for more advanced PhD students seeking to learn topics outside their immediate research area. Auditors, who simply want to sit in on the course are also welcome; however, we prefer if you sign up for the course pass/fail instead.

Lectures and Logistics

The lectures will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30-2:00pm in Soda Hall, room 320. The first class will be on Tuesday, Jan 22. Please feel free to contact the instructor regarding talking about the class material. Since this is an advanced course, we intend these discussions to be more informal, and not need the formal scope of office hours. In general, however, Prof. Ramamoorthi will be available after class. You may also e-mail him for an appointment or drop in at other times.


The course will be graded on the basis of four assignments, that primarily involve programming systems for modeling, rendering and animation or imaging. These assignments can be done individually or in groups of two. If in a group, both partners will receive the same grade. You may have different partners for different assignments. The assignments are due on the dates listed, and will usually be submitted by creating a web site and sending the link to the instructors. The website should not be modified after the due date.

Since the time provided is 3-4 weeks for each assignment, we will not usually allow extensions unless you ask beforehand with a good reason. We prefer you instead turn in what you have as of the deadline. Since this is an advanced graduate class, we expect you to be organized, working through the semester constantly.

You are also free (and encouraged) to speak to the instructor about substituting a research or implementation project for one or more of the assignments. In general, you will be asked to provide a brief written plan of work, and the instructor can then approve that as a substitute for the assignment. This allows you to focus more clearly on topics of interest.

The four assignments (and assignment 0) are all available below. They are all fairly substantial (and we hope instructive) so you are encouraged to start early.

Assignment 0 is simply biographical information, as in CS 184. Please complete it by Thu, Jan 24, 11:59pm. E-mail the grader your name, e-mail address, year and major, and primary development platform as separate lines. Also include a 120x160 image of yourself for the class roster. The e-mail could simply be something like

Brandon Wang
EECS Senior
Mac OS X Mountain Lion

In addition, you would attach your photograph, and include any other information of interest. This is just like you did in CS 184.
For those students who have never previously written a raytracer, you should also do that in the first two weeks of the class; please see the note on assignment 2 below.

Assignment 1 on Mesh Simplification and Progressive Meshes is available as a PDF file here. The due date is Feb 22, 11:59pm.
We have placed a number of models here , and most are available in a ZIP file. The most relevant papers on which this assignment is based are by Hoppe 96 and Garland and Heckbert 97. You are also encouraged to look at the web pages of Garland and Hoppe for additional support material. In particular, note the appendix in Garland's PhD thesis for implementation details on quadric error metrics.

Assignment 2 on Monte Carlo rendering is available as a PDF file here. The due date is Mar 20, 11:59pm.
For those students who have no previous experience in rendering/raytracing, please refer to lectures 9 and 10 from the CS 184 online lectures, as well as the linked CS 184 Raytracer Assignment. For those students only, this is a prelude to assignment 2 (and counts for 30% of the grade for assignment 2). It should be turned in along with assignment 2, but we recommend you complete it even before assignment 2, in the first 2 weeks of the course (set yourself a due date of Feb 5, 11:59pm). Most students will not need to do this assignment, instead starting with their existing raytracing code, but those who did not take CS 184 with me may want to take a brief look.

Assignment 3 on Real-Time or Image-Based rendering is available as a PDF file here. The due date is Apr 19, 11:59pm.

Assignment 4 is the final project, and is available as a PDF file here. The due date is May 13, 11:59pm.


Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to


There are no books specifically required for this course. Much of the material comes from more recent work, embodied as papers or other such material. Chapters of books may be referenced as reading material and will generally be handed out in class. Papers will be linked, and can be downloaded from the website or the ACM digital library. The primary material will be these handouts and the lecture slides.

For the first edition of the course, we asked one student to scribe each lecture. For those parts of this year's edition that follow a similar structure, these scribe notes, available from that website may be useful. (Please note that we have reordered the syllabus somewhat).


The (tentative) course schedule is as follows, with linked lecture slides below. Assignments are due after the day listed below. The course will cover the main aspects of computer graphics, namely, modeling, rendering, animation and imaging in that order.

We will spend the first two weeks on the introduction and overview, as well as reviewing some basic concepts (Fourier analysis and sampling for imaging, and basics of 3D objects and meshes). For those with no previous rendering experience, a basic raytracer should be written in the first 2 weeks.

Therafter, we will start on geometric modeling (assignment 1), describing mesh data structures and mesh simplification. We will also discuss subdivision (which is one possibility for assignment 4). Our next unit will focus on rendering (assignments 2 and 3). We will start with basic global illumination and path tracing, and then discuss real-time and image-based rendering. Many lectures will discuss topics of current research interest in offline and real-time rendering, as well as physically accurate materials. We will then move to animation and physical simulation, starting with basic geometric concepts, kinematics, and mass-spring and rigid body simulation, as well as motion capture (writing a physical simulation is one choice for the final project). Our final lectures will be on imaging and computational photography.



Due Related Reading Lecture Notes
Jan 22 Introduction and Overview Biog Info (by Thu) PPT   PDF  
Jan 24 Fourier Analysis and Sampling FvDFH 14.10 PPT   PDF    
Jan 29 3D objects and meshes PPT   PDF    
Jan 31 Mesh Data Structures PPT   PDF    
Feb 5 Mesh Simplification and Progressive Meshes Hoppe 96 PPT   PDF    
Feb 7 Quadric Error Metrics Garland 97 PPT   PDF    
Feb 12 Subdivision Stam 98   Siggraph 00 Notes PPT   PDF    
Feb 14 Illumination and Reflection Cohen Wallace   Torrance Sparrow   Cook Torrance PPT   PDF    
Feb 19 Global Illumination and Rendering Equation Kajiya paper   PPT   PDF    
Feb 21 Monte Carlo Integration Assignment 1 Veach Thesis (Ch. 2)   Stanford Course (Part 2)     PPT   PDF    
Feb 26 Monte Carlo Path Tracing Siggraph Course Notes    Cook 84 PPT   PDF    
Feb 28 Recent Advances in Offline Rendering PPT   PDF    
Mar 5 Real-Time Rendering Heidrich   Cabral   Envmap   Shadows 1   Shadows 2 PPT   PDF
Mar 7 Real-Time Rendering 2 Continue Shadow/Env Maps
Mar 12 IBR + Light Fields Siggraph 00 Course Notes PPT   PDF
Mar 14 Frequency Analysis + Signal Processing PPT   PDF
Mar 19 Precomputation-Based Rendering Assignment 2 Sloan 02   Ng 03   Ng 04   PRT Survey   PPT   PDF
Mar 21 Basic Geometric Concepts PPT   PDF
Apr 2 Rotations See above
Apr 4 Inverse Kinematics PPT   PDF
Apr 16 Physical Simulation 1 Siggraph Course Notes PPT   PDF
Apr 18 Computational Photography (Dikpal) Assignment 3
Apr 23 Physical Simulation 2 Modal Analysis Paper PPT   PDF
Apr 25 Motion Capture PPT   PDF
Apr 30 Imaging and Computational Photography SIGGRAPH Courses PPT   PDF
May 2 Texture Synthesis Assn 4 (by May 13) PPT   PDF

Ravi Ramamoorthi