CSCI 4239/5239 Advanced Computer Graphics, Spring 2015

Instructor: Willem A. (Vlakkies) Schreüder


Course Objectives

The course is designed as a follow-on to CSCI 4229/5229 Computer Graphics. The course basically starts where CSCI 4229/5229 left off and the material from CSCI 4229/5229 is assumed. The course is targeted at students that would like to continue on to more advanced topics in computer graphics.

The course explores four general areas:

The course stresses portable programming. The material is illustrated using the operating system neutral OpenGL and Shader Language.

The class is in a seminar format. Each class period is divided into roughly two halves. The second half is a lecture format that introduces the topic for the following week. The first half is devoted to presentations by students on the topic introduced the pervious week.

Weekly assignments comprise a sequence of programming assignments that seeks to build practical experience using OpenGL. The final assignment is a course project which a graphics emphasis of the students choosing.

Each student will be expected to make two short presentations: One is the final project presentation, the other is some topic earlier in the semester.


There is no midterm or final examination. The grade is entirely based on weekly assignments, class presentations and the course project.

The assignments for the graduate and undergraduate students are the same, but more is expected from graduate students, especially for the class project.


Students should be familiar with OpenGL. The material from CSCI 4229/5229 is assumed and therefore CSCI 4229/5229 or an equivalent course is required. It is assumed that that students have read fluency in the C and C++ programming languages since most example programs will be in C, with a few in C++. Students should be comfortable programming in a high level language such as C or C++ for which OpenGL bindings are available.


There is one assignment per week for the first eight weeks. Assignments generally become more complex, and code reuse from previous assignments will simplify successive assignments.

Each week the first half of the class consists of a few volunteers demostrating their assignments. If there are insufficient volunteers a randomly generated list will be used to ensure that all students get at least one opportunity to present their assignments.

Assignments may be completed using a computer language and platform of the student's choice, although C or C++ on a Windows, OS/X or *NIX environment is preferred. CSEL is available to complete the assignments and for testing. Writing portable code that will run on any operating system is stressed.

Assignments will be graded on a GNU/Linux system. Programs should contain #ifdef statements to facilitate compilation on this system. Students using exotic programming languages will be expected to aid the instructor in setting up a suitable environment for grading the assignments.

Assignments must be submitted via moodle. Assignments are due by the beginning of class. Late assignments will not be accepted unless previously arranged.

CAETE students are encouraged to submit assignments on the same schedule as on campus students, but special accomodations will be made on an individual basis.

Course Project

The course project involves writing a significant graphics program. It is intended to be approximately one third of the overall course load and is due by the last day of class.

Any project that is related to the course material would be acceptable. Students are encouraged to develop an application that is useful in some other aspect of their studies or work. To accommodate this students are given wide latitude in terms of platform and language of implementation. However, in order to facilitate grading, this should be done in coordination with the instructor.

A formal proposal is used to ensure that the project is appropriate in terms of scope and degree of difficulty.

Students are required to do an oral presentation of their project during class at the end of the semester.


All assignments including the course project are to be completed individually. Exceptions to this rule may be made by prior arrangement if the scope of the project is particularly ambitious.

Each assignment should reflect each student's individual work. However, code reuse is permitted, including example code from the class as well as code from resources on the web. A "safe harbor" in this regard is simply a comment indicating where code from another source is reused. Passing off copied code as your own is a violation of the CU Honor Code.

Where code is reused, it is expected that students should make the code their own, and improve and expand on what is provided.

Tentative Course Outline

Procedural Textures
Lighting and Textures
Image Processing
Advanced Texture Use
Particle Systems
Advanced Shaders
OpenGL Environments
Embedded Systems (OpenGL ES)
GPU Programming
Ray Tracing
Complex Objects
Project Presentations


OpenGL Programming Guide (Red Book) 8E
Dave Shreiner, Graham Sellers, John Kessenich, and Bill Licea-Kan
Class text (optional but highly recommended)
Don't get an older edition
Advanced Graphics Programming Using OpenGL
Tom McReynolds and David Bluthe
A survey of advanced topics in Computer Graphics.
Programming Massively Parallel Processors: A Hands-on Approach
David Kirk and Wen-mei Hwu
Programming CUDA and OpenCL
CUDA by Example: An Introduction to General Purpose GPU Programming
Jason Sanders and Edward Kandrot
Practical examples of CUDA programming
OpenGL ES 3.0 Programming Guide
Dan Ginsburg and Budirijanto Purnomo
Programming OpenGL ES 3.0 for the iPhone and Android
iPhone 3D Programming
Philip Rideout
Developing Graphical Applications with OpenGL ES
WebGL Programming Guide
Kouichi Matsuda and Rodger Lea
Running OpenGL in your browser
Ray Tracing from the Ground Up
Kevin Suffern
A complete survey of Ray Tracing
OpenGL Super Bible 6E
Graham Sellers, Richard S. Wright, Nicholas Haemel
A comprehensive tutorial and reference. Very complete including advanced topics.
OpenGL documentation, code and links.
Some books are also availble electronically through the library using Safari.