CS 6958 - Spring 2013
Special Topics in Physically Based Graphics

Instructor:Cem Yuksel (Office hours: by appointment, WEB 2686)
Time:Tuesday & Thursday @ 2:00pm - 3:20pm
Location:WEB 1460


In this course we will investigate advanced physically-based techniques in computer graphics. Students will gain hands-on experience with their individual projects and will also get to explore other topics through their classmates' presentations and classroom discussions, in addition to lectures.

This is a primarily project-based course in which each students chooses an individual project topic that is related to physically-based methods in computer graphics and works on that project till the end of the semester. The course begins with an introduction to numerical techniques and lectures on different physically-based simulation methods in computer graphics. Students will first implement a simple 2D fluid simulation, and then each student will choose an individual project topic and propose an implementation plan. Afterwards, each student will present a paper that is closely related to the chosen project topic followed by progress reports on their individual projects throughout the semester.

A significant portion of this course will run as a seminar. Therefore, all students will be expected to attend the class regularly, carefully read the assigned research papers, complete programming assignments, and actively participate in classroom discussions. Experienced students with a prior expertise in a particular area can choose a project topic in that area to further their knowledge and improve upon their previous projects, which will also benefit everyone in the class.

Course Objectives

This course is designed to equip students with a number of essential skills that they will need for a successful graduate study and a successfull career afterwards. At the conclusion of this course students will be able to:
  • Get familiar with various physically-based techniques in computer graphics,
  • Gain experience in implementing mainstream methods from research papers,
  • Obtain sufficient knowledge to pursue further research in their chosen topics, and
  • Improve their presentation skills, which are critical for a successful career in the academia or the industry.


1Jan 8Introduction
Jan 10Numerical Integration
2Jan 15Introduction to Fluid DynamicsReading: [Foster & Metaxas 96]
Jan 17Incompressible FluidsReading: [Stam 99]
3Jan 22Solving Sparse MatricesReading: [Shewchuk 94]
Jan 24Fluid Simulation TechniquesReading: [Press et al. 92]
4Jan 29Simulation Project Review
Jan 31Simulation Project ReviewSimulation Project Deadline
5Feb 5Simulation Project Presentations
Feb 7Project Proposal ReviewsProject Proposal Deadline
6Feb 12Paper PresentationsGroup A
Feb 14Paper PresentationsGroup B
7Feb 19Paper PresentationsGroup C
Feb 21Paper PresentationsGroup D
8Feb 26Progress Report 1Group B
Feb 28Progress Report 1Group A
9Mar 5Progress Report 1Group D
Mar 7Progress Report 1Group C
10Mar 12— Spring Break —
Mar 14— Spring Break —
11Mar 19Progress Report 2Group C
Mar 21Progress Report 2Group D
12Mar 26Progress Report 2Group A
Mar 28Progress Report 2Group B
13Apr 2Progress Report 3Group D
Apr 4Progress Report 3Group C
14Apr 9Progress Report 3Group B
Apr 11Progress Report 3Group A
15Apr 16Review ProjectsGroups C & D
Apr 18Review ProjectsGroups A & B
16Apr 23Final Project Submission
Apr 25— Reading Day —

Individual Projects

Each student will pick a project topic that is related to physically-based computer graphics and propose a project plan. The topics and plans will be adjusted and approved by the instructor. A typical project topic for this class is implementing a relatively recent graphics paper. As long as the chosen topic is related to physically-based techniques in graphics, students can choose their projects from a wide range of topics in graphics, starting from physically-based animation/simulation all the way to rendering. Interactive/real-time techniques are acceptable as well as slow/offline methods. The final project code can run on CPUs as well as GPUs or other devices, if desired.

Deadlines and Late Submissions: Projects and progress reports must be submitted before the deadline. A late penalty of 5% per day will be asserted for any late submission.

Collaboration between students is encouraged, but code sharing is not permitted. If any external libraries and source code are used, they must be clearly indicated in all project documentation and presentations. Students cannot claim credit for any code that they have not written personally.


Simulation Project20 points
Project Proposal10 points
Paper Presentation10 points
Progress Report 110 points
Progress Report 210 points
Progress Report 310 points
Final Presentation20 points
Participation 10 points
TOTAL100 points

University of Utah Disability Accommodation Policy

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you need accommodations in the class, reasonable prior notice should be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 801-581-5020 (V/TDD), http://disability.utah.edu/. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.


FOSTER N., and METAXAS D. 1996. Realistic Animation of Liquids. Graphical Models and Image Processing 58, 5, 471-483.

STAM J. 1999. Stable fluids. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH '99, 121-128

SHEWCHUK J. R. 1994. An Introduction to the Conjugate Gradient Method Without the Agonizing Pain. Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.

PRESS, W. H., TEUKOLSKY, S. A., VETTERLING, W. T., and FLANNERY, B. P. 1992. Numerical recipes in C (2nd ed.): the art of scientific computing. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY.