CS 4600 - Fall 2021
Introduction to Computer Graphics

Instructor:Cem Yuksel
Time:Tuesday & Thursday @ 3:40pm - 5:00pm
Location:WEB L104
TAs: Jerry Hsu
Yura Hwang
Pupul Pradhan
Mary Evans


This course teaches the fundamental computational techniques in computer graphics. It is a project-based course in which students learn about and implement various methods in modeling, animation, and rendering techniques. The course covers a range of topics in computer graphics, instead of providing a deep and highly detailed analysis of a particular topic. For a more comprehensive overview of individual topics, please refer to the Other computer graphics courses at the University of Utah.

The canvas page for the course will be primarily used for quizzes, project submissions, announcements, and online discussions (piazza).

Course Objectives

The main objective of this course is to introduce students the fundamental concepts in computer graphics via hands-on coding experience, including a range of computer graphics techniques and algorithms covering 2D graphics, 3D graphics, and computer animation. This course focuses on key algorithmic techniques and mathematical foundations, not on specific tools. More specifically, the course covers the necessary math background, raster image formats, affine transformations, rendering algorithms, data structures for 2D and 3D curves, surfaces, and volumes, textures and texture mapping, shading and reflection models, animation and physics-based simulation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with the fundamental algorithms and data structures used in computer graphics. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:


Steve Marschner & Peter Shirley, Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, 4th edition.

This textbook is not required, but strongly recommended, as it will serve as the main source of information for most topics covered in this course. The lectures will follow the book, but will not present all information in the book. The students are expected to read the related chapters of the book after each lecture.


This course will use the flipped classroom model. All lectures of this course will be presented as pre-recorded online videos. The classroom meetings will be reserved for discussions on the topics presented in the related lecture videos. Students are expected to watch the related lecture video before class time. See the following schedule for details.

Schedule (subject to change)

1Aug 24IntroductionChapter 1
Aug 26Math BackgroundChapter 2
2Aug 31Raster Images (Part 1)Chapter 3
Sep 2Raster Images (Part 2)Chapter 3
3Sep 72D TransformationsChapter 6Project 1 deadline - Compositing Images
Sep 93D TransformationsChapter 7
4Sep 14GPU PipelineChapter 17Project 2 deadline - Transformations
Sep 16WebGLChapter 17See square.html, an example WebGL application.
5Sep 21Curves (Part 1)Chapter 15
Sep 23Curves (Part 2)Chapter 15
6Sep 28SurfacesChapter 12Project 3 deadline - Curves
Sep 30Triangular MeshesChapter 12
7Oct 5Q&A
Oct 7Midterm ExamExam time: 3:40 – 5:00 pm (same as class time)
8Oct 12— Fall Break —
Oct 14— Fall Break —
9Oct 19TexturesChapter 11
Oct 21Textures on the GPUChapter 11
10Oct 26ShadingChapter 10Project 4 deadline - Triangular Meshes
Oct 28Shading TransformationsChapter 10
11Nov 2The Rendering EquationChapter 24
Nov 4Rendering AlgorithmsChapter 4
12Nov 9Ray TracingChapter 4Project 5 deadline - Shading
Nov 11Shadows and ReflectionsChapter 4
13Nov 16SamplingChapter 14
Nov 18Signal ProcessingChapter 9
14Nov 23Computer AnimationChapter 16Project 6 deadline - Ray Tracing
Nov 25— Thanksgiving Break —
15Nov 30Physics-Based AnimationChapter 16
Dec 2Simulation in GraphicsChapter 16
16Dec 7Q&AProject 7 deadline - Animation
Dec 9— No Class —
Dec 16Final ExamExam time: 3:30 – 5:30 pm (different than class time)


We will use JavaScript and WebGL for implementing the projects.

All projects are individual projects. Group projects are not permitted. Therefore, each student must write their own code. Collaboration between students is encouraged, but code sharing is not permitted. External libraries and source code can be used only for additional functionalities that are not core parts of the projects, and they should be clearly indicated in comments within the source code.

Failure to follow these rules may lead to a failing grade. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated. See the Academic Misconduct Policy of the School of Computing for details.

Deadlines and Late Submissions: The deadline for each project is at noon (12:01 PM) on the date indicated on the schedule (see above). Late submissions suffer a 5% penalty and an additional 5% penalty is applied every day at noon (12:01 PM). To accommodate for special circumstances, the first 10 late penalties of each student will be omitted.

Resubmissions: Students can submit the same project multiple times (i.e. resubmissions). The first submission must be before the project deadline and must present a clear attempt to complete the project; otherwise, late penalties apply (please see above). Subsequent resubmissions can be used for fixing bugs or incorrectly implemented parts of the projects. No late penalty is applied to resubmissions. Only the first submission date/time is used for evaluating late penalties, provided that it shows a clear attempt. Project submissions (and resubmissions) close 20 days after the project deadline, except for the final project (Project 7 - Animation). Final project submissions (and resubmissions) close on the day of the final exam at noon.

Project submissions are handled through canvas.

Quizzes and Exams

Online quizzes will be administered on canvas. Each quiz will be about the topic covered in the corresponding lecture or lectures. Top 20 quiz scores of each student will be used for grading.

There will be a midterm exam and a final exam. See the schedule above for the dates and times. Depending on public health related concerns, the midterm exam and/or the final exam might be canceled. If an exam is canceled, the grading scheme (see below) will be adjusted accordingly by increasing the percentages of the other components.

Students who cannot attend an exam due to health issues or similar emergencies must contact the instructor prior to the exam. In cases approved by the instructor, a make-up exam can be administered or the missed exam score can be assigned using the exam score of the other exam or the total project scores. This decision will be made by the instructor on a case-by-case basis.


Projects 1-2 5 points
Projects 3-7 10 points
Quizzes 10 points
Midterm Exam 10 points
Final Exam 20 points
TOTAL100 points

University Policies

1. The Americans with Disabilities Act. The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, (801) 581-5020. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All written information in this course can be made available in an alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services.

2. University Safety Statement. The University of Utah values the safety of all campus community members. To report suspicious activity or to request a courtesy escort, call campus police at 801-585-COPS (801-585-2677). You will receive important emergency alerts and safety messages regarding campus safety via text message. For more information regarding safety and to view available training resources, including helpful videos, visit safeu.utah.edu.

3. Addressing Sexual Misconduct. Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender (which Includes sexual orientation and gender identity/expression) is a civil rights offense subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, color, religion, age, status as a person with a disability, veteran’s status or genetic information. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you are encouraged to report it to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, 135 Park Building, 801-581-8365, or the Office of the Dean of Students, 270 Union Building, 801-581-7066. For support and confidential consultation, contact the Center for Student Wellness, 426 SSB, 801-581-7776. To report to the police, contact the Department of Public Safety, 801-585-2677(COPS).

4. COVID-19 Fall 2021 Statement University leadership has urged all faculty, students, and staff to model the vaccination, testing, and masking behaviors we want to see in our campus community.

These include: Vaccination Masking Testing

Safe Classroom Environment

In this class, derogatory comments based on race, ethnicity, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, (dis)ability status, age, citizenship, or nationality will not be tolerated, nor is it permissible to state one's opinion in a manner that silences the voices of others. Further, egregious disrespect, including, but not limited to, racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, etc. will not be tolerated.