CS 4600 - Fall 2023
Introduction to Computer Graphics

Instructors:Yin Yang and Cem Yuksel
Time:Tuesday & Thursday @ 3:40pm - 5:00pm
Location:WEB L104
TAs: Ziheng Liu Office Hour: Monday 3 to 4pm @ MEB 3335
Haoyang Shi Office Hour: Wednesday 3 to 4pm @ MEB 3335
Zhou Zhang


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 22IntroductionChapter 1
Aug 24Math BackgroundChapter 2
2Aug 29Raster Images (Part 1)Chapter 3
Aug 31Raster Images (Part 2)Chapter 3
3Sep 52D TransformationsChapter 6Project 1 deadline - Compositing Images
Sep 73D TransformationsChapter 7
4Sep 12GPU PipelineChapter 17Project 2 deadline - Transformations
Sep 14WebGLChapter 17See square.html, an example WebGL application.
5Sep 19Curves (Part 1)Chapter 15
Sep 21Curves (Part 2)Chapter 15
6Sep 26SurfacesChapter 12Project 3 deadline - Curves
Sep 28Triangular MeshesChapter 12
7Oct 3Q&A
Oct 5Midterm ExamExam time: 3:40 - 5:00 pm (same as class time)
8Oct 10— Fall Break —
Oct 12— Fall Break —
9Oct 17TexturesChapter 11
Oct 19Textures on the GPUChapter 11
10Oct 24ShadingChapter 10Project 4 deadline - Triangular Meshes
Oct 26Shading TransformationsChapter 10
11Oct 31The Rendering EquationChapter 24
Nov 2Rendering AlgorithmsChapter 4
12Nov 7Ray TracingChapter 4Project 5 deadline - Shading
Nov 9Shadows and ReflectionsChapter 4
13Nov 14SamplingChapter 14
Nov 16Signal ProcessingChapter 9
14Nov 21Computer AnimationChapter 16Project 6 deadline - Ray Tracing
Nov 23— Thanksgiving Break —
15Nov 28Physics-Based AnimationChapter 16
Nov 30Simulation in GraphicsChapter 16
16Dec 5Q&AProject 7 deadline - Animation
Dec 7Final ExamExam time: 3:40 - 5:00 pm (same as 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 10 days after the project deadline.

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

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.