Advanced Computer Graphics - SS 2019

This course will introduce students to advanced and more complex methods and techniques of computer graphics. Some of the topics that were touched upon in the Bachelor course "Computer Graphics" will be covered in more depth. In addition, more and other topics will be covered that were not taught in the Bachelor's course. This approach will both broaden and deepen students' knowledge about the field of computer graphics.

This course is for you, if you want to acquire ...

There are no formal prerequisites, but some degree of the following skills are desirable:

  1. A little bit of experience with C/C++ ; note that you will need just "C with classes" during this course.
  2. Knowledge of the material of the Bachelor course "Computer Graphics" (if you didn't manage to attend that course, you can easily recap that material for yourself).
  3. Algorithmic thinking (and, hopefully, some pleasure when thinking about algorithms)

Some of the envisioned topics (these can change during the semester):

  1. Data structures and the theory of boundary representations (meshes);
  2. Advanced texturing methods;
  3. Generalized barycentric coordinates and parameterization of meshes;
  4. Advanced shader programming (special effects);
  5. Culling techniques (real-time rendering);
  6. Ray-tracing (photo-realistic images);
  7. Alternative object representations (modeling);
  8. Mesh processing


Starting date: 4. April


The following table contains the topics and the accompanying slides (it will be filled step-by-step).

Week Topics Slides Assignments Frameworks
1. Organization;
Ray-tracing 1: principle, the rendering equation, Whitted-style ray-tracing
2. Ray-tracing 2: camera models, lighting model, reflected rays, refraction, Fresnel terms, attenuation, scattering, dispersion, intersection ray-polygon, intersection ray-triangle, ray-sphere intersection, numerical robustness, limitations of Whitted-style ray-tracing, distribution ray-tracing, distribution raytracing: anti-aliasing, soft shadows, glossy-matte reflection, depth-of-field, motion blur. PDF
3. Easter week (no lectures)
4. Lab/assignments class Qt-Install PDF Scattering Framework
5. Object representations 1: quadrics and superquadrics, implicit surfaces, sure-fire root finding methods (regula falsi, Illinois), metaballs, generalizations, polygonization of implicit surfaces using marching cubes, instancing, constructive solid geometry (definition, ray-tracing, polygonization) PDF
6. Acceleration data structures 1: taxonomy, light buffer, beam and cone tracing, bounding volumes, 3D grids, mailbox technique, traversal and storage, optimal grid resolution, recursive grid, proximity clouds (sphere tracing), octree, kd-trees, kd-tree traversal, kd-tree construction, surface area heuristic (SAH), efficient storage of kd-trees;
Bounding volume hierarchies (BVHs), BVH traversal using p-queue, principle of construction of BVHs, median cut heuristic, plane sweep along principal axis with SAH. irregular grids (construction and ray traversal)
PDF PDF ADS Framework
7. Collision Detection: requirements, pipeline, collision matrix, broad phase, narrow phase, 3D grid, sweep and prune, temporal coherence, separating planes, hierarchical collision detection, bounding volume, BV hierarchies, k-DOPs, inner sphere trees, penetration measures, force feedback PDF PDF Collision Detection Framework
8. Culling: bottlenecks in the rendering pipeline, types of culling, backface culling, normal masks, clustered backface culling,
Lab meeting
9. Culling and visibility: hierarchical clustered backface culling, view frustum culling, hierarchical view frustum culling, occlusion culling, batched queries, naive wait-and-draw algorithm, portal culling, detail culling.
10. Tone mapping: HDR imaging, image histograms, histogram stretching, histogram equalization, tone reproduction using CLAHE, the Weber-Fechner law, Steven's power law, perceptually-based tone mapping, generating histograms on the GPU. PDF PDF View Frustum Culling Framework
11. Pfingstmontag
Advanced shader techniques: recap of programmable pipeline and GLSL, procedural textures in the shader, Advanced shader techniques 2: value noise, gradient noise, example: procedural textures with noise,
12. Advanced shader techniques 2: ambient occlusion, refractive objects, the geometry shader, simple examples, rendering furry objects with shells and fins, rendering silhouettes.
Assignment meeting
13. Advanced texturing methods: seams, texture atlas, cube maps, polycube maps, concept of environment mapping, spherical environment mapping, cube environment mapping, dynamic environment mapping, parallax mapping, view-dependent displacement mapping (VDM), VDM with self-shadowing.
Mesh Processing: calculating good vertex normals, Laplacian smoothing, extension to prevent shrinking, global Laplacian smoothing, subdivison surfaces (Catmull-Clark).
PDF PDF PDF Tonemapping Framework
14. Boundary Representations 1: definitions, orientability, 2-manifold, homeomorphism, OBJ file format, indexed face set, doubly-connected edge list (half-edge data structure), mesh traversals using a a DCEL, limitations of DCEL, mesh matrices and example applications, PDF
15. Boundary Representations 2: Euler equation, complexity of polyhedra, Platonic solids, Euler characteristic. PDF

You can download some of the shaders that were discussed in class, plus some some very simple ones (discussed in the Bachelor course).


The following textbooks can help review the material covered in class:

Please note that the course is not based on one single textbook! Some topics might even not be covered in any current textbook! So, I'd suggest you first look at the books in the library before purchasing a copy.

If you plan on buying one of these books, you might want to consider buying a used copy -- they can often be purchased for a fraction of the price of a new one. Two good internet used book shops are Abebooks and BookButler.

Additional Literature and Demos for Deeper Insights

Other Interesting Bits and Pieces

Gabriel Zachmann
Last modified: Mon Jul 08 19:46:20 CEST 2019