[UC San DiegoX CSE167x] Computer Graphics Lecture 1 Notes

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UC San DiegoX CSE167x

This is a Computer Graphics course I found on edX. I was looking at multiple free online lectures about Computer Graphics, but I wasn’t able to find a good one. This course seems to be fairly good to start with.

My notes


Process of creating realistic images

Two main goals of the course

  1. Systems: write complex 3D graphics programs (real-time scene viewer in OpenGL, offline raytracer)
    • OpenGL: Graphics API
    • Offline ray tracing: enables you to create realistic images of 3D scenes by tracing rays that arise from the camera and go through each pixel in the image
  2. Theory: mathematical aspects and algorithms underlying modern 3D graphics systems
  • This course is not about the specifics of 3D graphics programs like Maya, Alias, DirectX but about the concepts underlying them. You will write programs in OpenGL/GLSL

Why study Computer Graphics?

  • Applications
    • Movies
      • Toy Story (1995) by Pixar: the first completely Computer Graphics movie
    • Games
    • Computer Aided Design (CAD)
    • Lighting Simulation (Interiors, Automobiles, …)
    • Visualization (Scientific, Medical)
    • Virtual Reality
  • Fundamental intellectual challenges
    • Create and interact with realistic virtual world
    • Requires understanding of all aspects of physical world
    • New computing methods, displays, technologies
  • Technical challenges
    • Math of (perspective) projections, curves, surfaces
    • Physics of lighting and shading
    • 3D graphics software programming, hardware

Digital visual media

  • From text to images to video (to 3D?)
  • Image and video processing and photography
  • Flickr, YouTube, WebGL
  • Real, Virtual Worlds (Google Earch, Second Life)
  • Electronic publishing
  • Online gaming
  • 3D printers and fabrication

3D Graphics pipeline

  • Modeling: process of creating geometric models of objects we’re interested in
  • Animation
  • Rendering
    • Simulate the way the light propagates in the scene to create effects like realistic and intricate shadow details
  • Rasterization & raytracing: two different ways in which you can create images
    • Rasterization: goes through all the geometric primitives and determines where in the screen they should go
    • Raytracing: the opposite thing which goes to each point or pixel in the screen and determines which geometric primitive that corresponds to
      • Can produce higher quality images but has historically been slower
  • GPU (Graphics Programming Unit)

  • Computer Graphics: term coined by William Fetter of Boeing in in 1960
    • The first graphics systems were developed in the mid-1950s, the US Air Force SAGE radar systems
  1. Text: major development in CG
  2. From text to GUIs (Graphical User Interface)
  3. Paint systems
  4. Image processing
  5. Modeling

    • Geometric modeling: process of creating 3D geometry, which can then be used in a CG system
      • One of major developments: creation of spline curves and surfaces
  6. Rendering: 1960s (Visibility)

    • Fundamental challenge of visibility: which object is before which object
  7. Rendering: 1970s (Lighting)

    • Gouraud shading
  8. Rendering (1980s, 90s: Global illumination)

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