Cornell is a leader in computer graphics, an interdisciplinary area that draws on many specialties including algorithms, physics, computation, psychology, computer vision, and architecture. The Cornell graphics tradition has roots going back to the earliest days of the field, when the Program of Computer Graphics (PCG) was established in 1974 and went on to make breakthrough contributions in areas including light reflection models, physics-based rendering, and visual perception for graphics. Today graphics research at Cornell flows across boundaries to cover a broad area of graphics and related topics, with research in graphics and vision in the Computer Science department, research in rendering and architecture in PCG, and research in human-computer interfaces in the Information Science program, all densely interconnected.

Current research in graphics covers a broad range of topics across the field. Examples include global illumination, scattering models, volume scattering, interactive rendering, cloth simulation, acoustics for graphics, content creation, multiview geometry, computational photography and videography, human visual perception, and appearance capture. Our research addresses applications ranging from visual effects, animation, and games to architecture, surgery simulation, advertising, photography, and photo browsing.


Kavita Bala specializes in computer graphics and computer vision, leading research in visual recognition, search, and discovery; material modeling and acquisition, physically-based rendering; and material perception. In her computer graphics research she uses knowledge of human perception to develop new rendering algorithms for large-scale models for architectural visualization, and new algorithms for material acquisition and representation of complex materials like cloth. In her computer vision research, she develops algorithms for material recognition, fine-grained visual search for products in ecommerce, and large-scale visual discovery for planet-wide events, from global fashion discovery to event detection of forest fires in satellite imagery. Applications of her work include virtual prototyping, sustainability, virtual-reality training, architectural planning, and e-commerce.

Donald Greenberg, the founder of the Program of Computer Graphics, has been researching and teaching in the field of computer graphics from 1966. During the last 15 years, he has been primarily concerned with research advancing the state-of-the-art in computer graphics and with utilizing these techniques as they may be applied to a variety of disciplines. His specialities include hidden surface algorithms, geometric modeling, color science, and realistic image generation. Donald Greenberg is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Computer Graphics and the Director of the Program of Computer Graphics.

Abe Davis works on a range of topics in graphics, vision, and HCI, with a focus on how to apply work in these fields to new problems and application spaces.  His work ranges across video and image analysis, photography, video editing, augmented reality, and computational fabrication, with applications from civil engineering to video editing and scene modeling to quilting.

Steve Marschner works on modeling materials for graphics, ranging from their optics to thier mechanics, often using techniques that draw from computer vision. For rendering, material modeling is the fundamental problem of understanding and simulating the interaction of light with materials. Recent work has focused on models for the materials that are important for realistic virtual characters—skin, cloth, hair—as well as other materials with complex three-dimensional structure. These materials can often be rendered as volumes of structured, translucent material. Optics works together with shape and motion to define the appearance of a material, so another focus is on realistic models for the mechanics of materials, particularly cloth.

Noah Snavely is primarily interested in analyzing large image collections to automatically recover the geometry and appearance of real-world scenes, and in using this derived structure to create better visualizations of photo collections and 3D scenes. Noah is particularly interested in leveraging the vast, rich collections of imagery available on the Internet to recreate the world in 3D. This research encompasses problems in both computer vision and computer graphics, including structure from motion, multi-view stereo, graph algorithms for analyzing large image collections, image-based rendering, and 3D navigation interfaces. Noah is also interested in creating systems and techniques that make it simple to create 3D models using a hand-held camera.