CS465: Computer Graphics I—Fall 2006


8 December: A treasury of vintage exams is now available for your perusal as you study for the final. The final is scheduled on Monday (11 December) at 2:00 pm in Hollister 110 and runs for 2.5 hours.

25 November: There is a small change to the file format spec for antialiasing. See the ray2 assignment page.

20 November: John K.'s office hours that were scheduled for Tuesday 21 Nov will be replaced by an extra office hour the following week, on Wednesday 29 Nov, from 3:30 to 4:30.

20 November: The Ray II help session will be tonight at 6pm in Rhodes 455.

1 November: Greg's office hours that were scheduled for Thursday 2 Nov will be held on Friday 3 Nov, from 12:30 to 1:30.

31 October: The pipeline help session scheduled for tomorrow night will take place on Thursday 2 Nov instead. Also, Michael will not hold his office hours tomorrow, 1 Nov.

11 October: The model help session originally planned for tonight will be held next week at the same time, instead.

25 September: The schedule is slightly rearranged. The first midterm will be on Wednesday, October 4, and one homework has been removed to prevent deadlines piling up too close together.

16 September: There is a small revision to hw4.

6 September: There is a fix to the ray1 framework; see the ray1 assignment page.

5 September: There are new test scenes posted on the ray1 assignment page.

4 September: There are updates to the hw1 FAQ, and the ray1 assignment page has some information on IDE setup.

1 September: Due to slowness in setting up TA support, we are accepting hw1 on the due date for hw2, though we urge you to turn it in if you are done with it, so that you can get on with hw2.

25 August: Welcome to CS465! Be sure to check this space regularly, because we'll use it for announcements you won't want to miss.

About CS465

Steve Marschner, srm at cs.cornell.edu
    Office hours: M 3:30–4:30, W 11:00–12:00, 5159 Upson

Staff List, cs465-staff-l at lists.cs.cornell.edu
In charge of programs:
    Michael Friedman, mwf23 at cornell.edu
        Office hours: T 11:45–12:45 and W 1:15–2:15, 455 Rhodes
    Greg Wojtaszczyk, grw24 at cornell.edu
        Office hours: M 12:30–1:30 and Th 10:30–11:30, 455 Rhodes
In charge of homework:
    Piti Irawan, irawan at cs.cornell.edu
        Office hours: T 4:00–5:00 and Th 10:30–11:30, 551 Rhodes
    Jon Moon, jmoon at cs.cornell.edu
    Jon Kaldor, jmk224 at cs.cornell.edu

Time and place:
MWF 2:30–3:20, 165 Olin Hall

Help Sessions:
W 6:00 in Rhodes 455 (one per programming assignment)
A help session will be held at 6:00 on the Wednesday of the week before each Programming Assignment is handed due (see the schedule). These sessions are designed to provide a forum for smaller group discussions in a less formal setting than class would allow. They will cover some of the basic lab tools, current programming assignments, and questions pertaining to any of the lecture material relevant to the assignment. Attendance to these sessions is not required. The scheduling of the help sessions is subject to change depending on attendance.

Shirley, Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, second edition (required)
Foley et al., Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice (supplementary)



There will be (usually) weekly homeworks, due in class on Fridays, consisting of one or two problems. See the schedule for the exact due dates. They will involve things like working out numerical or other short answers (which should always be backed up by some brief reasoning), answering "why" questions, and drawing graphs or other pictures.

The homweworks may be handwritten or printed and are to be turned in at the beginning of class. After they are graded (normally by the Monday following the due date) the grades are posted on CMS, and the papers can be picked up in 360 Upson between 10am and noon or between 2pm and 4pm.

Programming assignments

There will be five programming assignments:

  1. Ray I: A very simple ray tracing renderer that renders spheres and triangles using a perspective camera, point light sources with shadows, and basic surface materials.
  2. Resample: A program that dynamically scales an image to fit in a resizable window, exploring the speed/quality tradeoff using several different filtering techniques.
  3. Model: A simple modeling application that allows the user to create and transform simple objects and spline surfaces.
  4. Pipeline: A software model of a modern programmable graphics processor, using vertex and fragment processing to achieve a variety of rendering effects.
  5. Ray II: A more full-featured ray tracer than the first assignment that can handle larger models and do more advanced shading, including texture mapping and reflections in shiny surfaces.

These programs are to be done in teams of two. If you really want to work by yourself, that is OK but you will still have to do all the work. If you want to work with a partner but can't find one, please contact the course staff and we will help.

The programs must be written in Java using the framework code we'll provide. The CSUGLab in Rhodes 455 is set up to support this course. You are free to work on whatever computer you like, using any programming environment, but your code must compile and work using the basic command-line tools on the machines in our lab. You will hand in your source code using CMS.


There will be two in-class midterms and a final exam:

Together the two midterms cover the first 2/3 of the course. The final is comprehensive, so it covers all material from the whole course.

All three exams are closed book, but you're allowed to bring one letter-sized piece of paper with writing on both sides, to avoid the need to memorize things.

After the fact, you can find the exams and solutions on the exams page.


Grading and late assignments

Your final grade will be computed from the grades on the assignments and exams. The homeworks will account for 30% of the grade, the programs will account for 40%, and the three exams will account for 30% (with each midterm weighted half as much as the final).

Homework assignments are due at the start of class on the due date (normally Friday), and are not accepted late. The lowest homework grade will be dropped in computing your final score.

Programming assignments are due at 11:59 pm on the due date (normally Tuesday) and are accepted with a late penalty until 11:59 pm two days after the due date (normally Thursday). Programs are accepted late as follows:

  1. Hand in by late deadline: 10% off score (about 1 letter grade)
  2. Hand in within 1 week of due date: graded pass/fail; pass receives 50/100
  3. More than 1 week late: no credit

Assignments that are handed in under option 2 will not be graded carefully and may be returned very late. That option is just intended to give you a chance to reduce the effect of zeros averaged into your grade.

Extra credit

For the programming exercises you are welcome to implement extra features for extra credit. Don't expect large numbers of points—the idea is just to encourage you to have fun exploring the material in more depth.

Some ground rules:


The principle is that an assignment is an academic document, like a journal article. When you turn it in, you are implying that everything in it is your original idea (or is original to you and your partner, if you're handing in as a pair) unless you cite a source for it.

You are welcome (encouraged, even) to discuss the material of this class among yourselves in general terms. But when it comes to the details of the assignments, you need to be working alone. In particular, it's never OK for you to see another student's homework writeup or another team's program code, nor to discuss the solutions to the specific problems in the homeworks.

You're also welcome to read any published sources—books, articles, public web sites—that help you learn. If you find an idea in one of these sources that becomes part of your homework solution, that's fine, but it's imperative that you credit that fact on your homework or in a comment in your code. Otherwise you would be falsely claiming to have invented the idea yourself.

Academic Integrity

In this course we expect complete integrity from everyone. School can be stressful, and your coursework and other factors can put you under a lot of pressure, but that is never a reason for dishonesty. If you feel you can't complete the work on your own, come talk to the professor or the TAs, or your advisor, and we can help you figure out what to do. Think before you hand in!

Clear-cut cases of dishonesty will result in failing the course.

For more information see Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity.