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 accurate 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, rigid and flexible body simulation, cloth simulation, acoustics for graphics, haptics, multiview geometry, computational photography, human visual perception, and appearance capture. Our research addresses applications ranging from film effects, animation, and games to architecture, surgery simulation, cosmetics, and photo browsing.


Kavita Bala works on computer graphics algorithms for rendering and modeling complex virtual worlds. A fundamental challenge is efficiently capturing, representing, and simulating the visual complexity and richness of real scenes. By understanding and exploiting the limits of the human visual system, new simulation, rendering and modeling algorithms become possible that scale to real-world complexity. Bala's research interests include scalable rendering; perceptually-based graphics; image-based modeling and texturing; material representations; and feature-based rendering and texturing. Applications include virtual prototyping, cultural heritage and preservation, engineering design, games and movies, 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.

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.