CS 450 / 550 -- Introduction to Computer Graphics

Fall Quarter 2018


Handouts Classes Projects Grades VHR Piazza

This page was last updated: Fenruary 19, 2019


What We Will Be Doing This Quarter

This course is designed to introduce you to the field of computer graphics in general. You will study 3D graphics basics, and will write programs using the industry-standard API called OpenGL.

The goals of this course are to leave you "career-ready" (i.e., both work-ready and research-ready) for graphics programming. This class will also set you up for taking our other computer graphics classes.

CS 450/550 topics include:

Top Hat Information

Starting in FQ 2019, we will be using the Top Hat classroom response system in class. You will be able to submit answers to in-class questions using Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, laptops, or through text message. Top Hat requires a paid subscription. Visit OSU's support page for information on how to register and more: https://learn.oregonstate.edu/classroom-response/student-tools

An invitation to join the Top Hat course will be emailed to you, but if don't receive this email you can register by simply visiting our Canvas course site and clicking the Top Hat menu link: Unique Course URL
Note: our Course Join Code is XXXXXX

If you need technical support for Top Hat, please contact their Support Team directly by email support@tophat.com , selecting the in-app support button, or by calling 1--888-663-5491.

Graphics Thinking Comes First

The goal of this class, at least the first part of it, is to develop your "graphics thinking", that is, how to go from an idea in your head to actually getting the pixels of your idea on the screen. To get you to that state the quickest, we will start by using a part of OpenGL that has been deprecated, but is easier to learn and understand. (In OpenGL, "deprecated" doesn't mean "gone away", it means "not recommended for efficiency reasons".) Later on, you will learn the recommended (i.e., efficient) ways of using OpenGL.


CS 261 -- Data Structures

Learning Objectives

On completion of the course, students will have demonstrated the ability to:

  1. Explain the different coordinate systems used in computer graphics
  2. Describe the names and functions of the elements of the graphics pipeline, as well as the input and output of each stage
  3. Create a dynamic 3D scene using OpenGL
  4. Dynamically alter the viewing of a 3D scene
  5. Explain the elements of a computer graphics framebuffer
  6. Use OpenGL functions to create and apply single and compound transformations
  7. Use OpenGL to perform light-source shading
  8. Use OpenGL to perform texture mapping
  9. Explain the ways Vertex Buffer Objects can improve your display performance
  10. Create and use an OpenGL vertex and fragment shader
  11. Use the GLM computer graphics math library to create and apply transformations

In addition, those taking this course as CS 550 will also have demonstrated the ability to:

12. Read a computer-graphics-related research paper and write a 5-page analysis paper of it.

(I will make some papers available for you, or you can propose your own. It has to be a real research paper, though, not a blog post or just a web site. And, I need to pre-approve it.)

Here are Some Background Resources for You

Over the last couple of years, various faculty have been putting together mini-tutorials on topics that we (apparently) expect you to magically know, without us ever actually showing you. Here they are. We hope they help.


The class is being taught by Professor Mike Bailey.

Office: Kelley 2117 (2nd floor, south side)
E-mail: mjb@cs.oregonstate.edu
Phone: 541-737-2542

Office Hours:

Mondays 10:15 - 12:30 Kelley 2117
Tuesdays 10:00 - 12:00 Kelley 2117
Wednesdays 10:15 - 12:30 Kelley 2117
Fridays 10:15 - 12:30 Kelley 2117
    or, anytime my office door is open
    or, by appointment -- send email


The TAs for the course are Braxton Cuneo, Wenbo Hou, and Jian Tang. We are fortunate to have gotten them -- all three have excellent computer graphics experience. They took this course a year ago and knocked it out of the park!

Combined Office Hours

Braxton Cuneo Wenbo Hou Jian Tang Prof. Bailey
cuneob@oregonstate.edu houw@oregonstate.edu tangjian@oregonstate.edu mjb@cs.oregonstate.edu
      Mondays 10:15 - 12:30
Tuesdays 2:00 - 5:00 Tuesdays 12:00 - 2:00 Tuesdays 10:00 - 12:00 ; 2:00 - 6:00 Tuesdays 10:00 - 12:00
Wednesdays 2:00 - 5:00 Wednesdays 9:00 - 11:00   Wednesdays 10:15 - 12:30
Thursdays 2:00 - 5:00 Thursdays 12:00 - 2:00 Thursdays 10:00 - 12:00 ; 2:00 - 6:00  
Fridays 2:00 - 5:00     Fridays 10:15 - 12:30
CGEL (Batcheller 244) CGEL (Batcheller 244) CGEL (Batcheller 244) Kelley 2117

The Virtual Hand Raise (VHR)

It sometimes takes courage to ask a question in class. But, the worst thing of all is to not ask! So, this class also has the Virtual Hand Raise. Click here to get into it. It will allow you to send me a question or comment, completely anonymously. I will answer questions submitted this way by email to the class or in class.


There is no purchased textbook for this course. Course material will consist of handouts, web pages, and notes taken in class.
Warning! Just because you are getting class notes doesn't mean you can skip class. There will be lots of project hints and clarifications in class. Also, there will be quiz questions and test questions that come from things we talked about in class, but were not in the notes. Every year, there are some people who lose a grade level because they missed those questions on the quizzes or tests.


A Brief History of Computer Graphics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
The Computer Graphics Process 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Getting Started with OpenGL Programming 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
GL Utility Toolkit (GLUT) 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Sample Program sample.cpp    
Display Lists 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Framebuffer 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Texture Mapping 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Lighting 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
A Brief Introduction to Casting Shadows with OpenGL 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Shaders 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Vertex Buffer Objects 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
GLM 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
OpenGL Transparency 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
WebGL 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Geometric Modeling 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Rendering 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Animation 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
3D Printing 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Stereographics 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
Vulkan 1pp 2pp 4pp 6pp
More Information PDF    

Other Notes You Might Enjoy!

University Classes
Computer Graphics Shaders
Scientific Visualization
Parallel Programming
CS Skills for Simulation and Game Programming

Grades 4-12 Outreach


If you need a place to do your programming assignments, you can get access to the Windows 10-based graphics systems in OSU's Computer Graphics Education Lab (CGEL) in Batcheller Hall 244.

Access to the CGEL is by your OSU ID card, which also acts as a card key. The first full week of classes, I will give the EECS Main Office a list of who is in this class, so that they can enable your cards for the CGEL.

Good References

Class Schedule

To see an Academic Year calendar, click here.

Class time is: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 1:00 - 1:50.
Unless otherwise specified, all classes will be in Withycombe 109.

Cancelled dates: Oct 24, Oct 26, Nov 12, Nov 21, Nov 23

Note: this schedule is my best guess of where we'll be when -- it is only approximate.
  Date Topics
1 Sept 21 General course information. Alias web form.
A very brief history of computer graphics.
2 Sept 24 The Graphics Process.
The Graphics Pipeline.
Coordinate systems: Model, World, Eye, NDC, Clip, Screen.
3D coordinate systems.
3 Sept 26 Geometry vs. topology. glBegin-glEnd.
Compound transformations.
Project #1.
4 Sept 28 Projections.
3D viewing.
Display lists.
sample program.
5 Oct 1 sample program.
Project #2.
The rasterizer.
6 Oct 3 Color: RGB, CMYK, HSV.
7 Oct 5 Framebuffer. Texture mapping.
8 Oct 8 Texture mapping. Project #3.
9 Oct 10 Lighting.
10 Oct 12 Lighting. Project #4.
11 Oct 15 Shaders
The EECS Networking Night is tomorrow tonight!
12 Oct 17 Shaders
The Career Fair is today!
13 Oct 19 Shaders
14 Oct 22 Test #1 review.
Project #5.
15 Oct 24 Prof. Bailey out of town -- no class today
16 Oct 26 Prof. Bailey out of town -- no class today
17 Oct 29 Test #1
18 Oct 31 Vertex Buffer Objects
19 Nov 2 Go over test answers
20 Nov 5 Geometric Modeling
21 Nov 7 Geometric Modeling
22 Nov 9 Realistic Rendering
23 Nov 12 OSU Veterans Day observance -- no class today
24 Nov 14 Realistic Rendering
25 Nov 16 Animation: physics, keyframing, functional
26 Nov 19 OSU Thanksgiving holiday -- no class today
27 Nov 21 OSU Thanksgiving holiday -- no class today
28 Nov 23 OSU Thanksgiving holiday -- no class today
29 Nov 26 3D Printing.
30 Nov 28 Stereographics.
31 Nov 30 Class Evaluations.
Test #2 review.
More Information.
T2 Dec 6 Test #2 Thursday, December 6, 12:00 - 1:30.
(You can confirm this for yourself by going here.)


Project # Points Title Due Date
1 50 Draw Something Cool in 3D! Oct 3
2 100 Animate a Helicopter Oct 10
3 100 Texture Mapping Oct 19
4 100 Lighting Nov 5
5 100 Shaders Nov 12
6 100 Geometric Modeling Nov 26
7 60 WebGL Nov 26
FP 100 Final Project Dec 6, 5:00 PM -- No Bonus Days
550-only paper 100 Paper analysis Dec 5, 23:59:59 -- No Bonus Days

Project Turn-In Procedures

Life Events

As {John Lennon? Allen Saunders?} has said: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". I care about you as a person. When life happens to you, send me an email and come see me. I might be able to help, I might not. But I surely can listen. You are not alone.

And, Speaking of Having Some Control Over Your Life Events: Bonus Days and Late Assignments

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make when they fly by."
-- Douglas Adams

Projects are due at 23:59:59 on the listed due date, with the following exception:

Each of you has been granted five Bonus Days, which are no-questions-asked one-day project extensions which may be applied to any project, subject to the following rules:

  1. No more than 2 Bonus Days may be applied to any one project
  2. Bonus Days cannot be applied to tests
  3. Bonus Days cannot be applied such that they extend a project due date past the start of Test #2.

Click here to get a copy of the Bonus Day Submission Form. Fill this out and turn it in the next class period after turning in your project.


Grades will be posted through this web page. To protect your privacy, they will be posted by your alias that you give me in the web form.

Click here to see the current grade posting.

CS 450/550 will be graded on a fill-the-bucket basis. There will be 8 projects, 10 quizzes (weeks 0-8, 10), and two tests. You get to keep all the points you earn.
The quizzes will be done via Canvas. They will open each Friday afternoon at 2:00 and close Sunday night at 23:59:00. Canvas is very unforgiving about due times -- don't push it.

... with the exception of Weeks #0 and #9:

Quiz #0 is due to me by 4:00 PM on Friday, September 28. Fortunately, it is not too hard:

  1. Get a 3"x5" index card (I'll give you one the first day of class).
  2. Print your name neatly at the top (holding the card horizontally).
  3. Print the course number you are taking this under (CS 450 or CS 550) neatly next to your name.
  4. Also, printing neatly, tell me why you are taking this class. What do you hope to get out of being here?
  5. Be honest -- no sucking up!
  6. Bring the card to my office (Kelley 2117: second floor, south side) sometime when I am there. (Don't throw it under the door.)

If you are taking both of my classes this quarter, please fill out an index card for each.

There is no quiz for Week #9 (the week of Thanksgiving).

Those taking the class as CS 550 will also do an essay summarizing a research paper. (Those taking the class as CS 450 will get a free 100 points for this assignment.)

Your final grade will be based on your overall class point total. Based on an available point total of 1110, grade cutoffs will be no higher than:

Points Grade
1040 B+
980 C+
930 D+

Downloadable Files

Windows Visual Studio 2013 Sample2013.zip Un-zip and double-click on the .sln file
Windows Visual Studio 2015 Sample2015.zip Un-zip and double-click on the .sln file
Linux SampleLinux.tar Un-tar and type "make sample"

Class Rules

Students With Disabilities

Accommodations for students with disabilities are determined and approved by Disability Access Services (DAS). If you, as a student, be lieve you are eligible for accommodations but have not obtained approval please contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098 or at http://ds.oregonstate.edu. DAS notifies students and faculty members of approved academic accommodations and coordinates implementation of those accommodations. While not required, students and faculty members are encouraged to discuss details of the implementation of individual accommodations.

Religious Holidays

Oregon State University strives to respect all religious practices. If you have religious holidays that are in conflict with any of the requirements of this class, please see me immediately so that we can make alternative arrangements.

Other Useful Online Graphics Information