CIS 660: Advanced Topics in

Computer Graphics and Animation


Dr. Stephen H. Lane



Office Hours

MW 12:00-1:00PM, Levine 154



CIS560: Computer Graphics and CIS562: Computer Animation are required.  Exceptions will only be granted if the student has previously taken substantially similar coursework.


Course Description

The goal of the course is to review state-of-the art research in the fields of computer graphics and animation as well as provide students with working knowledge of how to convert theory to practice by developing an associated graphics/animation authoring tool. Working in teams of two, students will design and develop an authoring tool that that facilitates the creation of a new type of user interaction, animation/simulation capability or 3D graphics special effect.   Research papers published in the SigGraph Conference proceedings over the period 2005-2010 will provide the basis for the features/functionality/special effects that can be selected for implementation in the authoring tool. Each group will analyze the need and user requirements for the tool they plan to develop, prepare a formal software design document, construct a project work plan, develop the authoring tool functionality and user interface, test the design and demonstrate the authoring of associated content.  A plug-in to standard authoring tools such as Maya or 3DSMax must also be developed to enable importing of appropriate assets and/or exporting of results.


Course Format and Requirements

The course will be comprised of primers, lectures, student presentations and the authoring tool group project. Each student will be responsible for presenting one or more primers and at least two SIGGRAPH papers to the class.  At least one paper is to be selected from the current SIGGRAPH Conference proceedings (2010).  See CIS 660: Guide to Presentations for more detail on the presentation requirements.  Lecture topics to be covered include: product design, human/computer interfaces, software design and development methodologies and a review of authoring tool APIs. Student group presentations include bi-weekly design reviews and project milestone demonstrations.  Grading will be based as follows: approximately 10% on a Maya Plugin programming assignment, 40% on student presentations, 10% on the quality of the authoring tool design document and 40% on the features and functionality implemented in the authoring tool.  Correspondence between the target feature set of the design document and that of the final implementation, as well as achievement of milestones when planned also will be taken into account in the final grading.


CIS 660: Advanced Topics in

Computer Graphics and Animation


Primer Topics (Spring 2011)

The following seminar primer topics are suggested:

1.      Real-Time Rigid Body Simulation

2.      Physically-Based Character Animation

3.      Optimization-Based Animation Methods

4.      Motion Graphs

5.      Character Skinning Techniques

6.      Clothing Simulation

7.      Deformation and Fracture Models

8.      Artificial Life  (plants and animats)

9.      Crowd Simulation

10.   Graphics Hardware (GPU Architectures)

11.   Virtual and Augmented Reality

12.   Motion and Performance Capture (techniques and technologies)

13.   Advanced 3D Modeling Methods (parametric and implicit surfaces)

14.   Level set methods

15.   Water and Fluid Simulation

16.   Smoke, Fire and Explosion Simulation

17.   Image-based Modeling and Rendering

18.   Rendering and Lighting (BRDFs, non-photorealistic rendering, etc)

19.   Global Illumination (Ray tracing, radiosity and photon mapping)

20.   Real-time Ray Tracing

21.   Pre-computed Radiance Transfer (PRT)

22.   Renderman

23.   Hair and Fur (Shaders)

24.   High Dynamic Range Images and Displays

25.   Procedural Modeling of Cities



The materials required as preparation for the primer presentation include:

·       A written, annotated bibliography of source materials. The annotated bibliography must be distributed to each member of the class on the day of the presentation (that means bring copies).

·       An oral presentation of the methods, in suitable detail that we can understand the common algorithms used.  The presentation  must be submitted to and checked by the instructor no less than one week before the scheduled  presentation date.

·       Vidoes, demos and other examples illustrating the methods and variants on the algorithms or their appearance.

The ACM-Digital Library

is a good place to search for SigGraph Courses and Papers.  The Internet is also another great source for video material. For example, the extensive online bibliography maintained by SIGGRAPH at: