CS 410 teaches students how to program a computer to generate photo-realistic images. The general idea is that given a scene model, a sensor model and a viewpoint, one should be able to create the same image that a camera would for that scene and viewpoint. Scene models include 3D object models and light sources. Objects models are composed of surfaces, and include both geometry (where is the surface?) and material properties (what is it made of? What color is it?).
This course will emphasize geometric objects and transformations, perspective projections, lighting and reflectance models, shading models, and 3D curves and surfaces. Students will design and implement a ray tracing program from scratch, thereby becoming intimately familiar with the sensor, lighting and object models described above. Perhaps most importantly, students may come to more fully appreciate the power of linear algebra.