Computer Science (3 Years) [BSc]

Advanced Computer Graphics

Unit code: COMP37111
Credit Rating: 10
Unit level: Level 3
Teaching period(s): Semester 1
Offered by School of Computer Science
Available as a free choice unit?: Y



Additional Requirements

Students who are not from the School of Computer Science must have permission from both Computer Science and their home School to enrol.


This Course Unit covers the principles of modern techniques for Computer Graphics modelling and image synthesis, on the assumption that students have already completed the introductory Computer Graphics course (COMP27112). Its principal aim is to introduce students to the ever-expanding repertoire of techniques for defining and rendering images of 3D model data. Particular attention is focussed on the increasing requirements for complex rendering and interaction to occur in real-time.


This course follows on from COMP27112, the 2nd year course "Computer Graphics, and Image Processing", and looks at more advanced topics in Computer Graphics, such as large-scale polygonal modelling techniques, capturing geometry from scanners and cameras, procedural modelling, and sophisticated global and real-time rendering techniques. The course is supported by a 10-week laboratory project in OpenGL.

Teaching and learning methods


11 in total, 1 per week


There will be one lab exercise programming project.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are detailed on the COMP37111 course unit syllabus page on the School of Computer Science's website for current students.

Employability skills

  • Analytical skills
  • Innovation/creativity
  • Project management
  • Problem solving
  • Research

Assessment methods

  • Written exam - 75%
  • Practical skills assessment - 25%


Introduction and overview (1)
Introduction to the course and to the laboratory project. Applications of modelling techniques and image synthesis.

Non-polygonal modelling techniques (1)
Procedural modelling: fractal geometry, modelling with fractals, particle systems, L-systems.

Model acquisition (3)
Laser scanning; surface fitting; occlusions and hole-filling; acquisition of geometry from photographs and video.

The Rendering Equation and Ray-tracing (1)
The Rendering Equation, basic ray tracing, primary and secondary rays, shadow feeler rays, reflection and transparency. Real-time ray tracing.

Monte Carlo ray tracing. Importance sampling, variance reduction methods. Path tracing, bidirectional ray tracing.

Global illumination: Radiosity (1)
Principles: energy exchange between surfaces, implementation approaches, rendering techniques.

Volume rendering (1)

Spatial Enumeration and culling (2)
Spatial enumeration, grids, AABBs, HBBs. Level of detail.Examples of model complexity, the need for interaction. Culling techniques:

back-face, view frustum, portals, occlusion culling.

Recommended reading

COMP37111 reading list can be found on the School of Computer Science website for current students.

Feedback methods

Face to face feedback and marking in programming laboratories.

Study hours

  • Lectures - 11 hours
  • Independent study hours - 89 hours

Teaching staff

Toby Howard - Unit coordinator

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