Virtual Places


Pat Hanrahan
Rm 370 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-8530
Office hours: 7:00-9:00pm Mon (Sweet Hall), 11-12am Thu (Gates)

Teaching assistants

Frank Hickman
Rm. 193A Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-6059
Office Hours: 8:00-10:00pm Tue (Sweet Hall), 3:00-4:00pm Wed (Gates 193A)

Gregory Humphreys
Rm. 381 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-0618
Office Hours: 4:00-5:00pm Tue (Gates 300), 6:00-8:00 Tue (Sweet Hall)

Kekoa Proudfoot
Rm. 372 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 725-3708
Office Hours: 7:00-9:00pm Wed (Sweet Hall), 3:00-4:00pm Thu (Gates 372)

Matt Pharr
Rm. 372 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 725-3708
Office Hours: 4:00-5:00pm Mon (Gates 372), 6:00-8:00pm Wed (Sweet Hall)


Ada Glucksman
Room 368 Gates Computer Science Building
(next to Pat Hanrahan's office)
(650) 725-3724
Office hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00 to 4:30


This course provides a broad overview of the basic concepts of computer graphics and imaging. Both 2d raster graphics and 3d graphics will be covered. Topics from imaging include color theory, tone reproduction, quantization, dithering and halftoning, basic signal processing and sampling, aliasing and antialiasing algorithms, and scan conversion of lines and polygons. Topics from 3d graphics include projective geometry, representations of curves and surfaces, animation, modeling and viewing transformations, hidden surface removal algorithms, reflection models and illumination algorithms. In addition the general features of graphics hardware and system architectures will be covered.


CS 248 assumes no prior knowledge of computer graphics. However, most students taking CS 248 have had some exposure to graphical user interfaces and interaction techniques, usually through CS 108. We assume solid programming skills in C (or C++) on a UNIX workstation and a knowledge of basic computer algorithms and data structures. We also assume a basic knowledge of calculus and linear algebra (one college-level course of each), and basic familiarity with 2D and 3D geometry. Exposure to digital signal processing or Fourier analysis is useful, but it is not required.


Please fill out the registration form located on the course home page. This form complements, but does not supercede, class registration via AXESS. The contact information that you provide on this form (email and home page) will be used to construct a class mailing list for class announcements. Your name and contact information will also be placed on a student page linked to the CS248 Home Page. The other requested information will be used to help gauge the background of the class.


The following textbook is required for the course:
J. Foley, A. van Dam, S. Feiner, and J. Hughes,
 Computer Graphics in C: Principles and Practice.
2nd edition in C, Addison-Wesley, 1995.
And the following books are optional:
J. Neider, T. Davis, M. Woo,
The OpenGL Programming Guide, Version 1.1, 2nd Edition
Addison-Wesley, 1997

J. Hartmen, J. Werneke,
The VRML 2.0 Handbook,
Addison-Wesley, 1996.

Copies of these books are available in the textbook and general computer science sections of the campus bookstore. These books will be on reserve in the Math and CS Library.

Additional material not covered in the texts will also be made available. This consists of several papers and notes for several of the lectures.

Slides of the lectures will also be made available via the CS 248 Home Page. These slides are intended to be viewed along with the lecture, and are not meant to be self-explanatory study aids.

Printed copies of handouts and slides will be available in the CS248 file cabinet located in the copy room (rm 372) in Gates Wing 3B. If the handout you want is not in the bin, see the course secretary.


In addition to regularly scheduled readings, the workload for this course consists of four programming assignments and two exams. The evening examinations will be on campus; SITN students must come to campus for these exams. The TAs will hold review sessions for the midterm and final exams, and these will be broadcast on SITN.

The tentative list of programming assignments is:

Each assignment will require you to produce a working program, a commented on-line copy of your source code, and a brief (1-2 pages) description of the system. Assignments are due by 5:00pm on the day indicated. All submissions will be done on-line; We will describe the submission process in a later handout.


Evaluation criteria: Each of the four programming assignments will count as 15% of your grade, for a total of 60%. The midterm and final exams will each account for 20% of your grade. Grading criteria on the assignments will vary: typical criteria are correctness (as judged by the test cases, images produced, or running the program), and efficiency and programming style. Several assignments will have the opportunity for extra credit.

Collaboration: Each assignment must be done individually, unless stated otherwise in the assignment.

Late assignments: Since there are many topics covered in this course, it is important not to fall behind. Thus, all assignments should be completed on time. However, we realize that there are often unforeseen circumstances that make it difficult to turn in all work on time. Therefore, you will be allowed four weekdays of grace during the quarter, an average of one day per assignment. Once your four days are used, late assignments will be penalized 10% per weekday. No assignments will be graded if they are more than 1 week late, Additional late days will not be given except in exceptional circumstances.

SGI Laboratory

Hardware: To do the assignments you will have access to the Stanford Graphics Laboratory located in the basement of Sweet Hall. Room 029 contains 15 Silicon Graphics Indigo XZs (100Mhz R4000 processor, 60K polygons/sec, 24-bit frame buffer, and CD-quality digital stereo audio) named firebird1 through firebird15, and Room 026 contains 15 Silicon Graphics Octanes (175Mhz R10000 processor, 500K polygons/sec, 24-bit frame buffer, and CD-quality digital stereo audio) named raptor1 through raptor15, Students in CS 248 have non-exclusive priority access to this laboratory.

All students with leland accounts automatically have accounts on these machines. Home directories on these machines are shared with other Stanford Computing Clusters using AFS. If you do not have a leland account, follow these instructions.

Software: To help focus your attention on the key ideas in each assignment, we will provide support libraries and datasets for each assignment. These tools and datasets will be installed on the machines in Sweet Hall, under the directory /usr/class/cs248.

Using other platforms: If you prefer working in your dorm room or workplace, and have access to a machine there, you are welcome to do the assignments on your own machines. However, your code must still use OpenGL, and in the end it is your responsibility to insure that it is copied and tested on the SGI machines in Sweet Hall. To help those working remotely, we will make available source for the support libraries that are used for each assignment. You are free to copy that source and port it to your environment, if you wish. However, we make no guarantees concerning the portability of this software. Please, if you improve the portability of the support code, return the source to us so that we may incorporate your changes into the future versions of the software. Extraordinary improvements to the support libraries will also be rewarded with special credit.

CS248: Introduction to Computer Graphics, Pat Hanrahan, Fall 98