From CS559 Computer Graphics Fall 2007

Main: ShouldYouBeHere

Should you be here?

This is a class in computer graphics. Our goal is to teach you about the science of making and manipulating images with computers. This course is not about how to use computer graphics. Put simply, our goal is to teach you to write and understand Photoshop or Maya, not to use them.

The official prerequisites are CS367 (Data Structures) and Math 320 or 340 (Linear Algebra). Basically, in this class you will need enough programming skills to build fairly large programs, and enough mathematical skills to deal with the nature of the topic (which does include basic linear algebra and calculus).

We will require students to write their programming assignments in C or C++. The programming language used for projects really is independent of graphics, however, these are what is most convenient. To put this another way, the language of the class is English - it could be taught in Japanese, French, or Swahili, but it is more convenient for us to teach in English.

If you've never written a program in C++, you will want to invest energy in becoming proficient in the language before the class begins.

It is definitely possible to do well in CS559 if it is your first exposure to C++. Many students (OK, some students) did very well. In fact, knowledge of C++ beforehand is not a good predictor of how well students do in 559.

However, learning C++ and graphics at the same time is hard. Yes, some can do it, but they need to work very hard at it.

Also, the programming projects for this class are much bigger than those in an introductory class. For many students, this is the first time they have to write a substantial program, and that can be hard - this class is about graphics, not how to write substantial programs. Because people ask, I will tell you that last year's projects required about 1500-2500 lines of code to do well (and many students wrote several times that!). Your mileage will vary (and this year we may have different projects than last). If you want some hints on how to build a big program, check here.

You should be warned from the outset that this is a hard class. Like many of the upper level computer science courses, it requires a lot of programming (3 large projects and some smaller assignments). It also requires you to have a fair bit of mathematical skill.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Many students complain about having to do too much work in this class. My teaching evaluations generally tell me there is too much work for a 3 credit class. My department chair has told me "stop trying to kill the students." However, I am a strong believer that the only way to learn this stuff is by doing it, and you get out of a class like this what you put into it. So yes, you will do a lot of work, but you will learn a lot. For every student who complains about there being too much work, there's another who thanks me for providing them with such a great class. If you think you might be in the former category, maybe you should save us both a lot of pain and drop now.

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Page last modified on August 27, 2007, at 05:49 PM