W Randolph Franklin home page
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Catalog description

ECSE-6800 Advanced 3-D Computer Graphics and Visualization

This course will cover 3-D graphical application programmer interfaces (APIs) and advanced rendering techniques, visulation pipelines, creating simulations, and visualization packages. Also covered will be algorithms for extracting visual information from data sets, such as determining iso-surfaces, contours, and cut planes. A programming emphasis will be on object-oriented design and systems. Term project required. Prerequisites:ECSE-4750, CSCI-2300 or equivalent, some familiarity with Java/C++. Spring term. 3 credit hours

Course Objectives

To learn current research topics in this field.

Why take this course

  1. Graphics is fun. It's got a history, since it is a takeoff from geometry, which is at least 2500 years old. There are pretty pictures involved. It's based on state-of-the-art hardware.
  2. It has applications, and is tied into the real world, and is not just theoretical.
  3. Nevertheless, it's not just practical stuff with no depth, but has some theory and math also.

The prof

W. Randolph Franklin. BSc (Toronto), AM, PhD (Harvard)

I've been doing graphics related programming since the 1960s, and have been teaching versions of this course since 1982. I've been at RPI since 1978, apart from several absences, including a year at Berkeley, 3 months at Genoa, and shorter times at Laval University in Quebec City, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, and the National University of Singapore. I also spent 2 years 7 months as Director of the Numeric, Symbolic, and Geometric Computation Program at the National Science Foundation, recommending how to spend your tax dollars (thanks!).

  1. Office: Engineering Center (JEC) 6026
  2. Phone: (518) 276-6077
  3. Email: 6800 ATwrfranklin.org, replacing AT with the obvious.
  4. Web: http://wrfranklin.org/
  5. Office hours: after each lecture. Usually I stay as long as anyone wants to talk. Otherwise, email me.
  6. Preferred communication medium: email

Course home page



  1. The rest of Angel, the ECSE-4750 Computer Graphics book
  2. various SIGGRAPH course notes
  3. extracts from other books
  4. intro to Computational Geometry and maybe CAD.
  5. research papers, such as from IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications.
  6. software such as POVRAY.

Non-wiki material will be here.

Material restricted to students in this course (because of copyright) will be here.

The password will be the same as for Computer Graphics Fall 2008.

Computers Used

You may use any system that works for you, and that can do the work. My examples will generally be in Linux. Apart from this course, you ought to be competent in several platforms.


MR4-5:20, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Attendance is encouraged.


  1. Term project including paper, website and presentation.
  2. About 4 class presentations of material
  3. some homeworks

Term Project

(moved to course main page.)

Honesty policy

  1. You may collaborate in teams of 2 on all the work.
  2. You may get help from anyone; you may build on a previous project, either your own or someone else's. However you must describe and acknowledge any other work you use, and have the other person's permission, which may be implicit. E.g., my web site gives a blanket permission to other people to use it for nonprofit research or teaching. You must add something creative to the previous work.
  3. Unacknowledged copying is plagiarism. This and falsifying experimental results are about the most serious research crimes, worse than, e.g., murdering your wife. The penalty for these will depend on the magnitude of the crime, up to failing the course. Also, we report events to the Dean of Students Office.

Greg Turk on graphics math

Greg Turk asks What math should I learn in order to study computer graphics?, and then answers.