Computer Graphics
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Computer Graphics Introduction I. A Survey of Computer Graphics. What is computer graphics? Interactive computer graphics The history of computer graphics Computer graphics applications Device. What is Computer Graphics?. Some possible definitions:

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Computer Graphics Introduction I

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Computer Graphics

Introduction I

A Survey of Computer Graphics

  • What is computer graphics?

  • Interactive computer graphics

  • The history of computer graphics

  • Computer graphics applications

  • Device

What is Computer Graphics?

  • Some possible definitions:

    • Approaches, Methods, Technics and Tools for virtual world visualization

    • Generating 2D images of a 3D world represented in computer

  • Main tasks

    • Modeling: construct the 3D model of the scene

    • Rendering: compute the color of each pixel

    • Animation

What is Computer Graphics? (1/2)

Computer graphics generally means creation, storage and manipulation of models and images

Such models come from diverse and expanding set of fields including physical, mathematical, artistic, biological, and even conceptual (abstract) structures

Frame from animation by William Latham, shown at SIGGRAPH 1992. Latham uses rules that govern patterns of natural forms to create his artwork.

William Fetter coined term “computer graphics” in 1960 to describe new design methods he was pursuing at Boeing

Created a series of widely reproduced images on pen plotter exploring cockpit design, using 3D model of human body.

What is Computer Graphics? (2/2)

“Perhaps the best way to define computer graphics is to find out what it is not. It is not a machine. It is not a computer, nor a group of computer programs. It is not the know-how of a graphic designer, a programmer, a writer, a motion picture specialist, or a reproduction specialist.

Computer graphics is all these – a consciously managed and documented technology directed toward communicating information accurately and descriptively.”

Computer Graphics, by William A. Fetter, 1966

What is Interactive Computer Graphics? (1/3)

User controls contents, structure, and appearance of objects and their displayed images via rapid visual feedback

Basic components of an interactive graphics system

input (e.g., mouse, tablet and stylus, force feedback device, scanner, live video streams…)

processing (and storage)

display/output (e.g., screen, paper-based printer, video recorder, non-linear editor…)

First truly interactive graphics system, Sketchpad, pioneered at MIT by Ivan Sutherland for his 1963 Ph.D. thesis

Sketchpad in 1963. Note use of a CRT monitor, light pen and function-key panel.

Before Sketchpad, output via plotters/printers, input via keypunch, both in batch

What is Interactive Computer Graphics? (2/3)

Batch (1950s – now)

Card punching (left). IBM 704 (right) took up a whole room and was capable of about 4,000 arithmetic operations/second.

Cool facts: Whirlwind, built in early 50’s at MIT, cost $4.5 million and could perform 40,000 additions/second. Mac 512K, list price $3,195 in 1984, could do 500,000.

The Graphics Process


Modeling with Maya


Modeling from image


The tree model

(a) without leaves (b) with leaves

Modeling---Geometry Processing


Indirect diffusion

Caustic effect


“A Rapid Hierarchical Rendering Technique for Translucent Materials”. Jensen, Siggraph’2002



  • Graphics Vs. Image ?

    - geometric elements and attributes

    - pixel arrays

  • Computer Graphics Vs. Image Processing

    • CG : 3D Models ->rendering -> images

    • I. P : 2D images ->analysis->models(other information, special effects...)

The History of Computer Graphics

Pioneer: Ivan Sutherland

1963: Sutherland’s PhD Thesis:“Sketchpad: A Man-machine Graphical Communications System.”, MIT,1963

First time used“Computer Graphics”. CG started to be a novel and independent scientific branch.

Pioneer:Ivan Sutherland

  • First truly interactive graphics system, Sketchpad, pioneered at MIT by Ivan Sutherland for his 1963 Ph.D. thesis

Sketchpad in 1963. Note use of a CRT monitor, light pen and function-key panel.

The History of Computer Graphics

  • Poineer: Ivan Sutherland

  • 1962: Pierre Bezier put forward “Bezier curve” for the representation of space curve

  • 1967: Wylie added lighting effect in objects representation

  • 1969: Xerox developed GUI (Graphic User Interface)

  • 1973: Richard Shoup invented Raster-Scan Display

  • The great improvement of graphic techniques

    • Phong lighting model(1973);Texture mapping(1974);Ray tracing(1980);Radiosity(1984)…

The History of Computer Graphics

  • Industry

    • ILM(Industrial Light and Magic): an Academy Award winning motion picture visual effects company, 1975

    • SGI (Silicon Graphics, Inc): 1982

    • Pixar 1986

    • AutoDesk, Adobe

  • Display card

    • 1994: the first PC display card --- by 3DLabs

    • 1995.11: Voodoo --- by 3DFx

    • 1999: Geforce256, the first GPU --- by nVidia

    • nVidia and ATI

      • Geforce 8800、Radeon HD 2900 XT

The History of Computer Graphics

  • Graphics Standard

    • GKS(Germany, 1970’s); PHIGS(ISO, 1986); GKS-3D(1988)

    • OpenGL(SGI, 1992); DirectX(Microsoft); Java3D(Sun)

  • Graphics Application Software

    • 3DS Max, Maya, LightWave 3D

    • Renderman

    • AutoCAD, Solid Work

Computer Graphics Applications

  • Computer Aided Design/Manufacturing

  • Entertainment

  • Education&Science and Training

  • Visualization in Scientific Computing

  • Graphical User Interface

  • ……

Computer Aided Design/Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)

  • Computer aided design in airplane, car, watercraft, architecture, costume, toy…


  • Boeing 777(1990.10 – 1994.4)

    • All the designing work is in computer graphics stations and terminals

    • No paper

  • Boeing 747(comparing)

    • 16320 meters paper!


Computer aided design/Manufacturing in airplane


Computer aided architecture design


Computer aided design in shoe Manufacturing


  • Movies, Animations

  • Games

  • NPR (Non-Photorealistic Rendering)

  • ……

Special Effects in Movie

Jurassic Park(1993)

Special Effects in Movie

Titanic (1997)

3D Animation Movie

Toy story (1995)

Monster’s Inc. (2001)

3D Animation Movie



Final Fantasy (2001)

Beijing Olympics opening ceremony


Toon Shading

NPR (Non-Photorealistic Rendering)

Calligraphy generated using computers

Education & Science and Training

  • Computer Aided Education and Science

    • Computer simulating the phenomenon in biology, geography, physics, chemistry, medicine, political social, economy and other sciences

  • Computer Aided Training

    • System for training of ship captains, aircraft pilots …

Computer Graphics in Geography

  • Terrain Generation


Fractal models

Aerial views


Google Earth

Structure of Protein

Computer Aided Training

War games

Visualization in Scientific Computing

  • Producing graphical representations for scientific, engineering and medical data sets and processes

Application --- Hydrodynamic

The air current around a car

Application --- Hydrodynamic

Application --- Weather

The isolines exhibit the distribution of atmospheric pressure

Application --- Medical

The visible human project

Graphical User Interface(GUI)

3D operating system

Graphic Devices in Computer System

Graphic Devices in Computer System

  • CPU

    • CPU implements all kinds of computations about graphics such as description, construction and modification

  • GPU(Graphic Processing Unit)

  • Video Display Devices

  • Input Devices

Video Display Devices

  • Primary Output Device

    • Cathode ray tube(CRT) based display

    • Liquid-Crystal Display

    • Plasma panels

  • Steroscopic Display

  • Three Dimensional Viewing Devices

Steroscopic Viewing Devices

Three Dimensional Viewing Devices

Three Dimensional Viewing Devices

  • Transport 3D display system

  • built by Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory (HHIL)

Graphic Devices in Computer System

  • CPU

  • GPU(Graphic Processing Unit)

  • Video Display Devices: output devices

  • Input Devices

Input Devices

  • Primary Input Devices

    • Keyboard, Mouse, Trackball, Spaceball, Joysticks, Digitizers, Light Pen, Scan machine, Touch panel, Voice System

    • Data Gloves, Sensor, Tracker, Force Feedback

3D mouse

Data glove

Force Feedback Device

Important conference:


(Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques)

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