The University of Sheffield
Department of Computer Science

COM3503 3D Computer Graphics

Summary This module is an introduction to the techniques used in modern 3D computer graphics. It deals with fundamental techniques that are the basis of work in a range of industries, e.g. entertainment and computer-aided design. Both basic and advanced topics concerned with the production of images of abstract 3D objects are covered, including: 3D representations and manipulations in graphics, light reflection models, realism techniques such as shadows and textures, ray tracing and 3D animation. Students should be aware that there are limited places available on this course.
Session Autumn 2021/22
Credits 10
  • Formal examination
  • Programming assignment
Lecturer(s) Dr Steve Maddock
  • to provide a comprehensive theoretical and practical approach to the foundation topics in three-dimensional computer graphics; and
  • to make use of computer graphics software and programming for the construction of interactive 3D computer graphics scenes
Objectives By the end of this course the students should be able to:
  • Use data structures and mathematics in representing and manipulating 3D objects
  • Identify and compare a range of techniques for increasing the realism of rendered scenes
  • Produce interactive software that makes use of a graphics API
Content Coordinate systems and transformations [2 lectures]
Building and Representing Objects [ 3 lectures ]
The graphics pipeline [ 1 lecture ]
Rendering [ 3 lectures ]
  • Incremental shading
  • Hidden surface removal
  • The Z-buffer
  • Anti-aliasing
Simulating 3D Reality [ 7 lectures ]
  • Simple light object interaction
  • Textures and shadows
  • Advanced light object interaction
Computer Animation [ 3 lectures ]
Review [1 lecture]
Restrictions Students from departments other than Computer Science will need to demonstrate skills in imperative programming, software design and data structures and their applications, as well as experience with vector and matrix arithmetic.
Teaching Method In addition to the formal lectures, there will be approximately 10 hours of practical sessions related to learning to use computer graphics software for the programming assignment, as well as online help with the assignment work.
Feedback Ongoing during lab sessions, via online help and in office hours;
Final feedback sheet for the assignment
Recommended Reading
  • A H Watt, 3D Computer Graphics (third edition), Addison-Wesley, 2000.
  • S. Marschner and P. Shirley, Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, 4th edition, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis group, 2016
  • E. Lengyel, Mathematics for 3D game programming and computer graphics, Cengage Learning, 2012
  • Joey de Vries, Learn OpenGL,