CSC3204 : Advanced Graphics and Virtual Environments

  • Module Leader(s): Mrs Alex Barfield
  • Owning School:
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To provide both a theoretical and practical introduction to advanced topics in computer graphics, including modelling and rendering techniques and the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of virtual environments.
Provide practical experience of implementing and evaluating advanced graphics algorithms.
Provide direct experience of specifying and developing software for a virtual environment.

This module extends the basic notion of computer graphics introduced in CSC3201 and considers the requirements of a high visual fidelity real-time rendering engine. This includes the advanced use of textures, advanced modelling schemes, and consideration of the underlying hardware and the tuning of graphics applications to enhance performance. In addition the module considers the nature, application and evaluation of virtual environments. Experience of both advanced graphics applications and virtual environments is obtained through practical classes in which graphics applications are developed using the OpenGL graphics library, conforming to recent standards (OpenGL 3.1 and upwards)."

Outline Of Syllabus

Review of the rendering pipeline: application, geometry and rasteriser stages.
Additional mathematics: further matrix transformations and quaternions.
Advanced issues in texturing: procedural textures, image texturing, texture caching and compression, texture animation.
Advanced lighting and shading, including vertex and fragment programs (with GLSL).
Image-based rendering: billboarding, image processing and volume rendering.
Advanced modelling, particle systems, physical animation, deformable models.
Acceleration algorithms and pipeline optimization.
Intersection test mechanisms and collision detection.
VR systems: I/O devices (visual, haptics and auditory displays).
VR human factors: evaluation, presence, sickness effects, safety, social and ethical issues.
Advanced technologies: augmented reality, telepresence and teleoperation

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion190:309:30Revision for end of Semester exam and exam duration
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion161:0016:00Lecture follow-up
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical161:0016:00Practicals
Guided Independent StudyProject work161:0016:00Coursework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study530:3026:30Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will be used to introduce the learning material and for demonstrating the key concepts by example. Students are expected to follow-up lectures within a few days by re-reading and annotating lecture notes to aid deep learning.

This is a very practical subject, and it is important that the learning materials are supported by hands-on opportunities provided by practical classes. Students are expected to spend time on coursework outside timetabled practical classes.

Students aiming for 1st class marks are expected to widen their knowledge beyond the content of lecture notes through background reading.

Students should set aside sufficient time to revise for the end of semester exam.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50Approx 2 pieces of coursework of equal weight (16 hours each)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Since computer graphics is in essence a practical subject, development skills need to be assessed through a piece of practical coursework. However, students must demonstrate an understanding of the key theoretical issues and be able to apply this understanding which will be achieved in a formal examination.

N.B. This module has both an “Exam Assessment” and an “Other Assessment” (e.g. coursework). If either Assessment has a failing mark below 35%, the maximum mark returned for the module will normally be 35%.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.