CS 178 - Digital Photography

What's inside a digital camera? This is a cutaway view of the Canon Digital Rebel 1000D. Here's a more instructive diagram, showing the main optical paths. We'll take apart a camera in class. Most photography books talk about depth of field and depth of focus, but few of them give a formula for it. Here it is. N is the F-number, f is focal length, C is pixel size, and U is distance to the scene. We'll study this formula in class. This is a tough shot, because the arcade ceiling is much darker than the courtyard beyond. I solved it by combining three exposures, an idea called "high dynamic range" imaging. You don't need a special camera for this; we'll try it in class. Here are more shots from India. Dorothea Lange's iconic portrait of a migrant mother during the Great Depression. We'll survey the history of photography, and we'll spend a lot of time taking pictures.

Course description

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography - how digital cameras work, how to take good pictures using them, and how to manipulate these pictures afterwards. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, color theory, optical effects in nature, the laws of perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We'll also survey the history of photography and look at the work of famous photographers. Coursework is written assignments, exams, and photography assignments. Enrolled students will be given free access to Photoshop CS4 during the course. Counts as a CS elective in the Graphics Track. Also satisfies GER:DB-EngrAppSci.

Spring, 2009
3-5 (no difference in workload),
P/NP or letter grade (at student's discretion)
Tue/Thu 2:15 - 3:30
and one 90-minute lab/section meeting per week
TCSEQ (Hewlett) 201
Marc Levoy with Andrew Adams
Office hours (obsolete - see HO #1)
         Marc Levoy: Tue/Thu, 11:00am - 12:15pm
         Andrew Adams: Mon/Wed, time 2:00pm - 4:00pm
  • Math at the level of an introductory course in calculus, linear algebra, probability,
       or statistics (college or high school). Basically, you shouldn't be scared of a little math.
  • Digital camera with manual control over shutter speed and aperture. Need not be an SLR.
       Loaner cameras will be available to students who need them, at least until we run out.
  • Programming experience is not required.

  • © 2009 Marc Levoy and Andrew Adams
    Last update: March 30, 2009 10:42:15 AM