Course schedule

CS 178 - Digital Photography
Spring Quarter, 2010
Marc Levoy
Handout #2

Here is the current version of the course schedule. It is also available online at, and will be continuously updated as changes are made. In particular, lecture titles and assignment names will become clickable shortly after a lecture is given or an assignment made. Readings should be completed before the date on which they appear in the schedule, except for the first week. "London" and "Peterson" refer to your textbooks; "http" readings are online; all other readings are from your course reader.

Date Lectures (and links to slides) Readings and applets Coursework and section meeting
Week 1:
Tue Mar 30
Image formation
natural & linear perspective, pinholes and lenses,
aperture, shutter, motion blur, depth of field, ISO
London (9th edition), chapter 2 - camera
Flash applet: Variables that affect exposure
Fill out survey #2 for Photoshop,
camera, & section (by Wed 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 1 Choosing a camera
History of photography (part 1)
invention of photography, the age of portraits
Extreme photography
London, chapter 18 - history of photography Assignment #1 - bad photos
(due Sunday, April 4, 11:59pm)

(No section meetings this week.)
How digital cameras work
Week 2:
Tue Apr 6
Optics I: Lenses and apertures
lensmaker's formulae, ray tracing, lenses & perspective transforms, aperture, depth of field formulae
London, chapter 3 - lens,
Hecht, Optics, 5.1-5.2
Flash applets: Thin lens, Gaussian lens formula
Assignment #2 - Sports & Action
(due Sunday, April 11, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 8 Optics II: Practical photographic lenses
aberrations & distortion, glare & flare, vignetting, diffraction & sharpness, lens design, telephoto & zoom lenses
London, chapter 15 - view camera
Flash applets: Depth of Field, Telephoto zoom lenses
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
get to know your camera, introduction to Photoshop, look at your pictures from assignment #1, What is a digital image?
Bring your laptop and camera!
Week 3:
Tue Apr 13
Sampling and pixels
display and printing, human perception, sampling and reconstruction, aliasing, prefiltering, and postfiltering
London, chapter 4 - exposure and sensors,,

Flash applet: Spatial convolution
Assignment #3 - macro photography
(due Sunday, April 18, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 15 Photons and sensors
how digital sensors work, CCD versus CMOS, microlenses and antialiasing, color sensing technologies
Moller, Real-Time Rendering, 5.6.1 Section meetings (walkabout):
macro photography in the Stanford cactus garden
Meet promptly at B02, bring your camera!
Automated camera subsystems
Week 4:
Tue Apr 20
Autofocus (AF)
viewfinders, view camera movements, passive vrs active autofocusing, phase vrs contrast detection, Schiempflug focusing
Goldberg, Dark Side of the Lens, 1.11-1.20
Flash applets: Autofocus using phase detection or contrast detection
Assignment #4 - architecture/interiors
(due Sunday, April 25, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 22 Image stabilization (IS)
avoiding camera shake, optical stabilization technologies
History of photography (part 2)
documenting the world, the beginning of photojournalism
Deconvolution and deblurring
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
tutorial on image adjustments in Photoshop
Bring your laptop!
Week 5:
Tue Apr 27
Noise and ISO
sources of noise, SNR, dynamic range, ISO, denoising
Night photography & astrophotography no weekly assignment,
study for your midterm
Thu Apr 29 Exposure metering (AE)
the dynamic range problem, gamma and quantization, metering technology and modes, HDR imaging (capture & display)
London, chapter 16 - the zone system Section meetings (in Gates B02):
look at photographs from last three weeks, review for midterm
Bring your laptop and your questions!
Mon May 3 Midterm exam, 7-9pm, Braun Aud. Review slides: What will be on the midterm?
Week 6:
Tue May 4
History of photography (part 3)
photography as art, genres, Naturalism, Pictorialism
Composing good photographs
London, chapter 17 - seeing photographs Assignment #5 - still life
(due Sunday, May 9, 11:59pm)
Thu May 6 Take apart a camera !!
Bryan Peterson, Learning to See Creatively,
Ansel Adams, Making of 40 Photographs
(No section meetings this week.)
Color and lighting
Week 7:
Tue May 11
Color I: trichromatic theory
color spectra, color sensitivity, color matching, 3D color spaces, additive versus subtractive color mixing
London, chapter 7 - color,
Stone, A field guide to digital color, 1
Flash applets: Introduction to color theory, Color matching, Chromaticity diagrams, Color mixing
Assignment #6 - landscape and nature
(due Sunday, May 16, 11:59pm)
Thu May 13 Color II: applications in photography
cylindrical spaces, chromaticity diagrams, color temperature, white balancing, standardized RGB spaces, gamut mapping
Minneart, Light and Color...Outdoors, 11 Flash applet: Gamut mapping Section meetings (walkabout):
landscape photography at the Dish (and maybe animals?)
Meet at Lag gate to Dish, Bring your camera!
Week 8:
Tue May 18
Light and reflection
radiometry & photometry, measures of light, diffuse & specular reflection, BRDFs, Fresnel equations
Reinhard, HDR Imaging, 2.1-2.2,
Dorsey, Modeling...Material Appearance, 3
Assignment #7 - night and color
(due Sunday, May 23, 11:59pm)
Thu May 20 Photographic lighting
lighting for portraiture, studio lighting, key & fill, flash photography, flash-noflash & multi-flash
London, chapter 13 - lighting,
Hunter, Light Science and Magic, 7
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
look at landscape photographs, advanced editing in Photoshop
Bring your laptop!
Image processing
Week 9:
Tue May 25
History of photography (part 4)
photography as a tool, technological improvements, the industrial age, scientific uses, provoking social reform, the Great Depression
London, chapter 8 - digital darkroom Assignment #8 - portraiture
(due Wednesday, June 2, 11:59pm)
Thu May 27 In-camera image processing
demosaicing, tone mapping (including HDR), denoising and sharpening, compression and file formats
London, chapter 9 - image editing
Flash applet: Gamma correction
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
studio portraits, lighting will be provided
Busy session, bring your camera, be on time!
Week 10:
Tue June 1
panoramic cameras, stitching, perspective vrs cylindrical
History of photography (part 5)
the modern age, snapshot photojournalism, post-modernism
London, chapter 10 - digital printing,
London, chapter 11 - organizing and storing
Flash applet: Cylindrical panoramas
no weekly assignment,
study for your final
Thu June 3 (no lecture) Section meetings (in Gates B02):
Tues-Thu only, optional, review for final exam
Bring your questions!
Mon June 7 Final exam, 7-10pm bldg-room 420-040 Review slides: What will be on the final?
Copyright © 2010 Marc Levoy
Last update: June 6, 2010 07:01:59 PM