Course schedule

CS 178 - Digital Photography
Spring Quarter, 2011
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 29
Image formation
natural & linear perspective, pinholes and lenses,
aperture, shutter, motion blur, depth of field, ISO
London (10th edition), chapter 2 - camera
Flash applet: Variables that affect exposure
Fill out survey for Photoshop,
camera, & section (by Wed 11:59pm)
Thu Mar 31 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 3, 11:59pm)

(No section meetings this week.)
How digital cameras work
Week 2:
Tue Apr 5
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 10, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 7 Optics II: Practical photographic lenses
aberrations & distortion, glare & flare, vignetting, diffraction & sharpness, lens design, telephoto & zoom lenses
Flash applets: Depth of Field, Telephoto zoom lenses Section meetings (in Gates B02):
get to know your camera, introduction to Photoshop,
look at pictures from assignment #1, What is a digital image?
Week 3:
Tue Apr 12
History of photography (part 2)
documenting the world, the beginning of photojournalism
Composing good photographs
London, chapter 17 - seeing photographs, Bryan Peterson, Learning to See Creatively,
Ansel Adams, Making of 40 Photographs
Assignment #3 - macro photography
(due Sunday, April 17, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 14 Sampling and pixels
resolution and human perception, sampling and aliasing, filtering by convolution, sampling vrs quantization
Moller, Real-Time Rendering, 5.6.1
Flash applet: Spatial convolution
Section meetings (walkabout):
macro photography in the Stanford cactus garden
Automated camera subsystems
Week 4:
Tue Apr 19
Autofocus (AF)
viewfinders, view cameras, tilt-shift lenses, passive vrs active autofocusing, phase vrs contrast detection
London, chapter 15 - view camera,
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 24, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 21 Exposure metering (AE)
the dynamic range problem, metering technology
Image stabilization (IS)
avoiding camera shake, optical stabilization technologies
London, chapter 16 - the zone system Section meetings (in Gates B02):
tutorial on image adjustments in Photoshop
Week 5:
Tue Apr 26
Photons and sensors
how digital sensors work, CCD versus CMOS, microlenses and antialiasing, color sensing technologies
Light field photography
London, chapter 4 - exposure and sensors,,
no weekly assignment,
study for your midterm
Thu Apr 28 Noise and ISO
sources of noise, SNR, dynamic range, ISO, denoising
Night photography & astrophotography Section meetings (in Gates B02):
look at photographs from last three weeks, review for midterm
Mon May 2 Midterm, 7-9pm, Hewlett 200 Review slides: What will be on the midterm?
Week 6:
Tue May 3
History of photography (part 3)
photography as art, genres, Naturalism, Pictorialism
London, chapter 8 - digital darkroom,
London, chapter 9 - image editing
Assignment #5 - still life
(due Sunday, May 8, 11:59pm)
Thu May 5 In-camera image processing
demosaicing, gamma curves, tone mapping, HDR, denoising and sharpening, compression and file formats
London, chapter 10 - digital printing,
London, chapter 11 - organizing and storing
Flash applet: Gamma correction
(No section meetings this week.)
Color and lighting
Week 7:
Tue May 10
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, Additive versus subtractive color mixing
Assignment #6 - landscape and nature
(due Sunday, May 15, 11:59pm)
Thu May 12 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 applets: Chromaticity diagrams, Gamut mapping Section meetings (walkabout):
landscape photography at the Dish (and maybe animals?)
Week 8:
Tue May 17
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 22, 11:59pm)
Thu May 19 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
Bonus topics
Week 9:
Tue May 24
History of photography (part 4)
photography as a tool, technological improvements, industrial and scientific uses, provoking social reform, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, photographers of the FSA
Assignment #8 - portraiture
(due Wednesday, June 1, 11:59pm)
Thu May 26 Take apart a camera !!
Animation of assembling a Canon 10D camera (Matthew Farrell, Michelle Pang, Michael Tom, UC Berkeley)
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
studio portraits, lighting will be provided
Week 10:
Tue May 31
panoramic cameras, stitching, perspective vrs cylindrical
The Camera 2.0 Project
and the Stanford Frankencamera
History of photography (part 5)
the modern age, snapshot photojournalism, post-modernism
Flash applet: Cylindrical panoramas no weekly assignment,
study for your final
Thu June 2 (no lecture) Section meetings (in Gates B02):
Tues-Thu only, optional, review for final exam
Fri June 3 Final exam, 3:30 - 6:30pm, Hewlett 201 Review slides: What will be on the final?
Copyright © 2011 Marc Levoy
Last update: July 19, 2011 06:48:31 PM