Course schedule

CS 178 - Digital Photography
Spring Quarter, 2014
Marc Levoy
Handout #2
Click here for a public version of this course that includes video recordings of the lectures.
Or here is a YouTube playlist of the lectures.

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; all other readings are from your course reader. For London, the 11th edition is assumed. Unfortunately, some material present in the 10th edition was omitted from the 11th edition. This material, designated as "10e" in the schedule, will therefore be considered optional reading. It will also be covered in class.

Date Lectures (and links to slides) Readings and applets Coursework and section meeting
Week 1:
Tue Apr 1
Image formation
natural & linear perspective, pinholes and lenses,
aperture, shutter, motion blur, depth of field, ISO
London, chapter 2 - camera
Flash applet: Variables that affect exposure
Fill out survey for Photoshop,
camera, & section (by Wed 10:00pm)
Thu Apr 3 Choosing a camera
History of photography (part 1)
invention of photography, the age of portraits
Extreme photography
London, chapter 13 - history of photography Assignment #1 - bad photos
(due Sunday, April 6, 11:59pm)

(Optional 1-hour tutorials for camera newbies,
Friday 11:00-noon or 1:00-2:00pm in Gates B02)
How digital cameras work
Week 2:
Tue Apr 8
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 13, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 10 Optics II: Practical photographic lenses
aberrations & distortion, glare & flare, vignetting, diffraction, lens design, telephoto & zoom lenses
Flash applets: Depth of Field, Telephoto zoom lenses Section meetings (in Gates B02):
get to know your camera better, introduction to Photoshop,
look at pictures from assignment #1, What is a digital image?
Week 3:
Tue Apr 15
History of photography (part 2)
documenting the world, the beginning of photojournalism
Composing good photographs
London, chapter 12 - seeing photographs, Bryan Peterson, Learning to See Creatively,
Ansel Adams, Making of 40 Photographs
Assignment #3 - macro photography
(due Sunday, April 20, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 17 Autofocus (AF)
viewfinders, view cameras, tilt-shift lenses, passive vrs active autofocusing, phase vrs contrast detection
Exposure metering (AE)
the dynamic range problem, metering technology
London (10e), chapter 15 - view camera,
London (10e), chapter 16 - the zone system
Goldberg, Dark Side of the Lens, 1.11-1.20
Flash applets: Autofocus using phase detection or contrast detection
Section meetings (walkabout):
macro photography in the Stanford cactus garden
Meet promptly at B02, bring your camera!
Photons, pixels, and bits
Week 4:
Tue Apr 22
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
Assignment #4 - architecture/interiors
(due Sunday, April 27, 11:59pm)
Thu Apr 24 Photons and sensors
how digital sensors work, CCD versus CMOS, microlenses and antialiasing, color sensing technologies
London, chapter 4 - exposure and sensors
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
tutorial on image adjustments in Photoshop
Week 5:
Tue Apr 29
Noise and ISO
sources of noise, SNR, dynamic range, ISO, denoising
Image stabilization (IS) avoiding camera shake, optical stabilization technologies
no weekly assignment,
study for your midterm
Thu May 1 Light field photography
Night photography & astrophotography
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
review for midterm exam (optional, attend any you like)
Mon May 5 Midterm, 7-9pm, Cubberly Auditorium Review slides: What will be on the midterm?
Week 6:
Tue May 6
History of photography (part 3)
photography as art, genres, Naturalism, Pictorialism
Why is sports photography hard?
(and solutions based on computational photography)
Assignment #5 - still life
(due Sunday, May 11, 11:59pm)
Thu May 8 Take apart a camera !! Animation of assembling a Canon 10D camera (Matthew Farrell, Michelle Pang, Michael Tom, UC Berkeley) (No section meetings this week.)
Color and lighting
Week 7:
Tue May 13
Color I: trichromatic theory
color spectra, color sensitivity, color matching, 3D color spaces, additive versus subtractive color mixing
London, chapter 5 - light and 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 18, 11:59pm)
Thu May 15 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 20
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 25, 11:59pm)
Thu May 22 Photographic lighting
lighting for portraiture, studio lighting, key & fill, flash photography, flash-noflash & multi-flash
London, chapter 10 - lighting,
Hunter, Light Science and Magic, 7
Section meetings (in Gates B02):
look at landscape photographs, advanced editing in Photoshop
Image processing
Week 9:
Tue May 27
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
London, chapter 6 - digital darkroom,
London, chapter 7 - image editing
London, chapter 8 - digital printing,
London, chapter 9 - organizing and storing
Assignment #8 - portraiture
(due Sunday, June 1, 11:59pm)
Thu May 29 In-camera image processing
demosaicing, gamma curves, tone mapping, HDR, denoising and sharpening, compression and file formats
Flash applet: Gamma correction Section meetings (in Gates B02):
studio portraits, lighting will be provided
Week 10:
Tue June 3
panoramic cameras, stitching, perspective vrs cylindrical
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 5 (no lecture) Section meetings (in Gates B02):
review for final exam (optional)
Mon June 9 Final exam, 7-10pm, Hewlett 200 Review slides: What will be on the final?
Copyright © 2014 Marc Levoy
Last update: September 10, 2016 07:55:20 PM