CS 348B Rendering Competition

CS 348B - Computer Graphics: Image Synthesis Techniques

Course Description

CS 348B teaches the principles of generating images from geometric and optical descriptions of scenes. The course covers topics in sampling theory as applied to computer graphics, local and global illumination, and grayscale and color display theory and technology.

Project and Competition

Since 1992, the central project of the course has consisted of writing a ray tracer which encompasses sampling techniques, texture-mapping, global illumination (following the rays through multiple bounces), and distribution ray tracing to demonstrate angular variations in surface reflectance. In addition, the students participate in a "render-off" competition to generate the best image or set of images (including animations). The winner is selected by a panel of computer graphics experts drawn from industry and academia, and receives an all-expenses-paid trip to SIGGRAPH the following summer.

Images from Past Competitions:


The principal computer resource used in the competition (and throughout the course) is the Stanford Graphics Instructional Lab (SGILAB). The computational and graphics resources of this lab have been upgraded several times during these years. In 1992, the lab consisted of 10 Silicon Graphics Personal Irises (32 MB, 33 MHz R3000 processor). In 1994, the lab was upgraded to 15 Silicon Graphics Indigos XZs (64 MB, 100 MHz R4000 processor, GR2-XZ graphics board). In 1996, 18 Indigo Extremes (128 MB, 250 MHz R4400, GU1-Extreme graphics board) were added. In 1998, the XZs were upgraded to Octanes (128 MB, 175 MHz R10010 processor, SI graphics board).

In 2002, the lab used for this course consisted of 30 PCs running Linux - 15 equipped with 730MHz PIIIs and 256 MB RAM, and 15 with 1000MHz PIIIs and 512 MB RAM.

The software available for the course has included a simple interactive modeler and a scene composing package which reads in objects designed in the modeler and allows interactive manipulation of viewing and lighting parameters, object position and scale in 3-space, and surface parameters such as color and shininess. The scene composer was built atop SGI's Inventor software, a 3-D graphics toolkit written in C++. Since moving to the Linux platform, software provided has included lrt, a ray tracer developed by Greg Humphreys and Matt Pharr, and freeware modeling packages like Moonlight 3D Atelier.

Last update: Saturday, 04-Dec-2004 09:29:50 PST