This is very out of date! This 2006 reading list is for historical reference only. Do not use it to prepare for the graphics qual today!

Computer Graphics

Qualifying Examination Reading List

Interim Version:
This state of the Graphics Qualifying Exam is in Flux as the graphics course structure at the graduate level evolves.
This list contains little that wasn't on the previous list, and deletes a whole bunch.

At present, the bibliography is not complete. There are many papers referred to within the reading list that are not yet listed. Also, there are a few topics for which explicit references are not yet named.

Text in light-blue italics (like this) are expected FUTURE changes. These things will not be on the qualifying exam until (at least) the next update of this reading list. We include these notes as a warning as to what may arrise in the future.

Basic Topics

Students are expected to have mastery of the topics covered in an introductory graphics class. More detail can be found by looking at the syllabus from recent offerings of CS559.

A good introductory text should be sufficient to cover this material. At present, we use the text "Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, 2nd edition" by Shirley et. al. (referred to as [FCG]). A few topics are not covered well in the text, so we recommend additional readings. The text "Real-Time Rendering" by Moller and Haines [Moller&Haines] has excellent treatments of many introductory topics.

The readings here should be considered a minimum example of how to gain familiarity with the topic. The particular chapters/papers are not required.

Basic Visual Perception Applied (as applied to Graphics)
[FCG] Chapter 21
Image Storage and Raster Algorithms
[FCG] Chapter 3. [future: add readings about image compression]
[FCG] Chapter 20. (future: the text is weak on alternate color models)
Signal and Image Processing
[FCG] Chapter 4 (future: the text is weak on "practical" image processing).
Gomez and Velho's [Gomez and Velho] Image Processing book is a good reference geared towards graphics students, but is overkill for qual prepation.
Transformations and Viewing
[FCG] Chapters 6 & 7, or [Moller&Haines] Chapter 3. Note: Quaternions are extremely important, but not covered in FCG (they are covered in Moller&Haines). In general, students should understand the major techniques for representing rotations and their tradeoffs. Two good references are: the classic introduction by Shoemake [Shoemake:1985:ARW], or Grassia's discussion of exponential maps [Grassia98].
[FCG] Chapter 8 - covers the basics, more advanced visibility (such as for large models) is discussed below.
[FCG] Chapter 15
Not covered in the text. See the "Advanced" topic below.
Shading and Simple Lighting
[FCG] Chapter 9
Texture Mapping (and its variants)
[FCG] Chapter 11 is (barely) adequate, [Moller&Haines] Chapter 5 is an excellent reference.
Filtering issues and their implementation (Mipmaps, Ripmaps, Summed area tables) are all discussed in Moller and Haines.
Not covered in the text. The best reference is probably The original paper by Porter and Duff [Porter:1984:CDI] is one good source.

Advanced Topics

Image-Based Techniques

Image-Based Rendering

Image Warping

This is an important enough topic to warrant its own heading. The Wolberg survey article is highly recommended (and possibly sufficient for control issues). Students should understand the Bier-Neeley method, and why it is important. Low level image sampling issues are essential to understand. Wolberg's book is a good reference for the basic image processing issues.

Tone Mapping

Students should understand the issues involved, and have some intuitions for how some of the major techniques work. [FCG] Chapter 22 is a good (and sufficient) introduction.

Texture Synthesis

Students should be familiar with the major methods for texture synthesis.

Modeling and Shape Representation

Students should have a familiarity with the major methods for representing shape (surfaces and solids) in Computer Graphics. Familiarity with polygon models, parametric surfaces (bezier patches, B-Splines, NURBS), subdivision surfaces, point set representations, constructive solid geometry and implicit surfaces is important. Students should have the basic concepts of each, and understand the tradeoffs to know where each is appropriate.
[future: provide some good overviews]

Some specific topics that students should be familiar with:

Subdivision Surfaces
Students should be familiar with the basic methods, and the arguments for and against the use of Subdivision Surfaces in computer graphics.
Meshes (and Mesh Signal Processing)
The basic concepts of using meshes are discussed in many of introductory readings. Their use to represent smooth surfaces can be seen in Subdivision Surfaces (above). Understanding mesh smoothing is important to bridge the gap. Students should be familiar with Taubin's basic method, and the improvements introduced by Desbrun et. al
Free Form Deformations:
See the original (and seminal) paper [Sederberg:1986:FDO] Free Form Deformations.
Point-Based Representations:
The SIGGRAPH 2004 course notes "Point-Based Computer Graphics" (organized by Markus Gross with a who's who of contributors) is the best resource. The lecture slides give good indications of the motivations and issues. Students should be familiar with these motivations for Point-based represenations, the issues in using Point-based representations, and the basic methods for working with them. Students should have some idea of how surface and implicit fields are defined by points.
The original papers are also recommended:


Recommended, but not required: The survey by Cohen et al is good at introducing the key issues and basic concepts.

Specific, require papers / methods to know about:


Rendering topics are covered in CS779. Students are expected to have knowledge of rendering issues beyond what is discussed in an introductory text.

Photo-realistic Rendering

Future: The Physically-Based Rendering textbook should replace most/all of these out of date papers.

The basic concepts of realistic rendering are best described in the text Physically Based Rendering : From Theory to Implementation by Matt Pharr.

Stylized Rendering

[Moller&Haines] Chapter 7 discusses a variety of the basic styles, and should be a first starting point (especially for things like silhouettes and toon shading). Impressionist or painting-based styles are included for historical significance.

Future: texts cover basic concepts and methods well - we should pick one. Some discussion of stroke-based methods and silhouette finding is probably useful.


Basic visibility methods (Z-buffer, BSP trees) are discussed as basic topics. This set of papers should be reconsidered.

Graphics Hardware

Students should have an idea of how modern graphics hardware works, in particular, how programmability of the pipeline is used. [FCG] Chapter 17 is a decent reference.

Future: add some survey of "real-time rendering" (how to use graphics hardware to achieve special effects).


Basic Animation Principles and Concepts

[FCG] Chapter 16 provides a quick overview of the basic concepts and issues.

Simulation Techniques

Motion Capture and Editing

Seminal Systems

Students should have enough of a sense of the history of the field, and be aware of some key systems and why they are significant. While the exact details of these systems are not important, an appreciation for why they were important is. (this list is greatly reduced)


Books Referenced

Recommended Texts:

[FCG] Peter Shirley with others. Foundations of Computer Graphics (2nd edition). AK Peters, 2005.

[Moller&Haines] T. Moller and E. Hanes. Real-time Rendering (2nd edition). AK Peters. 2002.

Other Texts:

Gomez and Velho. "Image Processing for Computer Graphics." Springer Verlag, 1997
A nice textbook. A bit gratuitously mathematical, but much more readable and relevant than the typical engineering text. The whole book is a bit overkill for preparing for the qual


Required Papers

(note this list is incomplete - all of the required citations above are required).

[DMSB:1999:IFAM]M. Desbrun, M. Meyer, P. SchrÁder, and A. Barr. Implicit fairing of arbitrary meshes using diffusion and curvature flow. In Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 1999, pp. 317–324, 1999.

[DeRose:1998:SSI] Tony DeRose and Michael Kass and Tien Truong. Subdivision Surfaces in Character Animation, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 98, Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, pp. 85-94 (July 1998, Orlando, Florida). Addison Wesley. Edited by Michael Cohen. ISBN 0-89791-999-8.

[Efros:2001:IQT] Efros, A. A. and Freeman, W. T. 2001. Image quilting for texture synthesis and transfer. In Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and interactive Techniques SIGGRAPH '01.

[Garland:2005:QSD] Garland, M. and Zhou, Y. 2005. Quadric-based simplification in any dimension. ACM Trans. Graph. 24, 2 (Apr. 2005), 209-239.

[Guskov:1999:MSP] Igor Guskov and Wim Sweldens and Peter SchrÁder. Multiresolution Signal Processing for Meshes, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 99, Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, pp. 325-334 (August 1999, Los Angeles, California). Addison Wesley Longman. Edited by Alyn Rockwood. ISBN 0-20148-560-5.

[Hoppe:1996:PM] Hugues Hoppe. Progressive Meshes, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 96, Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, pp. 99-108 (August 1996, New Orleans, Louisiana).

[Rusinkiewicz:2000:QMP] Rusinkiewicz, S. and Levoy, M. 2000. QSplat: a multiresolution point rendering system for large meshes. Proceedings SIGGRAPH 2000.

[Sederberg:1986:FDO] Thomas W. Sederberg and Scott R. Parry. Free-Form Deformation of Solid Geometric Models, Computer Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 86), 20 (4), pp. 151-160 (August 1986, Dallas, Texas).

[Stam:1998:EEO] Jos Stam. Exact Evaluation of Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces at Arbitrary Parameter Values, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 98, Computer Graphics Proceedings, Annual Conference Series, pp. 395-404 (July 1998, Orlando, Florida).

[Taubin:2000:GSPM]. Taubin. Geometric signal processing on polygonal meshes. Eurographics 2000 State of the Art Report, August 2000. [PDF]

Other Papers Referenced (recommended)

[Grassia98] F. Sebastian Grassia. Practical Parameterization of Rotations Using the Exponential Map, Journal of Graphics Tools, 3(3), pp. 29-48 (1998). ISSN 1086-7651.

[Porter:1984:CDI] T. Porter, T. Duff, "Compositing Digital Images," Computer Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH), 18:3, pp. 253-259, 1984.

[Shoemake:1985:ARW] Ken Shoemake. Animating Rotation with Quaternion Curves, Computer Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 85), 19 (3), pp. 245-254 (July 1985, San Francisco, California). Edited by B. A. Barsky. (warning: the original paper had some errors - try to find the corrected one!)

G. Taubin. A signal processing approach to fair surface design. In Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 1995. [PDF]