CS 395/495 Perception and Graphics

Instructor:  Bruce Gooch
TA:              TBA
Course Description

This course provides students with: a general background knowledge of the human visual system (HVS), ethical and legal instruction for studies involving human subjects, Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures, how knowledge of the HVS can be used to create more effective computer graphics imagery and visualizations, and the task based evaluation of computer graphics imagery. In addition the course will cover current graphics research that seeks to facilitate a viewer in understanding and interpreting computer image as well as research conducted by members of the vision sciences community who are using computer graphics to facilitate the investigation of fundamental processes of perception.

CS 395/495 is an advanced seminar course in computer graphics. It serves as an introduction to advanced topics and research in the field. The course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. The prerequisite for the course is CS 351 or instructor approval. In this seminar course, students will read, present, and discuss advanced graphics techniques. In addition, students will also implement one of these techniques in a programming project and evaluate the resulting computer imagery in a task based study. The project can be implemented in a programming language of the students' choice (C++, Java, OpenGL, etc.). Students may implement the project individually or, with the instructor's approval, in groups.

  Course information can be found below:


Required Textbook:
Vision Science: Photons to Phenomenology by Stephen E. Palmer

Vision and Art : The Biology of Seeing by Margaret S. Livingstone
Visual Thinking by Rudolf Arnheim
Eye and Brain by Richard L. Gregory
Information Visualization : Perception for Design by Colin Ware

The reading for the course will be in two forms, chapters from the required text and research papers. We will read 1 chapter from Vision Science per week for the Tuesday class session. Each student will be required to provide two unique images that demonstrate ideas covered in the current textbook reading to the TA 24 hours prior to each Tuesday class meeting. The TA will add all of the classes images to the course web page and the images will be used as visual aids during the Tuesday class session. (Hint: The easy obvious image examples will go fast, start the required reading and begin searching for images early each week) In addition, we will read three research papers for the each Thursday class session, covering fundamental ideas and important recent results. Each paper will be formally presented to the group by a student and then discussed in a round-table manner.


Participating in reading and discussions is extremely important in this course. In addition to participating in discussions, students will present one in-depth research topic to the class. Each student will research a relevant paper (from the list of papers in the course schedule), make a Powerpoint presentation, and present the results to the class. These presentations will be posted afterwords on the class website.


This is a graduate level course and all students in it will be treated like graduate students. It will be assumed that students are interested in the material, that they can motivate themselves to learn, and that they are not afraid to venture into uncharted territory (i.e., do research). The undergraduate section will differ primarily in that the expectations for the project will be slightly lower.


Over the course of the quarter, you will apply what you learn to a project of your choice, and then document your project in a high quality paper and presentation. All projects will be presented at a public colloquium. Project topics will be chosen in consultation with the instructor. Projects may be done individually or in groups. Project complexity and expectations will be scaled by group size. The expectation for graduate students is that the project will be quality work that the students would not be embarrassed to submit to a workshop. The expectation for undergraduates is that the project be something they would be proud to list on their resumes, although all students are encouraged to aim high. There exists the potential for projects in this course to turn into longer-term research efforts. Because of the high expectations placed on the project, it is vital that students choose to work on something that interests them deeply.

Course Evaluation

The proportion of the final grade associated with the different components of the course is as follows:

Participation 20%

Presentation 20%

Project 60%