6.837 | Fall 2012 | Undergraduate

Computer Graphics


This course makes use of Athena, MIT’s UNIX-based computing environment. OCW does not provide access to this environment.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 lectures / week, 1.5 hours / lectures

Course Description

In this course, we will concentrate on 3D, not 2D illustration or image processing. You will learn:

  • Fundamentals of computer graphics algorithms
  • Basics of real-time rendering and graphics hardware
  • Basic OpenGL
  • C++ programming experience

You will NOT learn:

  • OpenGL and DirectX hacks
  • Software packages
  • Artistic skills
  • Game design

Grading Policy

Assignments 75%
Quiz 10%
Final Exam 10%
Participation 5%


It is useful if you have knowledge of the following:

  • C++: All assignments are in C++
  • Calculus, Linear Algebra: Solving equations, derivatives, integral; vectors, matrices, basis, solving systems of equations


  • Turn in code and executable (Athena Linux).
  • Always turn in a README file: Describe problems, explain partially-working code, and say how long the assignment took.
  • Coding style is important: Some assignments are cumulative.
  • Collaboration policy: see below.
  • Late policy:
    •  The deadline is absolute. All late assignments will be graded 0. So, submit early, even before you might be fully done.
    • Due Wednesday @ 8pm
    • Extensions only considered if requested 1 week before due date
    • Medical problems must be documented

Collaboration Policy

  • You can chat, but code on your own (we use automated plagiarism detection software!)
  • Use Piazza message board
  • Help others on Piazza message board (will help your grade!)
  • Acknowledge your collaboration (in README)
  • Talk to each other, get a community going


  • No textbook is required
  • Recommendations

Watt, Alan. 3D Computer Graphics. Addison-Wesley, 1999. ISBN: 9780201398557.

Buss, Samuel R. 3D Computer Graphics: A Mathematical Introduction with OpenGL. 2003. ISBN: 9780521821032. [Preview with Google Books]

Akenine-Moller, Tomas, Eric Haines and Naty Hoffman. Real-Time Rendering. 3rd ed. A K Peters/CRC Press, 2008. ISBN: 9781568814247.

Shirley, Peter, Michael Ashikhmin, Steve Marschner. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics. 3rd ed. A K Peters/CRC Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781568814698. [Preview with Google Books]

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Programming Assignments