GCO4817 Computer graphics - Semester 1 , 2007 unit guide

Semester 1, 2007

Chief Examiner

DR Raymond Smith


Gippsland : Raymond Smith


Introduction to computer graphics: brief history, applications, hardware and software and the fundamental ideas behind modern computer graphics. Development of visualisations of two dimensional and three dimensional objects and environments using device-independent programming, graphics primitives and attributes. Study of mathematical transformations including translation, rotation, scaling and projections. Introduces ray-tracing, texture mapping, transparency and shadows. Investigates the representation of curved 2D lines and 3D surfaces using splines including cubic splines and bezier curves and splines. Utilises the OpenGL graphics library for practical work.


Knowledge and Understanding

At the completion of this unit, students will have:


  • knowledge of the fundamental concepts and techniques used in the field of computer graphics
  • knowledge of the history of computer graphics and associated technologies
  • an understanding of modern technologies used in computer graphics
  • an understanding of and ability to apply the principles used in modeling light sources, object materials and light-surface interactions as required to develop realistic, efficient and effective graphics
  • an understanding and ability to apply the mathematical transformations and operations necessary to develop and display views of modeled two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) environments
  • understand the compromises and simplifications necessary to create interactive graphics compared to complex realistic graphics produced off-line under conditions demanding few temporal constraints
  • an understanding of more advanced computer graphics techniques such as ray-tracing, transparency, shadow determination and the representation of curves in 2D lines and 3D surfaces
  • the ability to analyse a visualisation problem, determine appropriate structures and models, evaluate alternative techniques and build an application to solve the problem within the capabilities of the tools available


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

At the completion of this unit, students will have:


  • the ability to listen to, compare and evaluate the thoughts and opinions of experts and novices in the computer graphics field and determine the strengths and weaknesses of their arguments
  • the confidence to state their opinions and participate in discussions while recognising the limitations of their knowledge and understanding


Practical Skills

At the completion of this unit, students will have:


  • the ability to design, develop and debug software applications written in C/C++ and using OpenGL. OpenGL is a very powerful graphics library that is widely used commercially including in the games and entertainment industry.
  • the experience of utilising basic elements within the OpenGL library to create more complex entities and to use texture mapping and other techniques to make these entities appear more realistic and convincing



Before attempting this unit you must have :

MIT Students: Entry to the MIT

MAIT Students: 18 points of programming units. or equivalent.

You should have good programming skills and knowledge of Java or C/C++

Unit relationships

GCO4817 is a elective unit in the GSIT postgraduate degrees and diplomas

You should have good programming skills and knowledge of Java or C/C++. You may not study this unit and FIT3005/GCO3817 or CSE3313 in your degree.

Texts and software

Required text(s)

Angel, Ed Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-down Approach with OpenGL (4th Ed), Addison-Wesley, 2006, ISBN 0-321-31252-X

Textbook availability

Available from all good technical bookshops

Software requirements

We will be utilising the OpenGL graphics library for all practical work. This is freely available and a copy is available from the FIT3005 website.

We shall be programming in C/C++ using your choice of one of the following:

  • Borland C/C++ (V5.0 or above)
  • Microsoft Visual C/C++ (V6.0 or above) or Visual Studio C/C++ or .NET C/C++ versions
  • DJGPP and RSX, these are free "gnu" type implementations of C/C++ programs for windows platforms. The DJGPP home page is located at http://www.delorie.com/djgpp. A "local" copy of this application suite is available from the FIT3005 website, along with installation instructions.
Further information and installation instructions for OpenGL and each of these compiler choices is available from the FIT3005 website.

On-campus students will have Visual C/C++ available in the computing laboratories.

Hardware requirements

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to n hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading

Hill, F.S Jnr Computer Graphics Using OpenGL (2nd Ed), Prentice Hall, 2001 ISBN 0-13-320326-3

Hearn, Donald and Baker, Pauline M. Computer Graphics (2nd Ed) Prentice Hall, 1997, ISBN 0-13-530924-7

Library access

You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Study resources

Study resources for GCO4817 are:

  • A printed Unit Book containing 12 Study Guides (94 pages), sent from CeLTS
  • This Unit Information outlining the administrative information for the unit on the unit website
  • The FIT3005/GCO3817/GCO4817 web site, where lecture slides, weekly tutorial/workshop requirements, assignment specifications and sample solutions will be posted
  • Newsgroups that can be linked to from the Unit Homepage

Structure and organisation

Week Topics Study Guide References/Readings Key Dates
1 Introduction to computer graphics 1 Angel Ch 1 & 3
2 Viewing in 2D and 3D 2 Angel Ch 1.4, 2 & 5
3 2D and 3D geometric transformations 3 Angel Ch 4 & 5
4 Light sources, materials and shading 4 Angel Ch 6
5 Rendering issues for graphics 5 Angel Ch 8
6 Hidden line and surface removal 6 Angel Ch 8 Ass 1 due 4/4/07
Non teaching week
7 Texture mapping 7 Angel Ch 7
8 Ray-tracing introduction 8 Angel Ch 1.3 & 13
9 Transparency and shadows 9 Angel Ch 5.9 & 7.7
10 Object modeling 11 Angel Ch 9
11 Visualisation and Distorted Oriented Displays 12 Angel Ch 12 Ass 2 due 16/5/07
12 Curves and Surfaces 10 Angel Ch 10
13 -


The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


Assessment weighting

Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 40% and an examination with a weighting of 60%. Read this section VERY carefully.

Assessment Policy

To pass this unit you must:

To pass this unit you must:

  • attempt all assignments and the examination
  • score at least 50% of the possible marks for the unit
  • achieve no less than 40% of the total available marks for the assignments overall, and the examination (ie a consistent effort in both components is required to pass the unit)

Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

Final Mark Calculation If both the examination mark and the assignment mark is at least 40%, then the final mark is obtained by:

final mark = ( R * A * E ) / ( ( (R-1) * A ) + E )

where :

  • A = assignment mark as a percentage
  • E = examination mark as a percentage
  • Aw = Assignment Nominal Weighting (40%)
  • Ew = Examination Nominal Weighting (60%)
  • R = (Aw + Ew ) / Aw
    Therefore for this unit R = ( 40 + 60 ) / 40 = 100/40

If either the examination mark or the assignment mark is less than 40%, then the final mark is obtained by:

final mark = Minimum (M1, M2, M3)


  • M1 = E*Ew+A*Aw
  • M2 = A+E*Ew*(40-A)/100
  • M3 = E+A*Aw*(40-E)/100

The intention of these formulas is to weight your marks in such a way as to encourage a consistent effort in both components of the assessment, namely the assignments and examination.

A table is given below to show the final marks that may be obtained in this unit, calculated applying the above formula, for some representative examination and assignment marks.



Assessment Requirements

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Assignment 1: Object Transformation and Projection 4 April 2007 20%
Assignment 2: Scene Visualisation 16 May 2007 20 %
Exam period (S1/07) starts on 07/06/07 60 %

Assignment specifications will be made available FIT3005/GCO3817/GCO4817 Unit web site.

Assignment Submission

Assignments will be submitted by electronic submission to the WebFace Assignment Submission System.



Extensions and late submissions

Late submission of assignments

Assignments received after the due date will be unit to a penalty of 5% per day or part thereof up to one week late. Assignments received later than one week after the due date will not normally be accepted.

This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

Requests for extensions must be made by email at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary.

Contact the Unit Adviser by email to request extensions.

Grading of assessment

Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

Grade Percentage/description
HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
In the 70-79% range.
C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
In the 60-69% range.
P Pass acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
In the 50-59% range.
N Not satisfactory failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
Below 50%.

Assignment return

We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two/three weeks after assignment receipt.


Feedback to you

You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

Feedback from you

You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

And if you are having problems

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

Plagiarism and cheating

Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


Communication methods

Questions about your own personal involvement in this unit should be directed to the lecturer either personally or through email.

General academic content queries or comments should be directed to the appropriate newsgroup for this unit so that all students may see the answer/explanation.


Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the Notices Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly. Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

Consultation Times

Monday  11 - 12.

Friday 11  - 12. 

If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

Dr Raymond Smith
Phone +61 3 990 26462

All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

Last updated: Feb 19, 2007