Computer Science 110
The Art & Science of Computer Graphics

Mount Holyoke College
Spring 2008


Instructor: Jim Teresco, Clapp 220, (413) 538-2509
Electronic mail: domain:, username: jteresco (best contact method)
Class URL: [Link]
Class hour: Monday and Wednesday, 11:00-12:15, Kendade 303
Studio/Lab meetings: Monday or Tuesday, 1:15-3:05, Clapp 202
Office hours: Tuesday 3:30-4:30, Friday 11:00-12:00, by appointment


Everything on this syllabus is subject to change. Changes will be announced in class and updated in the online version of the syllabus.

Course Objectives

This course straddles the boundary between art and computer science. On the science side, we will work to develop an understanding of the theoretical and practical concepts underlying two- and three-dimensional computer graphics. We will also explore how the tools and techniques can be used to produce artistic works that might be impossible to create in more traditional media.

Prerequisites Texts

There is no text for the course. Links to relavant web pages and occasional additional readings will be made available when appropriate.

We will make extensive use of the Mead Modeling System, developed by Duane Bailey, and the documentation provided by that system.


You are expected to attend class to take notes and participate in discussions. There is no textbook, so you will learn what you need to know by coming to class. A brief outline of each lecture and a file containing the notes I use to guide my own presentations can be found on the lecture and reading schedule. Some lectures will include guided viewings of state-of-the-art computer generated and enhanced images and animations.

Most lectures will include a small assignment due at the start of the next class. No late submissions of these assignments will be accepted, as they will usually be discussed in class on the due date.

Studio/Lab Component

The Lab/Studio portion of the course is where you will really get to use the tools and learn the concepts that we discuss during lectures. You will undertake projects that gradually introduce more and more sophisticated concepts in computer graphics. You will experiment with modeling, color, lighting, perspective, and simple animation. Computer programming will be used to design more complex models and to control their interactions. Your accomplishments throughout the course will be showcased in a portfolio to be maintained on a class wiki. During the last few weeks of the semester, you will undertake a more substantial project. You will produce one or more images or animations of your choosing and present them, along with your entire portfolio, to the class (and to anyone else interested) in a "gallery opening" at the end of the semester. This final project will also take the place of a final exam.

Assignments may be submitted without late penalty up until the time the assignment is graded. That will sometimes be on the due date and other times may be a few days later. Take your chances if you wish, but no work will be accepted after the particular assignment has been graded.


There will be two exams during the semester. Exams are tentatively scheduled to take place in early March and and late April. There will be no final exam. If you attend class and take good notes, you should have no trouble with the exams.


Grades for individual assignments and exams are not scaled. Any scaling deemed appropriate will take place at the end of the semester by adjusting the above thresholds. The following thresholds may be adjusted downward (thereby raising grades) but will never be adjusted upward.

Breakdown: Scale:
Lecture Assignments 10% A >= 93% A- >= 90%
Studio/Labs 35% B+ >= 87% B >= 83% B- >= 80%
2 Exams 2 × 15% = 30% C+ >= 77% C >= 73% C- >= 70%
Final Project 20% D+ >= 67% D >= 63% D- >= 60%
Class Participation 5% F < 60%

Academic Honesty  

Discussion with your classmates of the concepts related to course assignments and exams is an important ingredient in a lively and productive learning environment. However, work submitted for grading must be your own (or the combined work of group members, for group assignments). Any unauthorized copying or collaboration is a violation of the Honor Code.

Academic dishonesty cases are unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Penalties for such violations include failure of at least the assignment in question. A written report will be made to the dean of the College, as required by the Student Handbook. If there is any doubt about the degree of collaboration allowed or the permitted sources for a particular assignment, please ask for clarification before collaborating or consulting the source. Any such collaborations or sources must be cited properly.