Computer Science 112
The Art & Science of Computer Graphics

Spring 2013, The College of Saint Rose



Dr. James D. Teresco, Albertus Hall 400-2, (518) 485-3755
Electronic mail: terescoj AT (best contact method)
Class URL: [Link]
Class hour: Tuesday, Thursday 1:05-2:20 or 2:30-3:45, CCIM 121
Extra help hour: Wednesday 10:40-11:40, Science Center 469A
Office hours: Monday, 2-3:30, Wednesday 1:30-2:30, and 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.

If you are interested in learning how to program more generally, you should take one or more courses in our standard introductory sequence, starting with Computer Science 202.



There is no text for the course. Links to relevant 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.


Everyone is expected to attend class to take notes and to participate in discussions. Supplemental readings are listed on the lecture and reading schedule. There is no textbook, so you will learn what you need to know by coming to class. Some lectures will include guided viewings of state-of-the-art computer generated and enhanced images and animations.

The notes used to guide in-class presentations are available as PDF files linked from the lecture and reading schedule.

Be prompt, prepared, and ready to focus on the day's topics. This should go without saying, but this means your phones and other devices not being used exclusively to follow along with class materials and/or to take notes must be powered off. Unfortunately, food or drink cannot be permitted, as we meet in a computer lab.

Most lectures will include a small assignment due at the start of the next class. No late submissions of these "lecture assignments" will be accepted, as they will often be discussed in class on the due date. Some of these assignments will be graded for correctness, while others will be graded based on whether an honest effort was made.

Studio/Lab Component

The Studio/Lab 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 late February and and late April. There will be no final exam. If you attend class, take good notes, and complete the lecture and lab/studio assignments, 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 thresholds. The following thresholds may be adjusted downward (thereby raising grades) but will never be adjusted upward.


Lecture Assignments 10% A >= 93% A- >= 90%
Studio/Labs 35% B+ >= 87% B >= 83% B- >= 80%
2 Exams 2 × 15% = 30% C+ >= 77% C >= 70%
Final Project 20% D >= 65%
Class Participation 5% F < 65%


Every college student should be motivated to attend every lecture and lab meeting for all the right reasons (e.g., desire for knowledge, desire to get the most out of every very expensive minute, etc.). As college students, you understand that regular attendance is essential to your ability to master the course material.

Therefore, there is no formal attendance policy. You are expected to attend regularly, and should still see the instructor about any excused absences. An excused absence may be any of the following:

  1. A documented athletic or academic event that conflicts with a class meeting. The required paperwork must be presented in person at least one week prior to the event.
  2. A family emergency.
  3. Personal illness.

While there is no formal penalty for unexecused absences, missing class regularly will be considered a sign that you are not taking the course seriously. History shows that students who are frequently absent perform poorly on graded work. Do not expect compassion when final grades are assigned or extensive extra help if you do not understand a topic that was covered while you were absent without a valid excuse.

Disability Accomodations

If you are a student with a documented disability and require academic accommodations please register with Lynn Cantwell, the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, located in the Academic Support Center on the 2nd floor of St. Joseph Hall (campus extension 2335 or 518-337-2335, off campus) for disability verification and for determination of recommended reasonable academic accommodations. After you have made arrangements with that office, please see me to discuss your accommodations. Please remember that timely notice will help avoid a delay in your receipt of accommodations.

Academic Integrity

You are encouraged to discuss the concepts related to course assignments and exams with your classmates. This is an essential part of a healthy academic 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 considered a breach of academic integrity and will not be tolerated. Academic dishonesty cases are unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone involved. You are responsible for reading and understanding The College of Saint Rose Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity.

The minimum penalties for a first violation will include failure (0 grade) for the assignment or exam in question and the filing of a Academic Dishonesty Report Form with the Registrar's office. A second violation will result in failure of the course and a second Academic Dishonesty Report Form.

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.