CIS 487 Interactive 3D Graphics (3)

Catalog Description:

This course introduces mathematical concepts and programming techniques underlying interactive 3D computer graphics applications (including computer animation, video games and scientific visualization applications). Through a series of projects students will explore the OpenGL graphics API, by way of its current WebGL standard. Topics include modeling, viewing and projection transformations, as well as custom lighting and effects made possible through the OpenGL Shading Language. (Offered spring semester, even years.)


CIS 385 Data Structures and Algorithms (MATH 261 Linear Algebra or MATH 211 Calculus III are recommended, but not required.)

Required Course Materials:


  1. Aaftab Munshi, Dan Ginsburg, Dave Schreiner, OpenGL ES 2.0 Programming Guide, Addison-Wesley, 2008
  2. Donald Hearn, Pauline Baker, Computer Graphics with OpenGL, 3rd edition. Prentice Hall, 2003
  3. Tomas Akenine-Moller, Eric Haines, Naty Hoffman, Real-time Rendering, 3rd edition, AK Peters, 2008

Course Coordinator:

David R. Owen, Associate Professor of Computer Science

Course Audience:

Information Science junior or senior majors. One of two alternate-year 400-level courses offered as regularly catalogued courses. The Networking course is probably a better choice for students planning on getting a job right out of college; this course, for students planning on beginning graduate study immediately.

Course Objectives:

Having completed CIS 487, students will be able to:

  1. Use (with understanding) basic OpenGL modeling, projection, texture and lighting features.
  2. Map a simple 3D scene onto a 2D viewing plane mathematically.
  3. Evaluate alternative algorithms that might be used in a given graphics application, e.g., shading, curve drawing, polygon clipping, or shadow generation algorithms.
  4. Work in a team to analyze a computer graphics problem, design and program a solution, clearly document and present the solution to others.


  1. Modeling
  2. Viewing and projection transformations
  3. Custom lighting and effects


Revised: October 2013 (course description): February 2013 (course renumbering); July 2011 (revise catalog description)

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