Computer Graphics

I’ve been teaching an Introductory course on Computer Graphics for a semester at uni now and i have a problem. What to teach and not to teach to students? and What book to use?

So let’s first have a look at the book to use
Up to now the book in use has been Computer Graphics by Hearn and Baker. However I think that is book is too broad; covers too many topics in too few details. In the end, I just end up listing techniques to students! So what book to use? I came across a webpage – a survey carried out for the famous SIGGRAPH in 1999 and the book by Hearn and Baker was 2nd – 8) Incredible!!! Don’t know too much what to think but still consider that book to be too broad and vague. So what are the options? The best two contenders according to me are:
1. Fundamentals of Computer Graphics by Shirley – seems excellent, used in a lot of top US universities; waiting for an exam copy to arrive to pass my final judgement
2. Computer Graphics:  A top down appraoch by Angel – seems good; again waiting for an exam copy to arrive
3. Computer Graphics with OpenGL by Hearn and Baker – will it improve on its lack of focus – exam copy analysis will tell

Now what to teach?
A search on the internet will reveal many possible syllabi. My main problem last semester was: how to make someone understand that this hidden surface detection algorithm is better than that one, why is many polygons in a 3D mesh a problem, why is the Phong model important to know. I came up wih a solution that I’m going to try this year. Instead of teaching students just the theory of animation, I’ll make them use Maya PLE to learn about animation (extending the animation part of the module to 3 weeks instead of 1) and while I’m at it, I’ll make then try the Phong model, Blinn model, applictation fo different textures and see the difference between a heavy 3D model and a light one in terms of polygons. A small assignemnt will have to be submitted eventually.

Will it work? The answer will be known in one year. So keep reading posts here.

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