Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


Computer Graphics - AS 15


  • Rendering Competition 2015 results are now available.
  • A selection of previous exams are available online for your preparation. Please note that they may have a different scope from this year's class and there is no guarantee that the exam will be in a similar form to them.
  • Previous Computer Graphics exams: Final Exam 2008, Midterm exam 2010, Final exam 2010
  • Previous Image Synthesis exams: Midterm exam 2013

  • (only accessible within the ETH network)


This course covers fundamental concepts of modern computer graphics. Students will learn about 3D object representations and the details of how to generate photorealistic images from digital representations of 3D scenes. Starting with an introduction to 3D shape modeling and representation, texture mapping and ray-tracing, we will move on to acceleration structures, the physics of light transport, appearance modeling and global illumination principles and algorithms. We will end with an overview of modern image-based image synthesis techniques, covering topics such as lightfields and depth-image based rendering.


At the end of the course the students will be able to build a rendering system. The students will study the basic principles of rendering and image synthesis. In addition, the course is intended to stimulate the students' curiosity to explore the field of computer graphics in subsequent courses or on their own.


Fundamentals of calculus and linear algebra, basic concepts of algorithms and data structures, programming skills in C++, Visual Computing course recommended. The programming assignments will be in C++. This will not be taught in the class.

Mailing List / Forum

Mailing list ( is set up to facilitate the communication between students. All the correspondences are available here for later references. Send an email to TA to subscribe the mailing list. It is greatly encouraged to use the mailing list, instead of private-mailing to TA, when asking questions or initiating discussions so that the entire class can participate in the discussions.


The following topics will be covered through the semester: ray tracing, acceleration data structures, radiometry, sampling, BSDFs, Monte Carlo integration, advanced camera models, importance sampling, the rendering equation, global illumination algorithms, participating media, sub-surface scattering, denoising, procedural texturing & modeling, appearance modeling, light fields, (depth) image based rendering, image based variance reduction,video based rendering.


Programming exercise

In the duration of the course you will implement a renderer, in a series of 4 homework exercises, that will allow you to create realistic images using ray-tracing. The exercises will follow step-by-step the material presented in class, and you will incrementally add functionality to your program and thus more realism to your images. Once the basic functionality is implemented, you are encouraged to extend your program to achieve some advanced effects and experiment with interesting scene compositions, various light transport phenomena, etc. Your exploration should result in a number of images synthesized with your renderer, which you will submit to an in-class Rendering Competition at the end of the semester.

Rendering Competition

At the end of the semester there will be a rendering competition. The 3D renderer you constructed in your homework assignments will be used to generate realistic images. The best renderings will win cool prizes depending on technical achievement and artistic quality. Here are some results from related Rendering Competitions.

General remarks and late policy

Assignments will be handed out every one or two weeks and will be discussed in the exercise session. Each exercise has a fixed due date at which all the required material has to be handed in. The ONLY exceptions for late submission are military service or illness, both of which require written proof.


There will be a 2-hour written exam covering the topics from the excercises and the ones discussed in class. No additional material is allowed during the exam.


Number 252-0543-01L
Lecturers Prof. Dr. Markus Gross
Prof. Dr. Olga Sorkine-Hornung
Dr. Jan Novák
Assistants Romain Prévost
Federico Perazzi
Oliver Glauser
Course Location Monday 13–14, NO C 44
Friday 10–12, CAB G 51
Exercise Location Friday 13–15, NO C 60 for recitations; CAB H 56 and CAB H 57 for grading sessions
ECTS Credits 6 credits
Exam 120 minutes, written exam (in English!)