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UCSanDiegoX: Computer Graphics

Learn to create images of 3D scenes in both real-time and with realistic ray tracing in this introductory computer graphics course.

6 weeks
6–12 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

118,055 already enrolled! After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Apr 15

About this course

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Today, computer graphics is a central part of our lives, in movies, games, computer-aided design, virtual reality, virtual simulators, visualization and even imaging products and cameras. This course, part of the Virtual Reality (VR) Professional Certificate program, teaches the basics of computer graphics that apply to all of these domains.

Students will learn to create computer-generated images of 3D scenes, including flybys of objects, make a real-time scene viewer, and create very realistic images with raytracing. We will start with a simple example of viewing a teapot from anywhere in space, understanding the basic mathematics of virtual camera placement. Next, you will learn how to use real-time graphics programming languages like OpenGL and GLSL to create your own scene viewer, enabling you to fly around and manipulate 3D scenes. Finally, we will teach you to create highly realistic images with reflections and shadows using raytracing.

This course runs for 6 weeks and consists of four segments. Each segment includes an individual programming assignment:

  1. Overview and Basic Math (Homework 0: 10% of grade)
  2. Transformations (Homework 1: 20% of grade)
  3. OpenGL and Lighting (Homework 2: 35% of grade)
  4. Raytracing (Homework 3: 35% of grade)

This term, students who earn a total score of 50% or greater will have passed the course and may obtain a certificate from UC San DiegoX.


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At a glance

  • Institution: UCSanDiegoX
  • Subject: Computer Science
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • Solid C/C++ programming background (Java is ok too; you will pick up C++)
    • Access to a relatively up-to-date computer (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)
    • Solid high school mathematics; a review of the relevant linear algebra is included in the first segment.
  • Associated programs:
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, 中文
  • Associated skills:3D Computer Graphics, DirectX (Software), Ray Tracing, Virtual Reality, OpenGL, Visual Impairment Education, Computer-Aided Design, Development Environment, C++ (Programming Language), OpenGL Shading Language, Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3DS Max (3D Graphics Software)

What you'll learn

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  • Understand the concepts of 3D graphics
  • Write and develop programs that create images of a 3D scene with lighting
  • Learn the basics of graphics programming with OpenGL and GLSL

This course is part of Virtual Reality (VR) App Development Professional Certificate Program

Learn more 
Expert instruction
3 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
5 months
5 - 9 hours per week

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