This course provides the theoretical and practical foundations for computer graphics. It gives a wide overview of topics, techniques, and approaches used in various aspects of computer graphics with a focus on image synthesis and rendering, including texturing, shading, aliasing, sampling, and many more.

After introducing the two basic algorithms for image synthesis, ray tracing and rasterization, it discusses the physical foundations of ray tracing in greater depth. As part of the practical exercises, the students incrementally build their own ray tracing system, which they will then use to generate a high-quality rendering for the end-of-term rendering competition.

Additionally, on the discretion of the course organizers, an additional BVH speed competition may be held for bonus points.


Teaching Assistants


Eric Windholz
Tobias Dick
Leonard Butz
David Hares


All lectures and course materials are given in English

Tutoring sessions are also given in English, although some tutors may be able to help you in another language at their own discretion.


  • Programming experience with C++
  • Basic knowledge of linear algebra and analysis


The course (lectures & tutorials) will be organized using this team in Microsoft Teams. Lectures are given in person only.


Each student is assigned a tutor which will be responsible for them during the course. Each tutor hosts a weekly two-hour session answering questions about the next assignments and providing insight into the previous one. The tutorial sessions are mandatory and will be hosted in person at our chair.


This course contains both a practical and a theoretical component in the form of assignments. The assignments are mandatory for passing the course. You may group up with another student for solving the assignments. The assignment sheets will be posted online on our course’s team.

Theoretical assignments

Theoretical assignments are to be submitted up until the due date online on teams, or sent per e-mail to your tutor in case of an issue with the submission system. Only PDF files can be submitted. We encourage you to write your solution in Latex to ease the tutor’s correction but we also accepts scans of your hand-written solutions.

Programming assignments

We will be using the university’s GitLab for the programming parts, for which you will need a SIC account. The code submitted for the programming part of the assignments is required to reproduce the provided reference images, and the submission ought to include the mandatory generated images. The submission should also contain a creative image show-casing all extra-credit features that have been implemented. The projects are expected to compile and work out of the box on the machines in the CIP-pool students’ lab in order to give the tutors a guarantee that the code will run on machines that both them and the students have access to.


  • 15% Rendering Competition
  • 35% Assignments (minimum 50% to pass)
  • 50% Final exam (minimum 50% to pass)

Course Schedule

All electronic documents for this lecture are made available exclusively for your studies and must not be forwarded, reproduced, or used in other documents without consent. Individual figures may originate from copyrighted sources even when not explicitly designated as such.

Date Lecture - Instructor Resources
23.10.2023 (no lecture)
26.10.2023 (no lecture)
30.10.2023 Introduction
02.11.2023 Introduction to Ray Tracing
06.11.2023 Transformation
09.11.2023 Spatial Index Structures I
13.11.2023 Spatial Index Structures II
16.11.2023 Introduction to Probability Theory and Monte Carlo Integration
20.11.2023 Light Transport
23.11.2023 Material Models
27.11.2023 Texturing
30.11.2023 Spectral Analysis
04.12.2023 Sampling Theory
07.12.2023 Texture Filtering and Distribution Ray Tracing
11.12.2023 Volume Rendering
14.12.2023 Human Vision System
18.12.2023 (no lecture)
21.12.2023 Color
🎄🎁 Christmas break 🎁🎄
04.01.2024 (no lecture)
08.01.2024 HDR Imaging
11.01.2024 Splines
15.01.2024 Subdivision Surfaces
18.01.2024 Camera Transformation and Clipping
22.01.2024 Rasterization
25.01.2024 Graphics APIs I (no lecture. watch video)
29.01.2024 Graphics APIs II (no lecture. watch video)
01.02.2024 Shader Programming
05.02.2024 Shadow Algorithms
08.02.2024 Wrap-up and Rendering Competition Results

Rendering Competition

The Rendering Competition is a final showcase of how the ray tracing engine that was developed throughout the course can be used to render interesting images.

You can also check out the results of the previous iteration


The course does not follow a particular book, but suggested readings include:

  • Matt Pharr and Greg Humphreys, Physically Based Rendering, 3rd Edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 2016 (available online)
  • Peter Shirley, Fundamentals of Computer Graphics, 4th Edition, AK Peters, 2015 (available online)
  • John Hughes et al., Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice, 3rd Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2013
  • Andrew S. Glassner, An Introduction to Ray Tracing, 1st Edition, Morgan Kaufmann, 1989 (available online)

Some articles on acceleration structures:

Possible Follow-Ups

SoPra, HiWi-Jobs, Diploma, Bachelor and Master’s Thesis