CS888 Advanced Topics in Computer Graphics — Rendering — Winter 2024

Course Overview

Rendering is widely used for synthesizing realistic images that we all see in movies, TV commercials, and industrial design. This seminar-style course will consist primarily of paper presentations and discussions. We will primarily focus on offline rendering techniques for physics-based light transport simulation. Students will encounter and use a variety of numerical, computational, and mathematical techniques and tools, such as numerical integration, efficient spatial queries, integral equations, stochastic models, signal processing, optics, parallel computation, efficient memory accesses, and so on. The course takes the style of a seminar: students will take turns presenting papers, followed by a group discussion of the relative merits and limitations of the paper in question. Students are also expected to read each paper and engage in discussion.

Course Goals:

  • Develop familiarity with a range of techniques and tools in rendering to catch up with the latest work in this field.
  • Build experience reading and evaluating technical papers, and giving presentations.
  • Have fun and identify topics in rendering that you truly enjoy studying further.

Administrative Details

Time and location: TTh 12:00 - 13:20, DC 2568
Instructor: Shlomi Steinberg
E-mail: steinberg AT uwaterloo
Office hours: By appointment

Grade Breakdown:


Paper Presentations and Discussions

You will give a few technical presentations (depending on the number of enrolled students), clearly describing the proposed technique and the novel contributions of the paper, and discussing the paper’s strengths and weaknesses. The presenter should carry out sufficient background reading to understand the method in reasonable detail, answer questions, and be able to lead the group discussion afterward. The lectures at the beginning will cover some tips and ideas on how to discuss and present technical ideas. Even for papers that you are not assigned for presentation, you are still expected to read the paper and to participate in a discussion about it after the presentation. Please be prepared to be able to give a presentation.


Enthusiasm for computer graphics and rendering is a must. Linear algebra, calculus, and statistics will be required depending on the paper we read. Experience with both numerical computing (e.g. CS370/371, CS475) and computer graphics (e.g., CS488) are recommended. Familiarity with some numerical techniques will be useful, though you are likely to learn new techniques as you read papers.

Papers List