Computer Science (COMP) 390

Computer Graphics (Revision 3)

COMP 390 Course website

Revision 3 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

View previous syllabus.

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: COMP 306 or COMP 307.

Precluded Course: COMP 390 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for COMP 392.

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

SCIS Orientation

COMP 390 is not available for challenge.

check availability


Computer Graphics is a 3-credit senior-level course that introduces the concepts and implementation of computer graphics. As one of the important subject areas of the study of computer science and information systems, this course will focus on the theoretical aspects and implementation of computer graphics using OpenGL.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the core concepts of computer graphics.
  • Apply graphics programming techniques to design, and create computer graphics scenes.
  • Create effective OpenGL programs to solve graphics programming issues, including 3D transformation, objects modeling, colour modeling, lighting, textures, and ray tracing.

Learning Outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will demonstrate their ability to use modern 3D computer graphics techniques, models, and algorithms to solve graphics problems.


  • Unit 1: Preparation
  • Unit 2: Introduction to Computer Graphics and OpenGL
  • Unit 3: Basic Programming Techniques using OpenGL
  • Unit 4: 2D Graphics
  • Unit 5: Colour Systems and Shading
  • Unit 6: 3D Graphics I – Transformation and Viewing
  • Unit 7: 3D Graphics II – Objects Modeling and Visible Surface Detection
  • Unit 8: Lighting
  • Unit 9: Surface Rendering
  • Unit 10: Basic Ray Tracing Algorithms
  • Unit 11: Applying Ray Tracing Techniques
  • Unit 12: Additional Topics


To receive credit for COMP 390, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent), an average grade of at least 50 percent on the assignments, at least 50 percent on the project, and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assign 1 Assign 2 Assign 3 Assign 4 Programming Project Final Exam Total
10% 10% 10% 10% 30% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Hearn, Donald, Baker, M. Pauline, & Carithers, Warren R. (2011). Computer Graphics with OpenGL® (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Prentice Hall.

Other materials

The remaining learning materials for COMP 390 are delivered through Athabasca University's learning management system (LMS), Moodle, and include:

  • Computer Science 390 Study Guide.
  • A course evaluation form.
  • Links to a variety of resources on the World Wide Web.

Special Course Features

Computer Science 390 is offered in computer mediated communications (CMC) mode, and can be completed at the student's workplace or home.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, May 8, 2012

View previous syllabus