Computer Science (COMP) 390

Computer Graphics (Revision 4)

COMP 390

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook)

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: COMP 206 or COMP 306 or Professor approval

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

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 390 is not available for challenge.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


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.


  • 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

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to

  • explain the core concepts of computer graphics, including viewing, projection, perspective, modelling and transformation in two and three dimensions.
  • apply the concepts of colour models, lighting and shading models, textures, ray tracing, hidden surface elimination, anti-aliasing, and rendering.
  • interpret the mathematical foundation of the concepts of computer graphics.
  • describe the fundamentals of animation, parametric curves and surfaces, and spotlighting.
  • identify a typical graphics pipeline and apply graphics programming techniques to design and create computer graphics.
  • create effective OpenGL programs to solve graphics programming issues, including 3D transformation, objects modelling, colour modelling, lighting, textures, and ray tracing.


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:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 10%
Assignment 4 10%
Programming Project 30%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

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

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

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

A print version of the eText may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

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 4, November 8, 2013.

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