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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2023-24

COSC 87 Rendering Algorithms

This class is intended for students interested in obtaining a deep technical understanding of the physically based rendering techniques used to produce photorealistic images in animated films, visual effects, or architectural and product visualizations.

Students will learn how light behaves and interacts with objects in the real world and how to translate the underlying math and physics into practical algorithms for creating photorealistic images. The course will provide a detailed treatment of the industry-standard Monte Carlo methods for light transport simulation, such as path tracing, bidirectional path tracing, and photon mapping.

Each major topic will also be accompanied by a programming assignment where students implement these algorithms within their own software framework to obtain practical experience. Additional coursework includes quizzes/handwritten exercises and assigned readings. At the end of the term, each student will work on a self-directed final project that extends their rendering software with additional features of their own choosing with the goal of creating a photorealistic image.


COSC 70/70.01 (formerly COSC 11) and COSC 50; or Instructor's Permission.

Degree Requirement Attributes


The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.


  • Fall