eScience Lectures Notes : Survey of Computer Graphics

Slide 1 : 1 / 17 : A survey of computer graphics

Survey of Computer Graphics

The different uses

Slide 2 : 2 / 17 : Intro

Computer Graphics

What computers do....

process, transform, communicate information

Aspects of Communication

Computer Graphics is...

the technology for presenting information

Today, Computer Graphics has become the predominant form of computer output. Even the text on most computer screens are "rendered" using computer graphics methods, as opposed to being mechanically transferred onto paper by an inked metal stamp.

Computer Graphics are everywhere. Here are 4 immediate examples :

Slide 3 : 3 / 17 : Movies


If you can imagine it, it can be done with computer graphics.
Obviously, Hollywood has caught on to this. Each summer, we are amazed by state-of-the-art special effects. More and more of these images exist only within the memory of a computer. There seems to be no end in sight for this trend.
But we're not just talking about big budget mega-productions. There are music videos, and spinning logos on the 6 o'clock news. Computer graphics is now as much a part of the entertainment industry as stunt men and makeup.

The entertainment industry plays many important roles

There are some demanding film maker around the corner. This is an hidden explanation

This is not scientific visualisation.

Titanic : $200 million dollar budget

Quote :
"So what's up next for mega-spending wonder-boy Cameron?
* A sequel to Titanic, called A Very Brady Titanic:  Cost of raising Titanic and restaging famous Vincent Price Hawaiian Tiki episode on board:  $5 Billion.
* The next Bond movie, called A Time to Die Finally and Utterly.  Cost of electricity for Brosnan's blow-drier:  $12 Billion.  Cost of insincere, non-stop compliments to feed Brosnan's ego:   Eternal Damnation.
* A bio-pic of Rush Limbaugh.  Cost of Limbaugh's catering budget:  $65 Billion.  Cost of fine for Limbaugh's ties violating legal noise limits:  $150.
* A new version of Gone With The Wind.  Cost of recreating the 19th Century worldwide and cloning all persons living at that time for maximum authenticity:  $872 Billion. "

Let's have a look at different examples


Geri's Game from Pixar

"Geri's Game" from Pixar :

Because it is from Pixar

Luxo Jr : a desk light playing with a ball.

Luxo Jr. (1986) is the first three-dimensional computer animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award, in addition to winning some 20 awards at international film festivals. It includes several technical achievements in computer animation, most notably self-shadowing, where an image accurately casts shadows onto itself. Final images were rendered with multiple light sources and motion blur.

Since then : Toy Story (1995), A Bug's Life (1998) and Toy Story 2 (1999), and soon... Monster

A name : John Lasseter (Vice President, Creative) 


"The Matrix"

Because it is a great film.

It contains great visual special effects and for instance, the Bullet-Time SFX.

(Invented by a French guy, first seen in a Music Video Clip starring the "Rolling Stones")

Bullet-Time is a new visual effect which you can find in the movie "The Matrix" and other TV commercials. Bullet-Time was first introduced to the
general public by a swing dance commercial from Gap. It was the first generation of the Bullet-Time effect which they got it done poorly in the
commercial. The Bullet-Time section in the commercial was that 2 dancers jumped up, they froze, the camera started moving around from their right
to their front and defroze their motion back to normal.Bullet-Time's concept is to play with motion and time in video or movie. The reason of doing that is to slow down or even freeze the time and let the
audience to see things around it more clearly at that particular moment in time. The very basic idea is to pan the camera around a freeze or
extremely slow moving object. In The Matrix, John Gaeta (VFX Supervisor of The Matrix) did the camera panning with the object moving in
extremely slow motion rather than totally freeze to show us what exactly happened around it.

Forrest Gump

"Forest Gump"

In 1994 : a new edge : Special effects could be invisible.

Remember the feather.

The feather that we can follow in the opening scene of "Forest Gump" is quite a good example of invisible special effect

"The Mummy"

Good "making of" on the DVD.

Now you have some good excuse to go to video ezy tonight : it will be for your study


Year 2001 exercise :

Go and see Tombraider and Shrek

And try to figure out what is real from what is not and imagine how they did it.

For instance, what is the next to last special effect in Tomb raider... the butterfly

Chicken Run

Good scenario, perfect casting, Adequate Music,...only with modelling clay


Freely inspired from "The Great Escape" with Steve Mac Queen (1962, by John Struges)

With or without computer graphics...


Final Fantaisy

Animatrix ???




CARREFUL : There is a subdirectory to explore/print : Data

Slide 5 : 5 / 1 : Some Movies in 2002

Some Movies in 2002


Star Wars II

Try to find out where is real shoting amongst all the special effects.

If you want to buy anything from StarWars :


This movies shows that we have all the special effects we want... Perhaps only new stories are missing ?


Which one is a toons ?

Thank you Mr Roger R...

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) 


Just have a look at the credits : half for a usual movie team, and another half only for special effects

"Amelie Poulain"

by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

1991 : "Délicatessen" - (co-réalisé avec Marc Caro)

1995 : "La cité des enfants perdus" - (co-réalisé avec Marc Caro ; co-scénario avec Gilles Adrien et Marc Caro)

1997 : "Alien Resurrection" (Alien, la résurrection)


Slide 6 : 6 / 1 : Some Movies in 2003

Some Movies in 2003 : The year of the sequels

"Lord of the Rings"

Because the next one is soon (compare the quality between the two episodes, Cf StarWars) Special piece of art : animation of the character Gollum

Next "The return of the king" : December, 17th 2003


Matrix Reloaded

Because "The Matrix" has been the best ScFi movie of the 90s

Because "TheMatrix" was filmed on location in Sydney úp; on soundstages and, for two months, on Sydney's streets and rooftops and in warehouses.

Next : Matrix : Revolutions : November 5th, 2003

(wide; including a same-day release in IMAX theaters)

Terminator, The (1984)

This low-budget masterpiece was the breakthrough film for director Cameron, who weds special effects, thrills, and understated romance to create one of the finest action films of the 1980s,

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

action-packed blockbuster with some of the most amazing stunts ever filmed and ground-breaking, Academy Award-winning special effects.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Terminator 4 : Summer 2005 ... 2008 ?

To Come ...

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

North American English or Non North American English ?

AUSTRALIA 21/08/2003

Full Coverage: Superhero Hype!
Release Date: July 11, 2003
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Stephen Norrington
Screenwriter: James Robinson
Starring: Sean Connery, Shane West, Stuart Townsend, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh, Naseeruddin Shah, Tony Curran, Max Ryan, Tom Goodman-Hill, David Hemmings , Peta Wilson
Official Website:

Finding Nemo ... Back to Pixar !

And then ...

The Incredibles : Release Date: November 5th, 2004

Slide 7 : 7 / 1 : Games


Games are an important driving force in computer graphics. This is the second exercise. If you have time to play computer games between now and the end of the semester ask yourselves, how do they do that? Study the screen. How does the screen look when things are moving? What about when things are still. Why do they always go into those low resolution display modes that everyone else considers worthless. Let yourself get blown up. If anyone asks, tell them you're doing science.

How the game's industry impacts computer graphics

  1. Focus on interactivity

  2. Cost-effective solutions

  3. Avoiding computation and other tricks

  4. Games drive the baseline

Quake : Yet Another Doom Like

Riven, Yet Another Myst like..., the sequel


Slide 8 : 8 / 1 : Games 03

Games 03                 Half-Life II

Slide 9 : 9 / 1 : Imagina : Prix Pixel-IINA

Imagina : Prix Pixel-INA

Imagina : the forum of images beyond imagination

Imagina, the forum of images beyond imagination, was an event organised by INA (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel) and the
Monte-Carlo Television Festival, between 1982 and 2000

Imagina was devoted to the following fields :

Imagina reassemble professionals on four main activities :

A Set of Papers, Panels and Workshops

convening international specialists, and dealing with the most remarkable innovations in new image technologies and their applications in the following fields : television, cinema, games, web, medical and architecture ;

An International Animation Festival : the 'Prix Pixel-INA'

Competition, enabling the public and a professional jury to reward every year the best international productions using these new creative tools

An Innovation Village, a real 'laboratory of the future'

presenting innovative installations, applications and products which ambition is to discover new fields of experimentation and research incorporating virtual images

An Industrial Exhibition,

The European rendez-vous of professionals in computer-generated images, computer graphics artists, designers, artists, cinema professionals, software editors, hardware manufacturers, industrials, service providers, researchers, scientists, students...

Prix Pixel INA

In the space of 19 years, the "Prix Pixel-INA" awards have become a touchstone of the state of the art and of world-wide production in computer graphics and special effects.

Awards attributed by the audience


Works with a strong artistic content and outstanding aesthetic originality.


Pays : Japan - 97

Schools & Universities

works by students

Or another example :


Realisation : Sébastien DROUIN - Christophe MUTIN - Olivier DUMONT
Pays : France - 97




and below :





Contact : Bruno FOLLET
Tél : (33) 3 20 43 24 32 - Fax : (33) 3 20 43 24 33
e-mail :
Production : SUP INFO COM
Realization/Infographie : Erwin CHARRIER
Hard./Soft. : PC, Avid, 3DS Max, Photoshop, After Effects - 99

Cinema/television special effects

cinematographic works or videograms incorporating visual or special effects made with
computer graphics or advanced digital processing techniques

and the video

The Matrix


Realisation : Peter HEWITT
Effets spéciaux numériques : DIGITAL FILM
Production : DIGITAL FILM
United Kingdom - 98

Fiction (short films and feature films)

works with a clear narrative structure


Realisation : Ed. TAYLOR
Pays : U.K - 97

96 : Toy Story
Production : Pixar, The Walt Disney Company
Réalisation : John Lasseter
Réalisation infographique : Pixar
Pays : Etats-Unis

Credits and channel logos

credit and logo sequences made using computer graphics


Credits for the Soccer World Cup
Contact : Antoine LANTIERI
Tél : (33) 1 41 31 50 00 - Fax : (33) 1 41 31 50 10
Réalisation : Marc TATOU, Antoine LANTIERI
Infographie : Martial VALENCHON (MAC GUFF LIGNE) - 99

Hard./Soft. : Mac, SGI, Explore, Flame, Photoshop

Games (intros and kinematics)

only game intros and kinematics will be judged

Some Outsiders





Plus, big classics Tomb Rider...


Contact : Olivier FONTENAY
Tél. : (33) 1 53 62 50 00 - Fax : (33) 1 53 62 50 01
e-mail :
Conception : Benoît SOKAL
Infographie : GRID (Belgique) - 99

Soft. : Lightwave


Contact : Cécile BORZAKIAN
Tél. : (33) 1 43 12 31 04 - Fax : (33) 1 43 12 31 19
e-mail :
Production : ODDWORLD INHABITANTS (Etats-Unis)
Conception : Lorne LANNING - 99



Contact : Nicolas TROUT
Tél. : (33) 1 53 58 46 46 - Fax : (33) 1 53 58 46 47
e-mail :
Production : XING (Japon)
Conception : Pascal ROULIN - 99

Computer graphics : MAC GUFF LIGNE
Hard./Soft. : SGI, Explore, Custom, Symbor, Trukor

Theme parks

works specially made for theme parks

Really difficult to render through low quality web video...



commercials made using computer graphics techniques


Publicité pour un train
Contact : Sophie LHERAUD
Tel : (34) 91 413 42 40 - Fax : (34) 91 413 40 06
e-mail :
Coproduction : LEE FILMS
Réalisation : Victor GARCIA
Computer graphics : Juan TOMICIC (DAIQUIRI/SPAINBOX) - 2000

Hard/Soft : SGI / Softimage, Maya, In-House, Henry, Flame

Animation series

a pilot or episode of a series. The quality of the screenplay will be taken into account

Depending upon the year, a bit like the "Fiction" award  

Science (simulation, visualisation, research)

works concerned with simulation, data base exploration and the visualisation or scientific or architectural phenomena

We will look deeper in that subject later on, here, let's see that scientific visualisation may be really beautiful, let's look at a bat.


Bat's behaviour
Contact : Michel GAURIAT
Tél : (33) 2 48 24 42 30 - Fax : (33) 2 48 24 82 37
e-mail :
Réalisation/Infographie : Denis PONTONNIER (Association Imagénérie)

Hard./Soft. : PC, Lightwave

96 : The Visible Human Project

Production : NCAR's Scientific Computing Division
Réalisation : National Center Atmospheric Research
Réalisation infographique : National Center Atmospheric Research
Pays : Etats-Unis

Music Video

music-based clips incorporating computer graphics or special effects sequences

and what about a bit of Pink...


Réalisateur: Antoine BARDOU-JACQUET
Infographie: DURAN
Production: LE VILLAGE
Pays: France

96 : Titre : Rolling Stones " Like a Rolling Stone "

Production : Midi Minuit Partizan
Réalisation : Michel Gondri
Réalisation infographique : Buf Compagnie
Pays : France : 96

Direct access to the list of winners

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 1996

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 1997

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 1998

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 1999

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 2000



Slide 10 : 10 / 1 : Computer Aided Design

Computer Aided Design

Computer graphics has had a dramatic impact on the design process. Today, most mechanical and electronic designs are executed entirely on computer. Increasingly, architectural and product designs are also migrating to the computer. Automated tools are also available that verify tolerances and design constraints directly from CAD designs. CAD designs also play a key role in a wide range of processes from the design of tooling fixtures to manufacturing.

CAD has had the follow impact on computer graphics.

  1. Drives the high-end of the Hardware market

    (Renault in France : bought lots of large screen, work hand in hand with SGI)
  2. Integration of computing and display resources

  3. Reduced design cycles

  4. Integration between the various crafts of a design lines

  5. From CAD to Virtual Manufacturing

Magic - A VLSI Layout System

VLSI : Very Large Scale Integration: designing electronic chips

UGS : towards Virtual Manufacturing

UGS : Factory Flow

Date Created: 10/6/97
Software: AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max

AutoCad (AutoDesk)

Date Created: 1/5/1999
Software: AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max R2

NB. : About architect : been told that some of them did not like and use VR, because with that tool, their clients were able to see defaults in their plan.


Slide 11 : 11 / 1 : Graphical User Interface : GUI

Graphical User Interface : GUI

Computer graphics is an integral part of every day computing. Nowhere is this fact more evident than the modern computer interface design. Graphical elements such as windows, cursors, menus, and icons are so common place it is difficult to imagine computing without them. Once graphics programming was considered a speciality. Today, nearly all professional programmers must have an understanding of graphics in order to accept input and present output to users.

GUI Time Line

A Summary of Principles for User-Interface Design.

A bit of controversy : Microsoft, Apple and Xerox

From... the first operational Alto computer completed at Xerox PARC in 1973.

To ... January 5, 2000 :  Apple announces Aqua, the new look for their upcoming MacOS X client

And then Java and Swing

Slide 12 : 12 / 1 : presentation graphics

Presentation Graphics

All the "camembert" things (or more well known in English as "pie chart", bar chart ....)

Extract from

Name Example What is it? Why use it? When to use it?
Pie Chart A pie chart is a tool that helps you visualise the relative importance of several categories of
a variable.
To provide a rapid, graphical overview of data you have collected, such as information
about different types of users, types of treatments, types of methods, etc.
When you have collected some data (for example, a counting of events or a distribution of
values) and you want to graphically depict the data
Bar Graph A bar graph is used to graphically present data that you have gathered. The type of
data represented in a bar graph is the number of occurrences measured in different
categories of data. A bar graph is often used to graphically represent the information
you have gathered in a table. For example, in the bar graph below, you can see a
comparison of the number of users of different services -- outpatient, inpatient, and
other -- by type of service.
It helps you visualise relationships among different categories of factors affecting
services to the users.
It is used when the information corresponds to a nominal scale (a counting of
occurrences), and when you want to compare two or more groups (no more than
Histogram A histogram is a diagram that graphically depicts the variability in a process or
procedure within your agency. When you want to see how a procedure is working
in your organisation, you can gather data about that procedure (such as the amount
of time the procedure takes) and create a histogram. The histogram allows you to see
the variation in the amount of time it takes to do that process.
Discovering and displaying this variation will greatly increase the team's knowledge
about a process.
When you want to see the pattern of variation of a particular process, such as when
you are describing a problem, or during data collection and analysis.
Line Graph A line graph is a type of graph that represents data or sets of data that have been
collected over a period of time. The data are plotted on a graph corresponding to
standard intervals of time, and a line is drawn connecting the data points. If updated
regularly, line graphs help managers to follow a trend over a period of time and take
actions to manage the trend.
A line graph allows managers or team members to see trends in data (increase,
decrease, or no change) over a period of time. This can be useful to help you
visualise changes in the process over time or to let you compare the performance
before and after the implementation of a solution.
To visualise a process during a specific period of time to help you describe a
problem, or when you want to evaluate a solution to a problem.



Slide 13 : 13 / 1 : Mediacal Imaging

Medical Imaging

There are few endeavours more noble than the preservation of life. Today, it can honestly be said that computer graphics plays an significant role in saving lives. The range of application spans from tools for teaching and diagnosis, all the way to treatment. Computer graphics is tool in medical applications rather than an a mere artifact. No cheating or tricks allowed.

How medical applications influence computer graphics technology

  1. New data representations and modalities

  2. Drive issues of precision and correctness

  3. Focus on presentation and interpretation of data

  4. Construction of models from acquired data

  5. Real Time may be a big issue in Virtual Reality Application

Visible Human Project®

The NPAC/OLDA Visible Human Viewer

Example of augmented reality :

Image Guided Surgery from the MIT Medical Vision Group

The Visible Human Project® is an outgrowth of the NLM's 1986 Long-Range Plan (US National Library of Medicine). It is the creation of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies. Acquisition of transverse CT, MR and cryosection images of representative male and female cadavers has been completed. The male was sectioned at one millimetre intervals, the female at one-third of a millimetre intervals. The long-term goal of the Visible Human Project® is to produce a system of knowledge structures that will transparently link visual knowledge forms to symbolic knowledge formats such as the names of body parts.


Slide 14 : 14 / 1 : Scientific Visualization

Scientific Visualisation

Computer graphics makes vast quantities of data accessible. Numerical simulations frequently produce millions of data values. Similarly, satellite-based sensors amass data at rates beyond our abilities to interpret them by any other means than visually. Mathematicians use computer graphics to explore abstract and high-dimensional functions and spaces.
Physicists can use computer graphics to transcend the limits of scale. With it they can explore both microscopic and macroscopic worlds.

From scientific visualisation to information visualisation

Image processing

From satellite camera

Analysing large amount of information (from real input or from simulation)

From geological data, data with intrinsic spatial signification

Visualising model

From mathematics, chemistry

Sorting out information from data

abstract data and hierarchical data

From understanding to explanation


Triply connected graph embeddings

Minimal Surface graph embeddings resulting in interlocking disconnected lattices

Stephen Hyde. Department of Applied Mathematics,ANU



"The mummy is back"

The Virtual Mummy

Unwrapping a Mummy by Mouse Click
Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science in Medicine (IMDM)
University Hospital Eppendorf
University of Hamburg


As seen in "Jurassic Park"!

3D File System Navigator for IRIX 4.0.1+


Some good examples of Computer Graphics that can help science presentation and understanding

At ANU :

The WEDGE Virtual Reality Theatre

Vizlab : Virtual Environment Production

Visualization showcase from the ANU Supercomputer Facility


Slide 15 : 15 / 1 : n Dimension

n Dimensions to describe data

This page is an extract from nDimensions with comments in German

Aurora SiteMap
Hyperbolische Räume
Perspective Wall
Visual SiteMap
VR Vibe
Information Cube
Graph Visualizer 3D
Project X

Some more descriptions are available in English at






Aurora SiteMap


File System Navigator

FSN download :

Hyperbolische Räume

InXight WebSite :

Perspective Wall




TreeMap :



Visual SiteMap









VR Vibe



Homepage :


Homepage :

Information Cube

Information Cube-Homepage:

Graph Visualizer 3D

Graph Visualizer 3D-Homepage :



Project X






DIVE-Homepage :










Slide 16 : 16 / 1 : Tools

The tools... that we will not be learning

Paint and Imaging packages

Adobe Photoshop, Macromedia Fireworks, Flame (Video painting)...

CAD packages


Rendering packages

Lightscape, Lightwave, Maya, PovRay, Carrara - MetaCreations ...

Lightscape : Radiosity (Vs Ray Tracing)

Modeling packages

3D Studio MAX, Maya, Softimage

Animation packages

Digimation, Marionette, Maya,

Graphics Modeling and Languages


Scientifics visualisation

IDL, Mapple

Graphics APIs

OpenGL, OpenInventor, VRML, Java3D


TDI Explore / Alias Wavefront / SGI ... Maya

Palmarès Prix Pixel-INA 2000

Slide 17 : 17 / 1 : Some Demos

Some Demos

MacOSX Interface


EarthBrowser is an easy and intuitive program to let you get a “hands on” experience of our earth. Current weather conditions and forecasts, real-time earthquake notifications, current cloud cover and webcam images from around the globe make EarthBrowser more than just a 3-D model. The constantly changing information in EarthBrowser makes it a unique tool showing that the earth is truly alive.


Explore vast geometric worlds inhabited with beautiful shapes in constant motion. Your tranquility experience is customized by our TQworld net-servers creating thousands of visual and audio elements. No two games are the same, and all games are designed to fit your playing style. As it is in real life, achieving tranquility is a challenge. You’ll need to use your mind, your heart and soul to navigate the game, but you’ll be rewarded with a calming sensation that lasts long after you play.


File system browser that utilizes three dimensions to view directory hierarchies. It supports a full range of file system actions, such as copying, labeling, creating new folders, and ejecting disks.3DOSX was developed using Cocoa and Carbon routines to gain access to the file system, and OpenGL for display. The “cool” part of 3DOSX is the new paradigm of computing interfaces that it represents. While there is admittedly a ways to go before 3DOSX becomes as quick and clean as the current Finder in terms of workflow efficiency, we feel that the user experience will in time lead to a better way of interacting with files. A lot of what 3DOSX is based upon could be called “eye-candy”, but one must explore the program’s features to truly appreciate what it can do for the average user. 3DOSX is the first, the only 3D filesystem browser that doesn’t suck.

Atom in a Box

Atom in a Box is an application that aids in visualizing the Hydrogenic atomic orbitals, a prime and otherwise unwieldy example of quantum mechanics. Unlike other tools in this category, this program raytraces through a three-dimensional cloud density that represents the wavefunction’s probability density and presents its results in real-time (over 48 frames per second on the latest hardware).