CS7029 – Visual Computing and Design

Module CodeCS7029
Module NameVisual Computing and Design
ECTS Weighting[1]10 ECTS
Semester taughtSemester 1 & 2
Module Coordinator/s  Eamonn Hall, Pisut Wisessing, John Dingliana

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • L01. Identify key formal elements in graphic design processes and practices
  • L02. Analyse graphic design and visual cultural products in an informed and structured manner
  • L03. Evaluate these products in terms of formal (i.e. functional) success and socio-cultural & technological relevance
  • L04. Identify some of the key theoretical principles, standard algorithms and data structures underlying modern graphical applications.
  • L05. Discuss how fundamental components common to all computer applications are used to produce high-level computer imagery in digital media and interactive graphical programs.
  • L06. Employ industry-standard computer-aided design software to create 3D objects and models, modify a virtual camera, animate and render images and videos of complex virtual scene.
  • L07. Write computer programs for modifying computer images and generating graphical objects in 2D and 3D
  • L08. Implement an interactive computer application, that handles input events form the user (such as mouse, keyboard input) to affect graphical output
  • L09. Implement a basic virtual reality application.

Module Content

Graphic Design (Eamonn Hall)
Information Design
Non-linguistic visual communication
Text and image interaction

Image Processing and 3D Modelling (Pisut Wisessing, John Dingliana) The objective of this module is to equip students with a fundamental understanding of the technology underlying the field of computer images and how this is applied to advanced areas such as geometric modelling, rendering and animation. The module will explore modes of input and output and the limitations and potentials of (graphical) digital media. In particular, the module gives an introduction to computer graphics and applications, how digital images are represented, manipulated, enhanced, filtered and displayed. Furthermore, the creation of 3D models and scenes, texture mapping, the use of illumination and lighting, camera modelling and animation are discussed. The second semester will extend on this knowledge by programming interactive 3D Graphics, image and video processing, procedural graphics and mixed reality. Practical components involving labs will use the following applications: Blender, Processing.

Teaching and learning Methods

Graphic design (Eamonn Hall)

Sessions will alternate between lecture/seminar and lab formats. Lectures will introduce the key issues, leading theorists and visual trends in each topic (information design, typography, text-image interaction, non-linguistic visual communication). The focus will be on teaching fundamental principles of graphic design and design thinking that can be applied in multiple contexts. Introductory instruction on core Adobe CC software (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign) will be provided.

Image Processing and 3D Modelling (Pisut Wisessing, John Dingliana)

Through discussion and practical assignments, the module provides an understanding of the production processes, complexity, tools and challenges involved in production of digital images, animations and interactive graphical experiences, including games, virtual reality and augmented reality. Semester 1 deals with 3D Graphics and Modelling and consists of one hour per week of lectures or labs. Assignments will involve creation of models, images and animations using industry standard tools, such as 3D Studio Max or Maya. Semester 2 deals with Image Processing and Interactive Graphics and consists of three hours per week of lectures and labs. Assignments will involve graphical programming using languages such as Processing.

Assessment Details

The module is assessed 100% by coursework.

Assessment ComponentBrief DescriptionLearning Outcomes Addressed% of totalWeek setWeek Due
Graphic DesignCourseworkLO1, LO2, LO333.3TBCTBC
3D ModellingPractical assignment using 3D Modelling tool and written reportL04, L05, L0616.7112
Image Processing & Interactive GraphicsSeveral short practical assignments of 1-3 weeks duration, supported by lab sessions during 2nd Semester.LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7, LO8, LO950TBCTBC

Reassessment Details

Contact Hours and Indicative Student Workload

Contact Hours (scheduled hours per student over full module), broken down by:66 hours
Semester 1: Graphic Design Lectures (Eamonn Hall)22 hours
Semester 1: Image Processing and 3D Modelling (Pisut Wisessing)11 hours
Semester 2: Image Processing and 3D Modelling (John Dingliana)33 hours
Independent study (outside scheduled contact hours), comprising:132 hours
Preparation for classes and review of material (including preparation for examination, if applicable)
Completion of assessments (including examination, if applicable)
Total Hours198 hours

Recommended Reading List

Part A : Graphic Design

  • Graphic design practice
    • Rob Carter, Meggs, et al (eds). Typographic Design: Form and Communication. 6th edn. Hoboken: John Wiley, 2015.
    • Gerstner, Karl. Designing programmes. Tiranti, 1968.
    • Lupton, Ellen. Thinking With Type. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2004.
    • Müller-Brockmann, Josef. Grid Systems in Graphic Design. Niggli Verlag, 2008.
  • Critical theory, visual studies and semiotics
    • Barthes, Roland; “Rhetoric of the Image.” Image Music Text. London: Fontana, 1987. (also in: Evans Jessica and Stuart Hall (Eds.); Visual Culture: The Reader. London: Sage 1999.)
    • Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: Penguin, 1990.
    • Benjamin, Walter. ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.’ – in Illuminations. London: Pimlico, 1999. (also in: Evans Jessica and Stuart Hall (Eds.); Visual Culture: The Reader. London: Sage, 1999.)
    • Fiske, John. Introduction to Communication Studies, 2nd edn. London: Routledge, 1990.
    • Baudrillard, Jean. The System of Objects. London: Verso 1996.
  • Design theory and criticism
    • Bierut, Michael (ed.). Looking Closer: Critical Writings on Graphic Design. London: Allworth Press, 1995.
    • Frutiger, Adrian. Type Sign Symbol. Zurich: ABC Verlag, 1980. https://monoskop.org/images/b/b6/Frutiger_Adrian_Type_Sign_Symbol.p df
    • Lupton, Ellen & Abbott Miller (Eds.); Design Writing Research. London: Phaidon Press, 1999.
    • Warde, Beatrice. ‘The Crystal Goblin’. 1932. (Heavily anthologised and easily located online).
  • Graphic design history
    • Meggs, Philip B.; A History of Graphic Design. London: John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1998.
    • Poynor, Rick. Typographica. London: Laurence King, 2001.
    • Rick Poynor, Graphic Design and Postmodernism. London: Laurence King, 2003.
    • Spencer, Herbert. Pioneers of Modern Typography. London: Lund Humphries, 1969.
  • Information Design
    • Burke, Kindel, Walker (eds). Isotype: Design and contexts 1925–1971. London: Hyphen Press, 2013.
    • Tufte, Edward R.; The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. London: Graphics Press UK, 2001.
    • Tufte, Edward R.; Envisioning Information. London: Graphics Press UK,1990.
    • Tufte, Edward R.; Visual Explanations. London: Graphics Press USA, 1997.
    • Tufte, Edward R.; Beautiful Evidence. London: Graphics Press UK, 2006.

Part B – Image Processing and 3D Modelling (Pisut Wisessing, John Dingliana):
The module is not based on a single textbook. The following are recommended readings. Note that the texts are somewhat overlapped in scope.

  • The Computer in the Visual Arts. Anne Morgan Spalter.
  • CG101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference. Terrence Masson, (2007).
  • Computer Graphics: Principals and Practice (3rd Edition), J. F. Hughes, A. van Dam, M. McGuire, D. F. Sklar, J. D. Foley, Steven K. Feiner, K. Akeley. Addision Wesley Professional (2013)
  • The Computer Image, A. Watt and F. Policarpo. Addison Wesley, (1998).
  • Learning Processing, Second Edition: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction. Daniel Shiffman. Morgan Kaufmann (2015).
  • Processing: An Introduction to Programming. Jeffrey L. Nyhoff, Larry R. Nyhoff. CRC Press (2017).
  • Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists – C. Reas and B. Fry
  • Processing: Creative Coding and Computational Art – I. Greenberg

The following are roughly equivalent alternatives in case they are easier to get a hold of in the library:

  • Computer Graphics with OpenGL (3rd Edition), D. Hearn and M. P. Baker.
  • Interactive Computer Graphics: A Top-Down Approach using OpenGL (4th Edition), Edward Angel.
  • Computer Graphics Using Open GL (2nd Edition), Francis S. Hill.
  • Computer Graphics: Theory Into Practice. Jeffrey J. McConnell.
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics, J. D. Foley, A. van Dam, S. K. Feiner, J. F. Hughes, R. L. Phillips.
  • Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice in C (2nd Edition), J. D. Foley, A. van Dam, S. K. Feiner, J. F. Hughes.Computer Graphics: Principles and
  • Practice in C (2nd Edition), J. D. Foley, A. van Dam, S. K. Feiner, J. F. Hughes.

Module Pre-requisites

Prerequisite modules: n/a

Other/alternative non-module prerequisites: n/a

Module Co-requisites

Students should have some basic familiarity with programming before commencing with the 2nd Semester of this module. Having attended the CS7025 module in Semester 1 should be sufficient to satisfy this requirement.

Module Website