Subfields in computer graphics
Computer graphics is a sub-field of computer science which studies methods for digitally synthesizing and manipulating visual content. Although the term often refers to the study of three-dimensional computer graphics, it also encompasses two-dimensional graphics and image processing.
A modern render of the Utah teapot, an iconic model in 3D computer graphics created by Martin Newell in 1975.
Computer graphics studies the manipulation of visual and geometric information using computational techniques. It focuses on the mathematical and computational foundations of image generation and processing rather than purely aesthetic issues. Computer graphics is often differentiated from the field of visualization, although the two fields have many similarities.
Connected studies include:
Applications of computer graphics include:
One of the first displays of computer animation was Futureworld (1976), which included an animation of a human face and hand — produced by Ed Catmull and Fred Parke at the University of Utah.
There are several international conferences and journals where the most significant results in computer graphics are published. Among them are the SIGGRAPH and Eurographics conferences and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Transactions on Graphics journal. The joint Eurographics and ACM SIGGRAPH symposium series features the major venues for the more specialized sub-fields: Symposium on Geometry Processing,Symposium on Rendering, and Symposium on Computer Animation. As in the rest of computer science, conference publications in computer graphics are generally more significant than journal publications (and subsequently have lower acceptance rates).
Subfields in computer graphics
A broad classification of major subfields in computer graphics might be:
Geometry: studies ways to represent and process surfaces
Animation: studies with ways to represent and manipulate motion
Rendering: studies algorithms to reproduce light transport
Imaging: studies image acquisition or image editing
Successive approximations of a surface computed using quadric error metrics.
The subfield of geometry studies the representation of three-dimensional objects in a discrete digital setting. Because the appearance of an object depends largely on its exterior, boundary representations are most commonly used. Two dimensional surfaces are a good representation for most objects, though they may be non-manifold. Since surfaces are not finite, discrete digital approximations are used. Polygonal meshes (and to a lesser extent subdivision surfaces) are by far the most common representation, although point-based representations have become more popular recently (see for instance the Symposium on Point-Based Graphics). These representations are Lagrangian, meaning the spatial locations of the samples are independent. Recently, Eulerian surface descriptions (i.e., where spatial samples are fixed) such as level sets have been developed into a useful representation for deforming surfaces which undergo many topological changes (with fluids being the most notable example).
Implicit surface modeling - an older subfield which examines the use of algebraic surfaces, constructive solid geometry, etc., for surface representation.
Digital geometry processing - surface reconstruction, simplification, fairing, mesh repair, parameterization, remeshing, mesh generation, surface compression, and surface editing all fall under this heading.
Discrete differential geometry - a nascent field which defines geometric quantities for the discrete surfaces used in computer graphics.