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Department of Informatics Visualization and Multimedia Lab


HS15: Seminar in Graphics and Multimedia (BINFS130, MMINFS530)


Lecturer: Dr. Markus Billeter, Prof. Dr. Renato Pajarola
Time: Seminar kick-off meeting: Tuesday 2015-09-22, 16:00 to 17:00.
Location: BIN 2.A.01
Language: English
OLAT: OLAT course link
Course catalogue: BSc course link, MSc course link


Interactive multimedia, 3D graphics and visualization methods are becoming increasingly important in a wide range of application domains including but not limited to product marketing, entertainment, engineering as well as sciences. In this seminar, we study technologies, methods and use of graphics and visualization methods, comparing and analyzing their algorithms, system implementation and application in software products.

Good knowledge of programming, advanced algorithms and data structures is necessary. Knowledge of fundamental principles in one or more areas of computer graphics, scientific visualization, image processing, computer vision, multimedia is required. Strong computer science and mathematical skills are beneficial.

The seminar targets MSc students and BSc students in advanced semesters.

Current Theme

This semester's topics revolve around Modern Real-Time Shading and Rendering Methods, i.e. modern graphics techniques that are deployed in recent and current games and perhaps other modern visualization software.

Completion Requirements

Successful completion of the seminar requires the following:

  • locating, independently, six or more additional references
  • a written report
  • a presentation of the report
  • participation in seminar discussions
  • reviewing of other participants' reports (MSc only)

Note: There is no requirement for you to implement the method yourself.

Source references must include at least four technical papers. The remaining references may be selected from conference presentations (e.g., course materials that do not have an associated technical paper), book articles, online tutorials and (if available) well-written, in-depth technical blog-posts etc.


  • List of additional references and literature
  • Outline of report
  • Preliminary report
  • Questions from report reviews (MSc only)
  • Presentation
  • Final report & presentation materials

Written Report

The written report is expected to include summaries of the related works and your own technical analysis of the material. The report is expected to be around six (6) to ten (10) pages in a given format (SIGGRAPH Content Formatting). It is heavily recommended that you use the provided LaTeX template, but you are free to use any other application, as long as you provide a final PDF that matches the formatting of the SIGGRAPH template.

Close attention must be paid to proper structure and formatting of the report. Using the appropriate style, placement of figures and tables, as well as correct references and citations is a must.

The report should introduce the technique and provide motivation for its use. You should then precisely state the problem the techniques are attempting to solve, followed by a summary and comparison of each of the methods the different references provide. Finally, conclude with a discussion of the techniques and the individual method's limitations and open problems.

(More details will be provided later.)


The seminar presentation includes a talk (~20min), followed by a moderated discussion (5-10min) of your presentation and the topic. Attendance and active participation in seminar presentations and discussions of other students is also required.

You will need to hand in your presentation materials (PDF).

Again, close attention must be paid to the structure of the presentation, which should include a short introduction and motivation of the topic, a precise statement of the problem, a detailed analysis of the methods, a summary of the results and a personal conclusion with discussion of open problems, limitations and ideas.

It is strongly recommended that you rehearse your presentation beforehand and review the presentation file with the seminar assistant.


The following list contains a list of suggested topics. Each topic includes a link to one technical paper, plus one additional technical paper, article or tutorial. These are provided to you as a starting point for your research into the topic. For some topics, we provide a number of additional keywords that you should look for. Whenever possible, try to find some more recent works on the topics!

You are free to find a different topic that fits the overall theme of this year's seminars yourself, however, you need to make sure that you can find a sufficient number of reference materials (including at least four technical papers).

Suggested Topics

  • Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion
    • "Hardware Accelerated Ambient Occlusion Techniques on GPUs";
      Shanmugam & Arikan, 2007 (I3D 07: Proceedings of the 2007 Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games)
    • "Adaptively Layered Statistical Volumetric Obscurance";
      Hendrickx, Scandolo, Eisemann & Eisemann, 2015 (High Performance Graphics)
    • "The Alchemy Screen-Space Ambient Obscurance Algorithm";
      McGuire, Osman, Bukowski, Hennessy, 2011 (High Performance Graphics)
    • Additional Keywords: Ambient Obscurance, Volumetric Obscurance
  • Deferred Shading
    • Book: "Real-Time Rendering", 3rd Edition, Chapter 7.9.2;
      Akenine-Möller, Haines & Hoffman, 2008 (A K Peters)
    • Presentation: "Deferred Shading";
      Hargreaves & Harris, 2004 (NVIDIA Developer Conference)
    • "Tiled Shading";
      Olsson & Assarsson, 2011 (JGT)
    • Additional Keywords: Tiled Deferred Shading, Clustered Deferred Shading
  • Shadow Mapping (advanced techniques)
    • Book: "Real-Time Shadows";
      Eisemann, Schwarz, Assarsson & Wimmer, 2012
      (In particular, Chapter 2.2 as an introduction, and other chapters on shadow mapping as a source of other references.)
    • "Exponential Shadow Maps";
      Annen, Mertens, Seidel, Flerackers & Kautz, 2008 (Graphics Interface)
    • Whitepaper: "Cascaded Shadow Maps";
      Dimitrov, 2007 (NVIDIA Corporation)
    Note: look for specific techniques that attempt to solve one of the problems with standard shadow maps (such as aliasing or filtering). See Cascaded Shadow Maps above for an example of this (the CSM whitepaper above *does not* count as a technical paper!).
  • Real-time Anti-Aliasing Techniques
    • Book: "Real-Time Rendering", 3rd Edition, Chapter 5.6, in particular 5.6.2;
      Akenine-Möller, Haines & Hoffman, 2008 (A K Peters)
    • Course: "Filtering Approaches for Real-Time Anti-Aliasing";
      Jumenez, Gutierrez, Yang, Reshetov, Demoreuille, Berhoff, Perthius, Yu, McGuire, Lottes, Malan, Persson, Andreev, Sousa, 2011 (SIGGRAPH courses)
    • "Subpixel Reconstruction Antialiasing for Deferred Shading";
      Chajdas, McGuire, Luebke, 2011 (Interactive 3D Graphics and Games)
    • Keywords: FSAA, MSAA, CSAA, FXAA, TXAA, ... (See course page, and look for stuff that ends with __AA).
    Note: there's quite a few whitepapers and technical reports related to this topic. Try to find "real" peer-reviewed technical papers first. Nevertheless, you probably want to include something about FXAA & TXAA, since those two are quite popular at the moment.
  • Participating Medium Rendering
    • "A Survey on Participating Media Rendering Techniques";
      Cerezo, Pérez, Pueyo, Seron & Sillion, 2005 (The Visual Computer 21)
    • "Real Time Volumetric Shadows using Polygonal Light Volumes";
      Billeter, Sintorn & Assarsson, 2010 (High Performance Graphics)
    • Additional keywords: single scattering, multiple scattering
  • Hair Rendering (real-time)
    • Course material: "Advanced Techniques in Real-Time Hair Rendering and Simulation";
      Yuksel & Tariq, 2010 (SIGGRAPH Courses)
      Course Pages
    • "Hair Self Shadowing and Transparency Depth Ordering Using Occupancy maps";
      Sintorn & Assarsson, 2009 (Interactive 3D Graphics and Games)
  • Microfacet / Microflake Models
    • Book: "Real-Time Rendering", 3rd Edition, Chapter 7.5, in particular 7.5.6; Akenine-Möller, Haines & Hoffman, 2008 (A K Peters)
    • Course: "Physically Based Shading in Theory and Practice", first part (Physics and Math of Shading);
      Hoffman, 2015 (SIGGRAPH Courses)
      Course Pages
    • "Microfacet Models for Refraction through Rough Surfaces";
      Walter, Marschner, Li & Torrance, 2007 (Eurographics Symposium on Rendering)
    • Additional keywords: BRDF, GGX
    • Useful (or not) link: Specular BRDF reference
  • Bounding Volume Hierarchies
    • Book: "Real-Time Rendering", 3rd Edition, Chapter 14.1, in particular 14.1.1;
      Akenine-Möller, Haines & Hoffman, 2008 (A K Peters)
    • Book: "Geometric Data Structures for Computer Graphics", Chapter 4;
      Langetepe & Zachmann, 2006 (A K Peters)
    • "Fast BVH Construction on GPUs";
      Lauterbach, Garland, Sengupta, Luebke & Manocha, 2009 (Eurographics)
    Note: it's ok to consider non--real-time BVH-related papers too; just try to make sure that they are quite recent (2010+), and related to computer graphics.


A good starting point for finding recent publications (besides) Google are the ACM SIGGRAPH, EUROGRAPHICS, ACM SIGGRAPH Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (I3D), and High Performance Graphics conferences, along with the associated journals (ACM Transactions of Graphics, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics and Computer Graphics Forum). See Section *Links* further below for links.


LaTeX template for your report:

Specialized conferences:


Related courses with material

Other links

Otherwise, check the ACM Digital Library, where a majority of the publications are hosted. You can access content from the Digital Library from within the UZH network.

Finally, Google is your friend -- most authors put their papers online either on their personal websites or in some University provided space. Further, you might find presentation notes, sample implementations and other notes that can help understanding otherwise technically-advanced papers.