Physics 127

Physics for Computer Graphics and Animation

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  1. Homework Assignments 1-3
  2. Homework Assignment 4  - Due February 3, 2009
  3. Homework Assignment 5 - Due February 5, 2009
  4. Homework Assignment 6 Due February 12, 2009
  5. Homework Assignment 7 Due February 19
  6. Homework Assignment 9 Due March 26, 2009 (what happened to 8?)
  7. Homework Assignment 10 Due March 26, 2009
  8. Blender Assignment 3 Due Thursday April 2, 2009
  9. Bonus HW - 2 questions 20 points each.  One on blender and one Pencil and Paper.  Due Thursday April 2, 2009
  10. Homework Assignment 11 Due Tuesday April 21
  11. Homework Assignment 12 Due Thursday April 23

Final Project Guidelines

Exam 1 Part I - Due February 17, 2009

Sample exam 1

Sample exam 2

In Class Tutorials

Blender Tutorials

  1. Learning to use Blender - part 1


  1. Introduction
  2. What is Science?
  3. Color Mixing

Course Description

A study of the physics of light and its interactions with objects, Newtonian mechanics and an introduction to biomechanics as these topics apply to 3D computer graphics and computer animations.  The course will investigate these phenomena through use of 3D graphics programs.  In particular animation will be explored to understand how to make animations that look and feel correct.

Detailed Description

This course is for the student who is interested in computer graphics and computer animation.  Computer graphics calculate the visual effects by application of the physics of light and the physics of the interaction of light with different surfaces in a process called ray-tracing.  These types of programs are simulations of the behavior of light and its interaction with surfaces. 

 In animation, the motion of objects is often a model of real world motion.  Physics describes this motion.  To achieve good results in animation, it is necessary to understand how objects move.  In the creation of characters, it is important to understand how biological creatures move – a topic that is best explored through physics.  In addition, the computer graphics software often does not take into account all of the effects of which we as observers may visually notice and be taken as flaws in the images produced.  There are often ways to correct these “flaws” that require an understanding of what you are really seeing!

The physics inside Computer Graphics and Animation will start by exploring the nature of light, and its interactions with materials and color theory. These topics will be introduced with direct simulation using a “ray-tracing” software package.  Topics explored will include color theory (subtractive and additive), reflection, refraction, optics (lenses and mirrors), shadows, and physical optics. 


The software that is used for the computer graphics simulations is a free package known as Blender.  This is a very powerful piece of software that can be downloaded and installed on your own computer.  Blender is available from  The current version is 2.48. 


There are tutorials available on

There is a wiki manual at

More tutorial links will be posted.