Michael Reed

Sep 2017

I don't know why there hasn't been a review of this yet! This class (taken Fall 2016) is an amazing class, and Professor Reed is -the- man to take it with. He's extremely nice, funny, and accommodating. The lectures move at an easy but reasonable speed, and the professor takes the time to provide intuition for and break down all the math and algorithms (if the diagrams in the slides weren't already good enough). At the end of some classes, we even watched some funny old shorts that showcased whatever concept we learned that week and that led into a bit of the interesting history in graphics. There were plenty of resources available - all the TAs were super helpful in office hours and on Piazza too. The class is also well-paced in that the amount of work is relatively light throughout the entire semester, though we still somehow went through a lot of content. We go through things like colour theory, lighting models, basic algorithms for geometry (ray-object collisions), and their application to ray-tracing and pipeline rendering, interspersed with some short review o graphics-related linear algebra. Once the basic rendering process is down, we also get into optimization through special data structures, and sampling methods. By the end, we will have made a few interactive animations in OpenGL and a full-featured ray tracer. Each assignment builds slightly on top of the previous--so you need to know be willing to organize and architect your code a little (though he goes over this too). I definitely felt giddy and proud of myself after reaching each milestone, as the images my program could generate looked more and more awesome and expressive.

Aug 2012

A really interesting computer graphics class with an amazing professor. In this class, we are given a glimpse to the realm of geometry modeling and geometry processing. As we live in the age that artists and product designers utilize 3D software such as Rhino or Maya or ZBrush, to digitally model their products before actualization into tangible objects, or to model cartoon characters that would appear in animated films, this class provides a great introduction into the technical aspects of how these 3D softwares work or should work. We study the fundamentals down to the level of so-called NURBS curves and surfaces, geometry processing performed on triangle meshes, and subdivision surfaces -- each with extensive mathematical backgrounds that consider how these structures give artists and manufacturers computational advantages such as desired degree of smoothness no matter what shape of the curves/surfaces are formed. It is a really fun experience to learn how design softwares are actually made of, and we also had a guest speaker from the industry to discuss how he actually uses the software to design real-world products. So the class covers mainly three parts: the fundamentals of B-Spline curves and surfaces (as well as NURBS and Rational form), geometry processing (in particular, mesh data structures and mesh simplification algorithms), and Subdivision surfaces (e.g., Catmull-Clark). Each topic has extensive assignments associated with it to help us see how things are implemented. Some are really challenging, but Prof. Reed would give us extensions if needed. So we always have time to refine our assignments as possible. I'd say I'm very proud of the code I have done for this class, since they never look like a mess compared to other classes that I sometimes rush things through just to make it work. It's so organized, and beautiful. Speaking of the professor, he is probably one of the best professors I've had for Computer Science class, personality-wise. He really took time to answer individual emails and discussion threads. He modified his assignments plan as the semester went, so we were given more challenging works since we did well as a class on the first few assignments, which helped me to learn even more. He was very approachable during his office hours or after class. So in a sense, you never feel isolated or helpless in this class. The only caveat is that his lectures sometimes may be a bit dry, but bare with them, and you will go a long way. So, even with a slight interest in computer graphics in general, I'd recommend you to come and take the class, and you will be amazed how much you learn and have fun at the end.

May 2004

Prof Reed is an excellent teacher. He is well prepared for class and knows his material very well. He is especially helpful during office hours. His is not a hard professor to get a hold of because he constantly checks his e-mails (and replies to any questions one might have) and gives you his cell phone to call if necessary. The course covers curves and surfaces. He covers bezier and b-spline curves. He also gives lots of examples in class and goes over it in detail. There isn't any trick for the midterm and final and tells you what to study. In all, I learned quite a bit about curves/ surfaces and feel that professor is a terrific teacher!