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Free course (MOOC): Interactive 3D Graphics

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#1 Eric Haines   Members   


Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:03 AM


I wanted to point out a free massive open online course (MOOC) I've been working on the past half year (happily, my full-time job until April): Interactive 3D Graphics, run by Udacity. I thought it would be useful to beginners, so here goes.


Elevator summary: it's based on three.js, which in turn calls WebGL. The focus of the course is teaching a firm foundation in the basic principles and practices in real-time rendering (and a bit of animation). three.js is a good aid for this goal, but is not the point of the course. Units are self-paced, and are a mix of short YouTube lectures, demos, questions, and in-browser programming exercises. The course time commitment is probably equivalent to perhaps 8 weeks of college work, but you can skip lessons if you already know the area. It's free, so it's easy to sign up; 19,000 people have signed up so far, I expect about 10% to finish.


Some other features: the first half of the course is out, the second half will launch on May 1; all the course materials and code are online for download; there's a contest for people who want to work on further projects.



Edited by Eric Haines, 21 March 2013 - 07:29 AM.

#2 InvalidPointer   Members   

Posted 21 March 2013 - 10:16 AM

Just as a pro tip, this is the kindly gentleman that runs the Real-Time Rendering blog and literally wrote the book (with some other people too) on the subject.

clb: At the end of 2012, the positions of jupiter, saturn, mercury, and deimos are aligned so as to cause a denormalized flush-to-zero bug when computing earth's gravitational force, slinging it to the sun.

#3 Aldacron   GDNet+   

Posted 22 March 2013 - 04:27 AM

I'd like to pipe in with a recommendation for this course. I've been going through the material and, IMO, it's a solid introduction to the topic. I wish something like this had been around when I first dove into 3D years ago. Anyone just starting out or who hasn't quite grasped 3D graphics yet would surely benefit from going through these lessons.

#4 erich   Members   


Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:06 AM

The second half of this free course is now out. The best part of the course, to me (I'm the instructor), is there's a nice long section on shader programming. Exercises include making a toon shader and an anisotropic material shader. I'm also happy with the animation section, as it gives some good grounding and code samples for using keyframing, quaternions, and other elements of three.js that are not well-documented.

What I like about this course's structure is that you can jump around, depending on your interests. Unlike many online courses, you can start this one anytime and take it at your own pace. There's nothing forcing you to do the lessons in order, and each individual video is just a few minutes long so it's easy to go learn just what you want to know. All the videos, code, and course scripts are downloadable - the course scripts alone add up to 850 pages.

#5 shadowisadog   Members   

Posted 19 May 2013 - 09:22 PM

Thank you for making this course available! I have done some 3d programming in the past but I am definitely going to be checking this course out :) .

#6 booomji   Members   


Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:51 AM

Erich Christmas arrived early for me.


I thank you and Autodesk profusely for putting this resource out there. It's super useful and digestible for meat heads like me. 

The download links will make the learning very productive.




#7 Josh Petrie   Moderators   

Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:02 PM

Moving to YA.

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