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OPEN END ACTIVITY (OEA): AN EXPERIENCE IN

COMPUTER GRAPHICS LABORATORY


Meenaxi M. Raikar, Shantala G. Giraddi, Jayalaxmi G. Naragund
BVBCET, Vidyanagar, Hubli

mmraikar@bvb.edu, shantala@bvb.edu, jaya_gn@bvb.edu

Abstract. The paper discusses the Open End Activity (OEA) initiated in the
Computer Graphics Laboratory course. The course includes assignments on basic concepts such as 2D/3D object creation, clipping, transformation and openended experiments. The open end means no protocols to execute the task. The
students are given the openness to choose the problem statement in Computer
Graphics area. The different areas in which the open ended experiments explored are gaming, simulation and animation, such as car race game, story animation and wireless network simulation. OEA is used to conduct open ended
experiments. It is a group activity, which is carried out by different teams. The
activity is conducted in four different phases such as problem identification, design, implementation and uploading video to internet. The rubric based assessment is followed to evaluate the open-ended activity. OpenGL, an open source
library is used for the implementation of the assignments/open-end experiments.
The OEA induces the students to develop problem identification, problem solving skills, independent & creative thinking, willingness to explore new ideas,
self-learning and team work experiences. The authors observations indicates
that the open ended experiments achieve a, c, g and k Program Outcomes (POs)
of ABET. The results show that the average attainment of these POs is 7.6 on
the scale of 10.

Keywords. Open ended experiment, Texture mapping, OpenGL, animation.

INTRODUCTION

Now a day, the educationalists have begun to question the traditional, or cookbook, method of learning in the engineering field. The traditional laboratory (lab)
activities are characterized by high degree of memorization. The students in these labs
retain little of what they learn and have difficulty in applying what they know. To
overcome the drawback of traditional rote learning, the authors explore activity based
learning in the computer graphics lab [8].

Computer Graphics (CG) is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing fields in
computer science. It has become common element in user interfaces, virtual reality,
data visualization, television commercials, motion pictures, medical field, fine arts,
and many other applications. The CG applications have changed the way of using
technology by the society. Computer gaming industry is one of the major industry that
depends on CG and currently its annual turn over is an order of magnitude greater
than the whole of the film industry [5]. The user interface based on CG has contributed tremendously for the growth of computer industry. Hence CG is one of the
important courses in Computer Science and Engineering curriculum.
The challenges in learning CG are representing real world objects or system in the
coordinate system, imagination of building the object and obtaining realistic view of
the objects. These issues encourage the authors to implement an innovative OEA.
All these activities were implemented using openGL [6], which is an open-source
library that is supported on every gaming platform including Mac, Windows, Linux
and iPhone. Popular applications which are using openGL as renderer are Adobe Photoshop CS3, 3D Studio Max, Autodesk Maya, Google Earth, SAP2000 and Scilab.
The OEA is experimented for three successive batches. The first batch uses texture
mapping and second batch applies imaging operation along with texture mapping.
Along with these concepts, third batch uses the feature of importing the 3D objects,
which are created using other tools like 3D MAX. Thus the percentage of openness is
increased in the successive batches to motivate the students.
The paper is organized in the following sections. Section 2 deals with literature
survey of conducting computer graphics lab. The proposed OEA description and implementation is discussed in section 3. The analysis of this activity is presented in
section 4. The article is concluded in section 5.

LITERATURE SURVEY

Several innovations have been tried during the recent years in teaching Computer
Graphics [9]. Some of the innovations are described in the further part of the section.
Two themes of computer graphics, namely computer-generated color and computergenerated visualization are used while teaching an interdisciplinary courseCreativity
and Technology [1]. The authors have used an educational software tool SIMBA for
teaching CG using breadth-first approach. This approach enhanced students understanding and the relevance of the topic.
In [2] the authors focus on the use of new tools to improve the learning of CG.
The authors have explored the union of two areas: the educational strategy named
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and the use of Interactive Embodied Pedagogical

Agents (IEPAs) for education and training tasks. They have explored usage of Maxine, a script-directed engine for the management and visualization of 3D virtual
worlds. The learning-process becomes highly interactive and flexible using their method.
In [3], the authors have used Microsoft XNA as a development platform to teach
CG for game development. XNA is a collection of tools from Microsoft designed to
ease the burden on game programmers by offering built-in functionality commonly
used in games. According to the authors any game programming course need to include programming, software engineering, algorithms and computer graphics. They
found that successful completion of projects increased the students confidence.
In [4], the authors explain the approach followed at the University of Lisbon for
teaching CG. The authors opine that CG is far from being restricted to 3D graphics,
no matter their increasing importance today.

PROPOSED WORK

The open ended experiments poses several challenges to the learners in identifying
problem and implementing real world scenario. However the advantages of these
experiments are multifold, such as:

Provide a forum for students to express creative ideas.


Encourage students to be open-minded when analyzing and solving most real

life engineering problems which have multiple solutions.


Give students an opportunity to work in a team environment and apply the concepts learnt in the classroom.

Thus these issues inspire the authors to conduct OEA. The further subsection discusses the objectives, implementation and assessment strategy of OEA.
3.1

Objectives of OEA

The proposed OEA is focusing on enhancing the self learning ability of the students.
The students perception about CG lab course is different from practicality. Considering these issues, authors propose OEA with following objectives:

Perform animation of the objects.


Explore texture mapping techniques to provide realistic view of the scene.
Position and orient the camera using openGL[7].
Explore the imaging operations.
Importing 3D objects from other tools like MAYA.
Improve thinking ability, communication and work together in a team.

3.2

Implementation

To prepare the students to implement open ended experiments, authors recommend


conducting some basic experiments on creation of 2D/3D graphics primitives, transformations of 2D/3D objects; apply lighting/shading effects for the objects and parallel/perspective projections. Table 1, illustrates some of the sample 2D/3D assignments
and Table 2 depicts the sample assignments on texture mapping.

2D objects
assigned

Table 1. Assignment on 2D and 3D objects creation


Implemented
3D objects
Implemented
model
assigned
model

Along with these experiments, course instructor can motivate the students to do
various assignments on these concepts. These assignments create the awareness
about the co-ordinate system in students and improve their programming skills. All
these assignments provided the platform for the students to take up the OEA.
Table 2. Assignments on texture mapping

3D
objects
assigned
for
texture mapping

Implemented
model

3D
objects
assigned
for
texture mapping

Implemented
model

The 36 batches, each batch comprising four students are involved in OEA. The
activity is conducted in four different phases such as problem identification, design,
implementation and uploading video to internet. The explanation of these phases is
given below:
In the first phase students are intimated to identify minimum three different
problem statements on various applications such as social issues, story

animation, games and computer science concepts etc. Each batch has presented
the identified problems and course instructors directed to continue with the
better one based on feasibility, innovativeness and ability of the batch.
In design phase the students are expected to show the identified 2D/3D objects,
data structures and definition of ADT (Abstract Data Type).
In the third phase students are expected to demonstrate the transformations
applied, various cameras positioning, user interface, importing objects from
other tools and basic operations of animation.
In the last phase students are supposed to show the complete implementation of
the open-ended experiments along with up-loading the video to web site like
youtube.com [12-17].
3.3

Assessment strategy

The authors have used rubric based assessment for the evaluation of OEA. The weight
age given for the lab assignment is 50% and for the OEA is 50%. The Table 3 summarizes the rubrics used for this activity. The observation is that after being aware of
the rubrics defined, the students start improving their animation models.
Table 3. Rubrics based assessment of the OEA

Problem identification phase(7M)

Design
phase (6M)

Implementation
phase I (7M)

Implementation
phase II (10M)

1. Problem
identification
(04M)
If the problem
suits
the
emerging trends
and appropriate
objects chosen
for animation
( 3 - 4M)
If the problem
suits
the
emerging trends
and
without
proper objects
chosen
for
animation
(0 - 2M)
2. Presentation
(03M)

2D/3D
object
creation
(2M)
ADT/ Data
structure
used (2M)
Animation
(2M)

Appropriate
transformation
s applied
(3M)
Camera
position
(2M)
User interface
(2M)

Texture mapping
(2M)
Lighting/shading
(2M)
Video of the
animation along
with the
explanation of the
openGL concepts
used (2M)
Uploading the
video (4M)

The effectives of the OEA activity and lab assignments are analyzed in the next
section.

RESULT ANALYSIS

The Program Outcomes (POs) enlightens the skills developed by the students in
curriculum. ABET a-k [11], specifies a to k outcomes for the program. In this section
authors narrate the outcomes achieved by OEA in teaching CG.
To perform open ended experiments student start exploring tools like Blender an
open source tool, Photoshop for editing the images, languages like C# and WebGL.
Video of the animation is created using the open source tool, Camtasia Studio. Thus
OEA induce a lot of self learning among the students.
The student performance in implementation of OEA is illustrated in Fig 1. The
score in the Fig 1 and Fig 2 are in a scale of 10. As implementation process proceeds
students are more comfortable in implementing the models. On an average more than
75% of the students successfully implemented the chosen models.
Fig. 1. Analysis of OEA implementation

Fig. 2. Attainment of POs

Table 4. Mapping of the POs

Transformation

a, c

Imaging

OEA

a, c, g, k

Texture mapping

Table 4 shows the achievement of POs through different activities conducted by


the authors in CG lab. Through the activities specified in Table 4, authors have
attempted to address ABET EC 2000 outcomes a, c, g and k. These are now
considered important outcomes of an engineering education. OEA addresses more
outcomes compare to other activities. Hence OEA helps to improve the basic concepts
of CG, designing aspects, communication skills and usage of open source tools.
The attainment of POs a, c, g and k are shown in Fig 2. The different activities
conducted by authors strongly improved the basics of CG and component design
aspects. The learning of open source tools by the students is almost 80%.
The students have developed games, Operating system concepts, Networking
scenarios, moral stories etc. The Table 5 shows screen shots of the sample
experiments conducted through OEA.

CONCLUSION

The conduction of OEA in the CG lab encourages the students to utilize higher
order thinking skills, creativity, innovation and usage of open source tools. Also
cooperative learning and teamwork are achieved through OEA. The four phases in the
implementation of OEA have helped the students to understand the goals of this
activity. An open source tool, used by the students enlightens the suitability of the
tool depending on the context. For example they find that graphical user interface
forms can be created with much ease using C# and WebGL. Thus the active learning
that happened through OEA is intrinsically motivating and engaging.
The different activities such as OEA help to achieve the POs a, c, g and k. The
analysis given by the authors depicts that effective learning of open source tools
through OEA. Application of basic concepts, formulating the problems, programming
and communication skills are also improved amongst students with OEA.

Table 5. Sample screen shots of open ended experiments

Fig. 3. Story animation using point cloud technique

Fig. 4. Handoff management, importing 3DMAX


object.

The animation of the story Hare and Tortoise is implemented as a part of the OEA. A
point cloud is used as shown in Fig 3, to
represent the object hare as well as the tortoise. The objects lane, tree, moon, mountain
and the flag are created using opengl built-in
functions. The concept of double buffering is
explored in the experiment to get smoother
animation.

The handoff management animation is


shown in the Fig 4. The car shown is a 3D
MAX object imported in openGL [10]. The
pyramid primitive is used to represent the base
station. The ground is texture mapped with the
grass image. The camera positioned could be
changed to get the aerial view of the screen.
Soft hand over and hard hand over are illustrated by animation.

Fig. 6. WBAN animation importing,.obj objects.


Fig. 5. Maze game using basic primitive spheres

The maze game is implemented using


openGL. The user has to find the path from
the start point to the end point using the arrow
as user interface. The background is collection
of spheres arranged to represent a maze. As
the user traces the path with arrow keys a red
sphere appears on the path.

The animation of the wireless body area


network is shown in Fig 6. The human in the
figure is an imported .obj file into the
openGL program. The texture mapping is
applied to represent the mobile. Tweak Bar is
used as the interface to change the attributes
like color, camera position and lighting effects.

REFERENCES

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Graphics for Games using Microsoft XNA, 2008.
4. Manuel Prspero dos Santos, Computer Graphics in the Scope of Informatics Engineering
Education, 1999.
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Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2008.
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