Virtual Environments

Course Description

Virtual environments are objects and spaces created as models on a computer and brought to life using 3D computer graphics. The applications reach into a wide variety of fields such as computer games, television, design, virtual prototyping, training, various types of simulation, information visualization, communications, marketing etc. Advanced virtual environment techniques are presented: networked virtual environments, virtual environments on mobile platforms, virtual reality, augmented reality, special effects, acceleration methods, virtual humans. Applications of these technologies are discussed, aiming to stimulate students to think of the opportunities opened by them. The course is a continuation of the course Fundamentals of Virtual Environments, but it is expected that motivated students who did not attend this course can compensate for it by more intensive studying of the offered literature.

General Competencies

Through the theoretical and practical components of the course the students will gain knowledge and skills qualifying them for conceptual planning, design and implementation of models and applications of advanced virtual environments on various platforms, for participation in complex projects involving advanced virtual environments as well as leading smaller projects.

Learning Outcomes

  1. define the concept of virtual environment
  2. use the functions of a GPU
  3. develop solutions applying advanced virtual environments
  4. develop 3D graphics applications on various platforms
  5. apply knowledge in complex projects involving virtual environments
  6. plan and lead smaller projects

Forms of Teaching

Laboratory Work

Five lab assignments: L1 - Special effects L2 - Rendering accelleration L3 - Networked virtual environments L4 - Augmented reality L5 - Virtual characters


Interactive 3D software is used to demonstrate key concept during certain lectures.


Student project - optional. The project is implemented in groups of 2 - 6 students in general. It is expected that students independently design and implement an application in the field of virtual environments (e.g. a game, a short movie, an augmented reality experience...); the theme of the application is free. Project finishes with a presentation and demonstration of results for other students.

Grading Method

Continuous Assessment Exam
Type Threshold Percent of Grade Comment: Percent of Grade
Laboratory Exercises 0 % 20 % 0 % 20 %
Class participation 0 % 4 % 0 % 4 %
Seminar/Project 0 % 20 % 0 % 20 %
Mid Term Exam: Written 0 % 33 % 0 %
Final Exam: Written 0 % 33 %
Exam: Written 0 % 66 %

The sum of possible points is 110% in order to motivate students to do the project, while at the same time not penalizing those who do not do the project.

Week by Week Schedule

  1. Virtual Environment: introduction, definitions, virtual scene, components of the virtual scene, modeling the virtual scene.
  2. Rendering, generalized graphics rendering pipeline, programmable pipelines, introduction to special effects.
  3. Rendering special effects: generalized texture mapping, texture filtering, alpha, light, gloss, reflection and bump mapping, other texture mapping methods.
  4. Rendering special effects: fuzzy rendering effects, reflections, shadows, billboard techniques, other effects.
  5. Rendering accelleration: polygon reduction, selective culling, level of detail techniques, impostors.
  6. Rendering accelleration: optimal polygonal structures, scene organization and state changes, pipeline stages optimization.
  7. Networked virtual environments: applications, technical challenges, scalability, network connectivity architectures.
  8. Networked virtual environments: virtual space structuring, traffic types and protovols for NVEs, example NVE systems.
  9. Virtual environments on mobile platforms: applications, technical constraints, specific methods for mobile devices.
  10. Virtual reality: definition, principles, development, VR device types, input devices.
  11. Virtual reality: natural 3D vision, simulated 3D vision, visual, audio, haptic and other output devices, design and programming of VR systems.
  12. Augmented reality: definition, characteristics, applications, optical and video mixing, projection systems, comparisons of different image mixing techniques.
  13. Augmented reality: registration, tracking, registration errors, sensing, mobile augmented reality.
  14. Virtual humans: simulation of humans, applications, graphical model, modeling of the human face and body, body animation control.
  15. Virtual humans: facial animation, clothes animation, hair animation, speech synthesis and coarticulation, behavior models, international standards for virtual humans.

Study Programmes

Information Processing -> Information and Communication Technology (Profile)

Telecommunication and Informatics -> Information and Communication Technology (Profile)

Telecommunication and Informatics -> Information and Communication Technology (Profile)

Software Engineering and Information Systems -> Computing (Profile)

Computer Engineering -> Computing (Profile)

Computer Science -> Computing (Profile)


Igor S. Pandžić, Tomislav Pejša, Krešimir Matković, Hrvoje Benko, Aleksandra Čereković, Maja Matijašević (2011.), Virtualna okruženja: Interaktivna 3D grafika i njene primjene, Element Zagreb, Manualia Universitatis Studiorum Zagrabiensis
Tolga Capin, Igor S. Pandzic, Nadia Magnenat-Thalmann, Daniel Thalmann (1999.), Avatars in Networked Virtual Environments, John Wiley & Sons
Tomas Akenine-Möller, Eric Haines, Naty Hoffman (2008.), Real-Time Rendering, third edition, A.K.Peters Ltd
Igor S. Pandzic, Robert Forchheimer (editors) (2002.), MPEG-4 Facial Animation - The standard, implementations and applications, John Wiley & Sons

Grading System

L2 English Level
L1 e-Learning
30 Lecturers
0 Exercises
15 Laboratory exercises


90 Excellent
75 Very Good
65 Good
55 Acceptable