CSC490H1S Winter 2010:  Capstone Design course



This course gives students experience solving a substantial problem that may span several areas of Computer Science. Students will define the scope of the problem, develop a solution plan, produce a working implementation, and present their work using written, oral, and (if suitable) video reports. Class time will focus on the project, but may include some lectures. The class will be small and highly interactive.



Karan Singh (




What is special about the imagery below?




musician or girl?                  how many legs?                      horizontal lines: straight or curved?                      devil's fork


This capstone will focus on optical illusions. Students will be exposed to a wide range of optical illusions and other magical imagery. We will study some of the cognitive and perceptual principles behind such images and animations. Each student will create one or more such illusions by hand and programmatically as part of the course as well as present an analysis of the cognitive process behind the illusion.


Grading scheme:

- project sketch: 5% (due in third class)

- first prototype: 25% (due by end Feb. 2010)

- implementation and demo of project: 40% (due by early April. 2010)

- final presentation of the project: 20% (due by early April 2010)

- final report and webpage: 10% (due by early April 2010)



The class will meet once a week W 12-2 (first class in BA 2135) but usually in the Dynamic Graphics Project lab ( or as specified the week before.

There are no exams in this course.




The biggest pre-requisite for this course is a creative mind and a can-do attitude.

Understanding of basic image processing and computer graphics concepts and programming is desirable but not essential.


If you want to see the kind of stuff that students produce in this course last time check the film and film credits of the spine by Chris Landreth (NFB Canada).

A number of tools were written to help model the characters and the rendering effects you see in the film.


Enrolment limit:

The course will be limited to 20 students.

Should demand exceed available spaces, preference will be given to students who have taken two or more of the prerequisite courses, and also to those with higher grades in those courses.


Optical Illusion Links:


Testing Your Eye Health with Optical Illusions (thanks Alexa)


Class Slides


Intro (jan 6)

Gestalt and Hidden Imagery (jan 13)