Spring 2021 - IAT 455 D100

Computational Media (3)

Class Number: 6815

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 60 units, including IAT 265 and MACM 101. Recommended: MATH 151 or equivalent.



The representation of media is introduced: specifically one dimensional (sound), two dimensional (images) and three dimensional (moving images). This course focuses on techniques and methods for creating digital video special effects, allowing students to explore their creativity while extending their graphics and programming skills in digital media. Computational techniques based on signal processing are developed that support the creation, manipulation, combination, transformation, compression, storage and display/performance of different media forms. An important aspect is representation in the temporal/spatial vs. the frequency domain and different transformation techniques. Students will be required to generate special effects, critique and analyze effects from movies, develop skills and abilities to manipulate digital video and audio, and implement their own algorithms to express their technical and artistic skills.


The course will present:   

An introduction to computational media.    
The representation of media.      
Fundamentals of digital media processing.
The creation, manipulation, combination, transformation, compression and storage of different media forms.  
Filtering media
Time and temporal manipulations   
Layers, compositing, chroma and other keys   
Image based rendering


After completing this course, students will be able to:
·         Understand the representation of media forms (image, sound, video)
·         Be able to use digital signal processing techniques to create and manipulate media signals
·         Understand the underlying principles of compression techniques for image, and video data.
·         Develop skills and abilities to manipulate digital video and audio, and implement their own algorithms to express their technical and artistic skills.


  • Individual Assignments 20%
  • Midterm Exam 1 (week 6) 25%
  • Midterm Exam 2 (end of course) 25%
  • Participation, workshop tasks, in-class quizzes 10%
  • Course Project 20%


Learning Activities: The course's learning activities include:
·      weekly lectures
·      course readings (textbook, electronic resources, research papers)
·      in-class workshop activities
·      assignments consisting of application of learned theory, problem solving and independent reading activities and research
·      programming project



“The Art and Science of Digital Compositing:  Techniques for Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics” (2008) by Ron Brinkman; 2nd Edition; Morgan Kaufmann
ISBN: 9780123706386

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).