This chapter is designed to be a tutorial on computer graphics techniques, which are the core building blocks for scientific visualization.

First we give an introduction to color models because they are key to a robust visualization. Next is a section describing key elements of the graphics pipeline. This section describes the transformations needed to convert a 3D triangle mesh to 2D pixels on the screen, resulting in the desired orientation and giving a 3D appearance. To give the mesh more realism, we apply an illumination model. Three techniques are described: local illumination, which can be computed in real time; global illumination, which generally is not computed in real time but results in more realistic rendering than local methods; and nonphotorealistic rendering (illumination), which simulates methods such as cartoon or hand-drawn renderings. Texture mapping is introduced next as a method to create complexity in an image without the expense of geometric complexity. Underlying the entire visualization process are the methods of sampling, smoothing, and reduction. These concepts are introduced in the last section.