Course Title: Create digital visual effects

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2020

Course Code: VART6423C

Course Title: Create digital visual effects

School: 375T Vocational Design and Social Context

Campus: City Campus

Program: C4374 - Certificate IV in Screen and Media

Course Contact: Rowan Humphrey

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 70

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites


Course Description

This course introduces the core skills & knowledge required to create visual effects for screen industries including television & film. Whilst the majority of the course work is computer based students also conduct a studio green screen shoot.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUAANM402 Create digital visual effects


1. Clarify work requirements.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Clarify requirements for digital visual effects with reference to production documentation

1.2 Clarify workflow sequences in consultation with relevant personnel to ensure production deadlines are met

1.3 Select software that best suits the type of production and delivery platform for which visual effects sequences are being created

1.4 Gather and analyse reference material to help with visualisation of final sequences


2. Prepare components.

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Gather all assets for integration and check they are in the correct output file format and do not infringe copyright laws

2.2 Choose digital visual effects that best represent the vision of scripts to create optimum visual impact

2.3 Check components comply with storyboard requirements

2.4 Determine appropriate methods and techniques to create required digital visual effects


3. Assemble previsualisations.

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Create previsualisation of required visual effects sequences using appropriate assets and compositing techniques

3.2 Adopt safe ergonomic practices when using screens and keyboards for extended periods of time

3.3 Experiment with previsualisation to establish the best results and solve problems that arise during the process of creating the visual effects

3.4 Submit previsualisation visual effects sequences to relevant personnel for evaluation and feedback

3.5 Match elements as required, such as colour, lighting and camera


4. Produce visual effects.

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Create final visual effects

4.2 Generate additional required effects to final stage

4.3 Render visual effects to desired format

4.4 Submit visual effects sequences to relevant personnel for evaluation and feedback by agreed deadlines


5. Finalise visual effects.

Performance Criteria:

5.1 Respond to feedback by making adjustments to visual effects so they comply with design and production specifications

5.2 Save files to specified storage system accessible to production team

5.3 Make back-up copies of files, and save and store visual effects using appropriate output file formats and standard naming conventions

5.4 Review personal performance and the process of creating digital visual effects for improvement

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to create visual effects for screen industries including television & film using techniques such as:

  • colour matching
  • applying light & shadows
  • manipulating transparency
  • typography
  • animation
  • rotoscoping
  • green screen shooting & compositing

Details of Learning Activities

In class activities will include a range of teacher directed group activities, projects, class exercises, review discussions/lectures and independent project based work.

Out-of-class activities include completion of individual design and pre-production work, preparation for class presentations and location excursions/production work. Online research and occasional outside of class time group discussions will be required to maintain project work.


Teaching Schedule

 Note: While your teacher will cover all the material in this schedule, the weekly order is subject to change depending on class needs and availability of speakers and resources.


VE Week 

Class content - subject to change


Week 1


Overview of the course content, resources, assessments and course expectations

  • Introduction to After Effects – set up, interface, media files, compositions, layers, output

File, project & data management

  • Introduction to principles of compositing and visual effects
  • Introduction to animation & keyframes

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 2



  • Mattes & Alpha channels
  • Masking (Pen Tool)
  • Blending modes

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 3



  • Typesetting
  • Text animators
  • Titles & Supers

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 4


Motion Paths & 'Picture Me'

  • Motion Paths
  • 'Picture Me' image graphics

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 5


  • Practical assessment – Task 1
  • Animation & simple compositing
 Assessment task 1: Due

Week 6



  • Rotoscoping (Rotobrush & Masks)

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 7


Parenting & Time

  • Nesting
  • Parent / child relationships
  • Null objects
  • Time remapping

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 8


 Green Screen Shoot & Compositing

  • Green screen shoot
  • Chroma keying with Keylight
  • Motion tracking
  • Particles

Includes – class exercises and discussion





Mid-semester break (Easter)


Week 9



Simulating 3D

  • Create 3D environment
  • 3D text
  • Cameras
  • Lights

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 10



 Revision / Assessment Prep 

  • Revision
    • Techniques weeks 6 to 9
    • Quiz - Canvas
  • Preparation for Assessment 2

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 11


  • Practical assessment – Task 2
 Assessment task 2: Due

Week 12


Drama Titles 

  •  Opening title
    • Theme is TBC

Includes – class exercises and discussion


Week 13


Drama Titles continue

  •  Opening title
    • Theme is TBC

Includes – class exercises and discussion



Week 14


Practical assessment – Task 3

  • Pre-production documents due end of class
  • Production documents

    Includes – class exercises and discussion

    • Production briefs
    • Storyboards & Previsualisation
    • Production schedule
    • Script
    • Shot list
    • Safety reports

Assessment task 3:

Pre-production documents due

Week 15


 Practical assessment – Task 3

  • Present draft version for comment and feedback

Assessment task 3:

Draft version due

Week 16



Practical assessment – Task 3

  • Refine visual effects and prepare to finalise
  • Final render for export and submission
  • Submit final version media files, documentation and self-evaluations

Assessment task 3:

Final version due

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

You are advised to look at myRMIT for ongoing updated information.


It is recommended that you bring materials to classes to make notes, for example;

a pen and notepaper or a laptop computer. You will need to have either a USB thumb drive or a USB/Thunderbolt Harddrive (or both) to store and manage your media. Your teacher will advise you what to get when classes commence.

 The University Library has extensive resources and provides subject specialist expertise, research advice, help with referencing and support through:
The learning Lab
The Study Support Hub
English for uni workshops

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course will involve demonstration of practical tasks and testing of your knowledge.

Assessment Tasks

[Ungraded Course]

To demonstrate competency in this course you will need to complete the following assignments to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assignments and once you have demonstrated competency you will also receive a result after your final assignment.


Ungraded Assessment Tasks

  • Effects1of3: Motion paths, masking, shapes and effects. Due 13th March 2020
  • Effects2of3: Chroma keying, rotoscoping, motion tracking, colour correction, simulating 3D. Due 1st May 2020
  • Effects3of3: Conceive and construct a visual effects sequence for a tv show. Due 5th June 2020


You should refer to the assignment brief which is available on Canvas for full assessment criteria.

Results that apply to Ungraded courses that are delivered and assessed in accordance with competency-based assessment are:

CA      Competency Achieved

NYC   Not Yet Competent

DNS   Did Not Submit for Assessment

Students enrolled in Vocational Education and Training qualifications are assessed for Competency.  To be assessed competent means you have consistently demonstrated the required knowledge and skills at a standard expected in the workplace. To be assessed as Competent in this course, you will need to complete each assessment task to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback from the teacher at the conclusion of each assessment task.

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrates alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant unit of competency. These matrices are available through Program Administration.

Other Information

Please refer to the RMIT student page for extensive information about study support, assessment, extensions, appeals and a range of other matters:

Cover Sheet for Submissions:

You must complete and sign a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work, including online submissions.


Your learning experience will involve class-based teaching, discussion, demonstration and practical exercises

It is strongly advised that you attend all timetabled sessions. This will allow you to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring you the maximum opportunity to complete this course successfully.

Assessment Feedback:

You will receive spoken and written feedback on all your work.  Where relevant, this feedback will also include suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Student Progress:

Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy designed to assist you in achieving your learning potential.

Adjustments to Assessment (eg. applying for an extension of time):

If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment satisfactorily by the due date, you can choose to apply for an adjustment to your assessment. RMIT University offers a range of adjustments designed to support you in your studies, including an extension of time to complete the assessment.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism:

RMIT University has a strict policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. Please refer to the website for more information on this policy.

Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning:

Credit transfer is the recognition of previously completed formal learning (an officially accredited qualification).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that allows you to demonstrate competence using the skills you have gained through experience in the workplace, voluntary work, informal or formal training or other life experiences.

Recognition of Current Competency (RCC) RCC applies only if you have previously successfully demonstrated competence in a unit of competency, and now require to be reassessed to ensure that the competence is being maintained.

Please speak to your teacher if you wish to discuss applying for Credit Transfer, RPL, or RCC for the unit(s) of competency addressed in this course.


Course Overview: Access Course Overview