Course Title: Design animation and digital visual effects

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: COSC5381C

Course Title: Design animation and digital visual effects

School: 345T Media and Communication

Campus: City Campus

Program: C6087 - Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media

Course Contact : Program Administration

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 4815

Course Contact

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Teacher: Trewlea Peters
Phone: 99258011

Nominal Hours: 80

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 covers the skills and knowledge required to design animation and digital visual effects for screen productions.

Designers who specialise in animation or visual effects apply the skills and knowledge described in this unit. They work closely with people such as directors or producers to prepare design specifications for animation or visual effects for projects, which range in scope from television commercials to aspects of feature films, an entire animated film or interactive games.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

CUFANM503A Design animation and digital visual effects


1 Clarify design Requirements

Performance Criteria:

With reference to production documentation identify the scope of design projects
Identify factors that may have an impact on the design process
Participate in preliminary concept meetings to clarify understanding of design requirements
With reference to production documentation, itemise elements that need to be addressed during the design phase


2 Generate and assess ideas.

Performance Criteria:

Generate a range of design ideas that respond sympathetically to the brief and provide creative solutions to design issues
Assess ideas and collaborate, as required, with relevant personnel to maximise contribution of ideas to initial concepts
Continuously reflect on and appraise ideas for implications on cost, technical feasibility, and creative requirements


3 Conduct research and experimentation.

Performance Criteria:

Research aspects of content and target audience characteristics that might influence production styles and techniques
Trial various techniques to test the suitability of their use in given design projects
Organise research and experimentation material for ease of access by relevant personnel during the design development process
Analyse and document research and experimentation findings for use during the design phase


4 Produce draft design specifications

Performance Criteria:

In consultation with relevant personnel, evaluate initial concept ideas in light of research and experimentation findings and select the most appropriate approach
Ensure that agreement is reached with relevant personnel on a consistent interpretation of design and visual details
Create storyboards as required
Prepare or supervise the preparation of sample material to be included in design specifications as required
Write draft design specifications to include relevant advice to design and development teams
Discuss draft design specifications with relevant personnel to ensure that all requirements have been addressed


5 Finalise design specifications.

Performance Criteria:

Present draft design specifications to relevant personnel for review
5.2 Participate in the initial and ongoing evaluation of design specifications
5.3 Negotiate and agree to additions or modifications and amend design specifications as required.
5.4 Clarify the ongoing role of the designer during the production phase and in the evaluation of the final animations or digital visual effects.
5.5 Review process of designing animation and digital visual effects and note areas for future improvement.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to undertake design specifications for animation and digital visual effects.

Details of Learning Activities

In-class learning activities include, but are not limited to:
• demonstration and practical application
• lab work
• peer teaching and class presentations
• group discussion
• online research
• independent project based work
• teacher directed group activities/projects
• workshopping of students’ own projects

Out-of-class activities include, but are not limited to,
• online research
• work shopping
• independent project based work

Teaching Schedule

Please 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.

WeekClass ContentExercisesElements
1 Overview of After Effects. Demonstration and discussion of the interface and effects tools available in After Effects.  2,3.
2 Introduction to Photoshop and using Photoshop with After Effects.  2,3.
3 Visual storytelling. Breaking down a script, analysing FX requirements and digital storyboarding. Analysing realism, pre-visualising lighting, framing, mise en scene and movement.Ass.1
4 Brief history of animation. Animating in Photoshop and AE. Receive brief for animation and keying task.  1,2,3.
5 Understanding Alpha channels, Masks, Mattes and blend modes in AE. Present designs and documents for animation and keying task. Ass. 2
6 Keying – matching lighting, framing and colour on a green screen studio production. Ass. 2
7 Creating stop motion animation. Ass. 2
8 Keying and Colour correction in AE. Using Keylight, Chroma keying and advanced colour correction in After Effects. Ass. 2
9 Animating masks, effects and Motion Tracking.  2,3.
10Manipulating time, layer effects and working in basic 3D layers. Basic rotoscoping and using the clone tool.  2,3.
11 Advanced pre visualisation and analysis of a brief in a visual effects team. Ass. 3
12 Production for VFX project Ass. 3
13 Production for VFX project Ass. 3
14 Analyse raw materials as an effects team and discuss approach to post production and visual effects for major project. Begin developing project in class. Ass. 3
15 Independently focus on FX Production roles to develop the finished VFX project. Ass. 3
16 Composite and refine effects and fine tune major project. Submit Ass. 3 1,2,3,4,5.

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Resources provided in class


You are advised to look at the course Blackboard site for ongoing updated information.

Other Resources

You require a personal hard drive to store class materials and exercises.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course is ongoing throughout the semester.

Your knowledge of course content is assessed through the application of learned skills and insights to your projects and through:
• evaluation of material created by the candidate
• direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence
• observation of the candidate compositing material for visual effects
• written or verbal questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required skills and knowledge section of this unit.

Assessment Tasks

To demonstrate competency in this course, you will need to complete the following pieces of assessment to a satisfactory standard. You will receive feedback on all assessment.
Assignment 1 - 10%
Pre-visualising production with effects.
Assignment 2 - 40%
Stop Motion and keying group assignment.
Assignment 3 - 50%
Visual effects production. Pre-visualisation through to complete visual effects production.

For further information on the grading system and criteria used, please refer to the course blackboard site.

Grades used in this unit are as follows:

80 – 100% HD High Distinction
70 – 79% DI Distinction
60 – 69% CR Credit
50 – 59% PA Pass
Under 50% NN Fail

Assessment Matrix

The assessment matrix demonstrated alignment of assessment tasks with the relevant Unit of Competency. These are available through the course contact in Program administration

Other Information

You will receive verbal and written feedback by teacher on your work. This feedback also includes suggestions on how you can proceed to the next stage of developing your projects.

Late Submissions
Please refer to the course blackboard site for policy information including information on late submissions and plagiarism

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

Course Overview: Access Course Overview