Course Title: Design animation and digital visual effects

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2013

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: Andrew Harrison
Phone: 99254815

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
19 Participate in the initial and ongoing evaluation of design specifications
20 Negotiate and agree to additions or modifications and amend design specifications as required.
21 Clarify the ongoing role of the designer during the production phase and in the evaluation of the final animations or digital visual effects.
22 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

Learning activities will take place in a studio, computer lab or classroom using industry standard tools and resources. You will complete exercises and industry style projects. You will also be required to undertake independent study.

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
• group 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

Overview of course resources, assessment and course expectations. Introduction to After Effects. Demonstration and discussion of the interface and effects tools available in After Effects. Includes class exercises and discussion

Summative Task: Assessment guide handed out




2Revision from week 1
Developing ideas and clarifying production documentation. Animation and digital effects using After Effects. Text, type, shapes, masks and solids. Simulating 3D
Includes class exercises and discussion
Summative Task: Preproduction documentation guide handed out1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10,12,13,15,17,18,22
3Revision from week 2
Understanding Pre-composing, Alpha channels, Masks, Mattes and blend modes in After Effects. Introduction to time-remapping.
Includes class exercises and discussion
4Revision of weeks 1 to 3
Practical Assessment – Formative Task 1
 Formative Task 11,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10, 11,12,13,14,15,16, 18,19,22
5Revision from week 4
Keying Part 1 – Introduction to Keylight. Matte’s, Masking and Alpha Channels. Introduction to Colour correcting and grading. Introduction to stop motion animation.
Includes class exercises and discussion
6Revision from week 5
Keying Part 2 – Keylight, Mattes, Layers and Colour Correction.
Includes class exercises and discussion
 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10, 11,12,13,15,17,18,22
7Revision from week 6
Animating masks, rotoscoping (roto-brush), Paint and Retouching (Eraser Tool).
Includes class exercises and discussion
 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10, 11,12,13,15,17,18,22
8Revision from week 7
Motion Tracking – Point based and Warp Stabilization. Rolling Shutter tool, Puppet tool. Introduction to 3D.
Includes class exercises and discussion
Summative task: Assign production groups1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10, 11,12,13,15,17,18,22
9Revision from week 8
3D layers – camera and lighting.
Includes class exercises and discussion
 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10, 11,12,13,15,17,18,22
10Revision of weeks 5 to 9
Practical Assessment – Formative Task 2
 Formative Task 21,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10, 11,12,13,14,15,16, 18,19,22
11Analyse the pre-Visualisation of different genres (composition, lighting, framing, mise en scene and movement), breaking down a script, analysing FX requirements and digital storyboarding. Summative task1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17
12Present designs and documents for animation and visual effects task. Submit an outline specifying the aims and possible outcomes of the animation and visual effects experimentation.Summative task: Presentations Due
Pre-visualisation Due
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17
13Production for VFX project. Acquire and create footage and images to proceed with experimentation. Summative task1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17
14Analyse raw materials and discuss approach to post production and visual effects experimentation with VFX supervisor. Begin experimentation. Keep records of steps taken during experimentation and analyse results for each experiment.Summative task: Feedback Session 11,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17,18,19,20,21,22
15Continue experimentation. Keep records of steps taken during experimentation and analyse results for each experiment. Isolate the most and least successful experiments and discuss findings with peers and supervisor.Summative task: Feedback Session 21,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17,18,19,20,21,22
16Focus on most successful experiment and continue VFX refining task til completion. Submit experimentation and recorded analysis of VFX at the end of the sessionSubmit Summative task1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16, 17,18,19,20,21,22

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 will require a personal hard drive to store class materials and exercises.
• Portable Hard Drive – Firewire 800
• USB Stick or passport drive
• HDV/DV Tapes
• SDHC Cards

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems and access to specialised facilities and relevant software. You will also have access of the library resources.

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

Assessment tasks in this course are either formative or summative. Formative tasks provide the basis for ongoing feedback and can be considered as essential building blocks for the more substantial summative assessment tasks.
Formative Assessment Task 1 must be completed to a competent standard before you can attempt Formative Assessment Task 2. You cannot proceed to the summative assessment until both formative assessments have been completed to a competent standard.
Formative and Summative assessment tasks must be completed during scheduled class time as observation of your practical skills and knowledge by the tutor is an integral part of assessment.
Summative assessment tasks in this unit are graded.
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 assessments and a grade for the summative assessment.

Formative Assessment
1. Animation and Visual Effects motion tracking, masking and titling group task.

Due week 4 of Semester 1

2. Animation and Visual Effects keying, matteing, masking and colour effects group task.

Due week 10 of Semester 1

Summative Assessment
1. Animation and Visual Effects single narrative scene group exercise.

- Pre-visualization and presentation due week 12 of Semester 1
- Draft version 1 due week 14 of Semester 1
- Draft version 2 due week 15 of Semester 1
- Final project due week 16 of Semester 1

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

Grades used in this unit are as follows:
The following grades are applicable to Summative assessment tasks and apply to courses delivered in accordance with competency-based assessment, but which also use graded assessment:

CHD Competent with High Distinction
CDI Competent with Distinction
CC Competent with Credit
CAG Competency Achieved - Graded
NYC Not Yet Competent
DNS Did Not Submit for Assessment

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

The major learning experience involves studio based exercises, demonstration and production. It is strongly advised that students attend all sessions in order to engage in the required learning activities, ensuring the maximum opportunity to gain the competency.

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

Student Progress
Monitoring academic progress is an important enabling and proactive strategy to assist you to achieve your learning potential.
Student progress policy

Special consideration Policy (Late Submissions)
All assessment tasks are required to be completed to a satisfactory level. If you are unable to complete any piece of assessment by the due date, you will need to apply for an extension.
Special consideration appeals and discipline

Cover Sheet for Submissions
You must complete a submission cover sheet for every piece of submitted work. This signed sheet acknowledges that you are aware of the plagiarism implications.

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 go to Academic Integrity

Course Overview: Access Course Overview