Undergraduate Degree



DA9010 Composition Across Media

[Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]  




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description


Composition is the visual arrangement of the ingredients that make up an artwork. Though it sounds simple enough, composition is a complex and multifaceted concept with drastic implications for the success or failure of a creative work. To create a winning composition, a maker must consider the ways individual elements relate to each other as well as how they function in the artwork as a whole.

The famous Japanese Ukiyo-e style woodcuts are the foundation for the conversation of this course, but students will have an opportunity explore many other styles, motifs, and periods of art from around the world.  Through studio-based, hands on projects, students will design their own compositions, and compare their own personal style and taste with that of their classmates in order to get a better sense of their interests and strengths in their own discipline.  An excellent prep for storyboarding, sequential narrative, film, photo, product design, fine arts etc.

Learning Objective

To introduce students to the current and historic trends of composition design. To deliver to students a practice-led introduction to 2-D compositional design for Film, Storyboard, Sequential Narrative, Painting, Drawing, Product design, Photography, Animation and more.


This course will introduce the students to the issues of writing for creative media. Studying the works of master compositions will play a significant role as students begin to identify and categorize common compositional maneuvers.  

Films, novels, adverts, games and web experiences all require the involvement of a writer or a writing team. By considering composition over content, students will begin to engage with the visual materiality of the art and start to create a personal dialogue with its form and content. This course develops in the student the beginnings of a personal voice in composition design and will introduce them to notable examples in the field.

Course Outline



Studio Hours


Introduction to course​, exploring “Keying” a frame



Adding dimension in drawing and painting

- Intersections and overlaps

- Layering, foreground mid-ground background

-Scale relationships

-Linear perspective to show space 1pt, 2pt 3pt and more



Creating space and narrative focus with value

-graphic separation

-contrast and intensity



Mid-term Review



Still life vs. Voyeurism

-frames within frames

-artwork within artwork

-including pattern and design

​Total ​39

Learning Outcome

The student will have an overview of historic and contemporary compositional motifs across media. The student will know the common tropes of composition design and demonstrate facility in the employment of those tropes by developing their own personal voice. ​

Student Assessment

Students will be assessed by Continuous Assessment (100%):

  1. In-Class Presentation(10%): Thorough analysis of an artist, film or sequential narrative;
  2. Class Participation (15%): Students will be assessed on their participation in class discussions especially during critiques and their attitude and punctuality;
  3. Weekly homework assignments and Critiques (50%) – analysis of an artist, film or sequential narrative;
  4. Final Assessment (25%): A Personal Project that puts into application the knowledge acquired through the course.​


Recommended Reading/viewing:

  1. Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Ali Fear Eats the soul
  2. Woodie Allen’s Manhattan
  3. Hitchcock: Vertigo, North by Northwest