Undergraduate Degree




​DT3002 Visual Effects I

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DT20001; Academic Unit: 4.0]




Academic Unit


4 AU

Course Description

Learning Objective

To deliver to students a practice-based introduction to the basics of visual effects.


This course serves as an introduction to students of the practice of visual effects and the many creative opportunities that it makes possible. The students will learn the basics of real and digital cameras, colour spaces, and colour manipulation. Students will be shown the many skills needed to integrate output from a 3D application into live action footage such as: how to use the Multi pass 3D render, how to track motion and how to light using HDR images.

Course Outline




• Introduction to the course

2 - 6

• A Brief History 2D Visual Effects in Animation

• In camera visual effects

• Layered plate generation for visual effects in compositing

• Photography of plates for visual effects

• Compositing multiple elements from a variety of sources into seamless final shots 

• 2D tracking 

• Practical visual effect with 2D animation

• The use of green screen and black screen extraction in element photography for articulated rotoscope for composite

• Planning of your end of semester project with story board break downs of visual effects shots


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• The use of green screen and black screen (continued) 

• Create mattes, selections and masks using a variety of techniques including green/blue screen extraction and articulated rotoscope 

• Reconstructing filmed background plates to remove unwanted elements (wires, supports, etc). 

• Develop an artistic eye by understanding the place of colour, lighting, perspective and composition in cinema. 

Execute your end of semester project


• Final review of assignments


Learning Outcome

The students will have learned how to integrate output from diverse sources into one believable whole. The students will have a confidence with digital and analogue visual effects technologies and understand the fundamental principles that inform them.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 40%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 60% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Mark Cotta Vaz, The Invisible Art, Chronicle Books

  2. Richard Rickitt, Special Effects: The History and Technique, Billboard Books

  3. Michael Slone, Special Effects: How to Create a Hollywood Film Look on a Home Budget, Michael Wiese Productions