Undergraduate Degree




DT3003 Visual Effects II

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: DT3002; Academic Unit: 4.0]




Academic Unit


4 AU

Course Description


Learning Objective

To deliver to students a practice-based continuation of the skills that they learned in DT3002 Visual Effects I. To introduce to students advanced content generation skills.


This course will develop upon the skills that the student learned in DT3002. They will also be introduced to advanced techniques of content generation and be able to create such things as fire, water, cloth and to subject them to real-world dynamic forces. The students will refine their knowledge of the physical and optical qualities of the real world and how they can be simulated within a constructed filmic environment.

Course Outline




• Introduction to the course

2 - 6

• A Brief History 3D Visual Effects in Animation

• Visual effects for live action

• Visual effects for animation

• Visual effects with 3D animation

- Breaking to bits

- Particle explosions

- Motion keyframing

- Procedural modeling

- Dynamics

• 3D tracking

• Rendering particle-based effects & particle emission

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


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Control of particle motion and behaviour through the use of fields, collisions and expressions

• Integrating particles into a shot

• Visual effects generated from rendered lighting passes

• Layered plate generation for visual effects in compositing

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

• Create mattes, selections and masks from simulated digital assets

• 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 be able to generate their own believable real-world content such as fires, water, cloth etc. The students will be able to understand the optical and physical qualities of the real-world and how a working knowledge of these qualities can be used to imbue believability into a constructed VFX sequence.

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. Ron Brink​mann, The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Morgan Kaufmann

  3. Blain Brown, Cinematography: Theory and Practice: Image Making for Cinematographers, Directors, and Videographers, Focal Press

  4. Steve Wright, Compositing Visual Effects: Essentials for the Aspiring Artist, Focal Press

  5. Tim Dobbert, Matchmoving: The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking, Sybex

  6. Richard Rickett, Special Effects: The History and Technique, Billboard Books