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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 21/07/2022 15:59:02

Title of Module: Visual Effects (L9)

Code: COMP09102 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:Mark  Carey

Summary of Module

The module introduces students to visual effects. There is a strong emphasis towards the creation of visual effects for students proficient in the use of 3D software.

Areas covered include:

  • Compositing through both green screen and alpha channel methods 
  • Scale and perspective
  • Digital Matteing
  • HDRI mapping creation and application
  • Rotoscoping
  • Camera tracking.

Additionally students will be encouraged to explore the how good rendering practices apply in contribution to assessment outcomes. There is a strong realtionship to skills imparted through the Advanced Texturing, Lighting and Rendering Module.

The module is aimed mainly towards computer animation students to enable application to their other projects.

  • To enhance students ability in the production of animation

  • To introduce the concepts of compositing.

  • To develop skills in lighting and rendering of a 3D asset.

  • To introduce the concepts involved in Visual Effects Production.

  • This module embeds the key “I am UWS” graduate attributes and in particular: Academic Universal Analytical Inquiring Work Ready Knowledgeable Digitally Literate Problem-solver Successful Autonomous Personal Work Ready Effective communicator Successful Creative Imaginative Resilient

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1check markTerm 2


Term 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Produce visual effects and apply to computer animations and real world video material.

L2. Identify and understand conventions of visual effects and their application to film and television productions.

L3. Analyse and critically evaluate the application of visual effects to a project for purpose and meaning.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Students will develop knowledge of the scope, defining features, and main areas of visual effects. This will include, but is not limited, to the areas detailed in the module summary.

Students will gain an understanding of a range of theories, concepts, principles and terminology in the creation of visual effects.

Students will raise their awareness and understanding of the area through research with a strong emphasis on the application of visual effects to the industries of film, television and animation production.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Students will apply knowledge, skills and understanding through the production of visual effects for the purpose of enhancing a visual sequence.

Students will show consideration in applying a range of professional skills, techniques, practices and materials associated with the visual effects sector most notably compositing.

Students will carry out routine lines of enquiry to investigate professional level problems and issues and how in turn this might effect their own undertaking. They will adapt routine practices within accepted standards to develop their own abilities in practical execution.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Students will critically analyse and evaluate current practices in the field of visual effects to inform the development of their own ideas and practices. This will include current concepts, information and issues that are within the common understandings of the sector.

Students will be expected to utilise a range of approaches to formulate and critically evaluate evidence-based solutions/responses to defined and/or routine problems and issues, with notable reference to current industry practice.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Students will be required to become conversant with software for visual effects creation which could be used in future employment, thus enhancing their ICT abilities and skills.

For communication skills, students will have to think very carefully about communication with their chosen audience in the creation of the practical assessment so that effects work does not over complicate nor deviate from the intention of the piece.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

Students will systematically identify and address their own learning needs both in current and in new areas, making use of previous learning.

Students will be expected to manage resources for the successful completion of practical work. This will emanate from planning and application of current professional practice.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Digital Film Making
3D Asset Production 1
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:
Advanced Texturing, Lighting and Rendering

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
The module will be delivered by means of lectures and practical lab work aimed at developing knowledge and skills to confidently plan and produce a visual effects sequence.

The lectures will introduce key concepts, theories and practices in the creation of visual effects, providing historical context and development and application to the modern area of computer generated imagery.

The lab sessions impart practical skills which students will adapt for utilization to their own project work. This includes work in areas such as compositing, masking, depth, scale and perspective.

Students will build their own visual effects sequence which may comprise the amalgamation of virtual and real world elements.
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery10
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity38
Independent Study152
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Students will be required to use 3D modelling software and effects tools.

It is expected that work with video cameras will be undertaken.

Observation and study of audio visual material should also be undertaken in the module to relate industry practices and real world problems to student assessment.

5c's of Cinematography: Motion Pictures Filming Techniques. Mascelli, Joseph V.

"Adobe After Effects CC - Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques". Christiansen, M.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Students should regularly attend timetabled sessions. Students should be able to demonstrate engagement with tutorial material. Students must also attempt assessment work, though where extenuating circumstances prevent this occurring, demonstrable communication with the teaching team should be evidenced as a marker of suitable engagement.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardComputing
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelCreative Computing
ModeratorPatrick Walder
External ExaminerS Kennedy-Parr
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
The module is assessed through 100% coursework submission.

Students will demonstrate the application of effects for meaning and purpose so that the effects actively enhance a visual sequence. Students will critically evaluative skills, abilities and learning development over the course of the module.

(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Paper check markcheck mark2040
Creative output/ Audiotapes/ Videotapes/ Games/ Simulationscheck markcheck mark 80160
Combined Total For All Components100% 200 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
The University policies on equality and diversity will apply to this module: the content and assessment are based on the ability to communicate in English but are otherwise culture-neutral.

This module is almost entirely computer based and students must be proficient computer users within a windows, icons and mouse pointer environment with the use of suitable aids where required.

When a student discloses a disability an enabling support co-ordinator will agree the appropriate adjustments to be made, consulting with the module coordinator if necessary.

Further guidance available from Student Services, Enabling Support Co-ordinators or the University’s Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.