Module code: DMA2009

Module Overview

From Star Wars to Gravity, Superman to The Avengers, compositing and digital effects have changed the visual media industry.  Films, such as Lord of the Rings and Inception, which were once thought impossible have been made possible.  Photoreal composited shots have become an essential part of the post-production process, creating no limit to the ideas and imagination in film, television and digital content. They feature in nearly every shot we see – even if they appear not to.  This can include anything from heavy CGI shots to a simple clean-up of removing modern objects in a period piece. 

During this module, you will explore some of the techniques and practices used in the compositing and digital effects industry, including greenscreens, tracking and colour grading, and will go on to composite your own digital effects shot.

Module provider

Music and Media

Module Leader

O'DELL Matthew (Music & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 20

Independent Learning Hours: 117

Lecture Hours: 10

Seminar Hours: 3

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

FVP1003: Video Fundamentals A, FVP1008: Film Production, or equivalent film production and post production knowledge - at the discretion of the Module Convener.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Overview of compositing software

  • Compositing VFX pipelines

  • Compositing Techniques

  • Shooting and lighting a greenscreen/bluescreen

  • Shooting live action plates for elements/assets

  • Rotoscoping and prep work

  • Keying – mattes/masks

  • Blending and compositing modes

  • Tracking

  • Colour balance and grading

  • Creating a matchmove background

  • Compositing 3D and motion graphics

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of compositing techniques, compositional skills, and how these are used in VFX industries.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework - Creative Project (100%): consists of a creative project and reflective essay responding to a brief set by the module convenor


Formative assessment and feedback

  • The module includes weekly exercises covering the production skills required for each of the briefs.

  • Continuous formative assessment is given through timetabled group critiques and individual tutorials. Work-in-progress presented will be given direct feedback regarding its quality and standard at these times.

  • During the seminar sessions held the week prior to submission of assessed works, students are given individualised technical support and immediate feedback on their works in progress.

  • Specific formative feedback is provided approximately midway through the module in response to cumulative progress and/or specific works-in-progress. 



Students receive written feedback on their coursework and verbal feedback on their practical work throughout the module, particularly during the workshops.

Module aims

  • Provide students with a framework to understand compositing software, VFX pipelines and how compositing works within the VFX industry.
  • Provide students with support to further develop their compositing skills.
  • Enable students to understand issues that arise out of the creation of greenscreen/bluescreen and live action elements.
  • Enable students to understand compositing and VFX terms such as keying, tracking, colour grading
  • Provide students with experience of “real world” industry briefs.
  • Support students in focusing their practice.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Generate ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions or arguments in response to set briefs C
2 Comprehend implications and potential for Digital Media Arts presented by new developments in media industries K
3 Demonstrate ability to combine multiple techniques learned at level 4 (still imagery, audio, video, animation, interaction) in the creation of a focused creative project K
4 Realise negotiated practical outcomes taking into account VFX creative, logistical, and budgetary requirements C
5 Study independently, set goals, manage their own workloads and meet deadlines PT
6 Select, test and make appropriate use of software, processes and environments PT
7 Select and employ communication and information technologies. PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Allow students to understand how any compositing skills introduced in Level 4 are combined and used in the VFX industry.  The students will build on these skills using professional compositing software and techniques.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures

  • Hands-on instruction

  • Critiques and individual tutorials

  • Guided reading and homework assignments

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: DMA2009

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.