Unit of competency details

CUFANM503A - Design animation and digital visual effects (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUAANM503 - Design animation and digital visual effectsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor edits to clarify performance criteria. 14/Jan/2016

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 18/Apr/2008

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 020115 Computer Graphics  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 020115 Computer Graphics  25/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to design animation and digital visual effects for screen productions.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

Designers who specialise in animation or visual effects apply the skills and knowledge described in this unit. They work closely with people such as directors or producers to prepare design specifications for animation or visual effects for projects, which range in scope from television commercials to aspects of feature films, an entire animated film or interactive games.

A high level of creative conceptualisation is required, along with an ability to undertake background research.

Even though designers operate at a senior level with a high degree of autonomy, the process of generating concepts and ideas is collaborative. An ability to work in a team environment and with clients is therefore essential.

Skills associated with implementing designs are covered in:

  • BSBDES601A Manage design realisation.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



Clarify design requirements

1. With reference to production documentation  identify the scope of design projects 

2. Identify factors  that may have an impact on the design process

3. Participate in preliminary concept meetings to clarify understanding of design requirements

4. With reference to production documentation, itemise elements that need to be addressed during the design phase

Generate and assess ideas

5. Generate a range of design ideas that respond sympathetically to the brief and provide creative solutions to design issues

6. Assess ideas and collaborate, as required, with relevant personnel  to maximise contribution of ideas to initial concepts

7. Continuously reflect on and appraise ideas for implications on cost, technical feasibility, and creative requirements

Conduct research and experimentation

8. Research  aspects of content  and target audience characteristics  that might influence production styles and techniques

9. Trial various techniques  to test the suitability of their use in given design projects

10. Organise research and experimentation material for ease of access by relevant personnel during the design development process

11. Analyse and document research and experimentation findings for use during the design phase

Produce draft design specifications

12. In consultation with relevant personnel, evaluate initial concept ideas in light of research and experimentation findings and select the most appropriate approach

13. Ensure that agreement is reached with relevant personnel on a consistent interpretation of design and visual details

14. Create storyboards as required

15. Prepare or supervise the preparation of sample material to be included in design specifications  as required

16. Write draft design specifications to include relevant advice to design and development teams

17. Discuss draft design specifications with relevant personnel to ensure that all requirements have been addressed

Finalise design specifications

18. Present draft design specifications to relevant personnel for review

19. Participate in the initial and ongoing evaluation of design specifications

20. Negotiate and agree to additions or modifications and amend design specifications as required

21. Clarify the ongoing role of the designer during the production phase and in the evaluation of the final animations or digital visual effects

22. Review process of designing animation and digital visual effects and note areas for future improvement

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication, teamwork and literacy skills sufficient to:
  • interpret creative concepts and briefs
  • prepare design specifications
  • present design ideas for discussion and feedback from team members
  • clearly and concisely document specifications for the design of animation and digital visual effects
  • work collaboratively with other members of a production team
  • negotiate amendments and additions to design specifications
  • initiative, enterprise and creativity in the context of:
  • developing original, innovative and creative approaches to designing animation and visual effects
  • experimenting with techniques to achieve desired visual effects
  • extending creative boundaries for self and audience
  • thinking laterally when developing concepts
  • undertaking background research to inform design projects
  • maintaining design integrity
  • finding ways to minimise the effect of technical constraints
  • finding creative solutions to problems identified during the process of designing animation and visual effects
  • locating and using resources to broaden own creative experience
  • technical skills sufficient to use standard word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software in the context of preparing design and technical specifications
  • learning in the context of improving performance/product through self-reflection and reworking after feedback.
  • self-management skills sufficient to:
  • meet deadlines
  • provide appropriate and timely documentation

Required knowledge 

  • industry knowledge, including:
  • roles and responsibilities of project team members in the relevant industry sector
  • sound understanding of the relationship between the technical and creative aspects and requirements of productions for which animation and digital visual effects are being designed
  • issues and challenges that arise in the context of designing animation and digital visual effects
  • principles and techniques of animation, layout and composition
  • screen principles
  • principles of visual design and communication
  • colour theory, line, dimension, depth and their application on the screen
  • drawing techniques, including drawing to scale
  • formats and techniques for documenting the design of animation and digital visual effects
  • OHS standards as they relate to working for periods of time on computers
  • intellectual property rights and copyright clearance procedures

Evidence Guide


The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • design specifications for animation and digital visual effects that:
  • are well documented and clearly presented
  • supported by appropriate research
  • meet production requirements
  • ability to work effectively as a member of a production team
  • effective verbal presentation skills.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • practical demonstration of skills through the design of animation and digital visual effects for at least two projects
  • access to project briefs on which designs can be based
  • access to appropriate learning and assessment support when required
  • use of culturally appropriate processes and techniques appropriate to the language and literacy capacity of learners and the work being performed.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third-party workplace reports of on-the-job performance
  • evaluation of designs for animation and visual effects documented by the candidate and their effectiveness in terms of meeting production requirements
  • observation of a candidate presenting their designs to team members and explaining how it meets requirements.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • BSBDES601A Manage design realisation
  • BSBCRT501A Originate and develop concepts.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Production documentation  may include:

  • animatics
  • brief
  • script
  • shot list
  • storyboard
  • technical specifications.

Design projects  may include

  • animation and/or digital visual effects for:
  • films
  • television productions
  • commercials/advertisements
  • games
  • e-learning resources
  • websites
  • mobile phones
  • promotional/informational videos/DVDs
  • digital simulations
  • virtual worlds.

Factors  may include:

  • audience/user
  • availability of personnel
  • availability of resources
  • available budget
  • complexity of project
  • expectations of producers and/or directors
  • intellectual property
  • need to attract finance
  • production schedule
  • production values
  • technical parameters, including:
  • technology constraints
  • console
  • platform
  • bandwidth
  • memory/RAM
  • HDTV
  • timelines.

Relevant personnel  may include:

  • animators
  • clients.
  • compositors
  • designers
  • director
  • director of photography
  • head of department
  • producer
  • supervisor
  • technical director
  • writers
  • other technical/specialist personnel.

Research  may include:

  • contacting historical or other special interest associations
  • reading newspapers books and other reference material
  • reading software manuals
  • searching the internet
  • talking and listening to experts
  • watching documentary material.

Aspects of content  may include:

  • cultural considerations
  • historical period
  • style of production:
  • comic
  • dramatic
  • fantasy
  • educational/instructive
  • informational
  • promotional.

Target audience characteristics  may include:

  • computer literacy
  • demographics, e.g.:
  • age
  • gender
  • education
  • occupation
  • location
  • cultural background
  • hobbies
  • interests
  • internet literacy
  • language, literacy and numeracy
  • personas
  • specific needs - physical or psychological.

Techniques  may include:

  • 2D animation
  • 2D graphics and paint
  • 3D models and animation
  • compositing.

Design specifications  may include:

  • content inventory
  • diagrams
  • flow charts
  • illustrations
  • maps
  • models
  • plans
  • resource issues
  • sample animation elements
  • sketches
  • storyboards
  • technical drawings
  • technical specifications
  • video clips
  • wire frames.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Competency field

Competency field 

Visual communication - animation and digital effects

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units