Unit of competency details

CUFMUP502A - Design and apply special make-up effects (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 11/Nov/2010

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUAMUP503 - Design and apply special make-up effectsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Pre-requisite unit updated with current equivalent unit. Minor edits to performance criteria. 14/Jan/2016

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110301 Beauty Therapy 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110301 Beauty Therapy 25/Sep/2008 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to design and apply special make-up effects services for productions in the screen, media and entertainment industries.

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

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

Special make-up effects artists apply the skills and knowledge described in this unit. The effects produced vary widely and often involve the attachment of prosthetics and the application of make-up in order to create special features or effects, such as scars, ageing and illness.

Because the application of special make-up effects can be a complex and lengthy process, make-up artists need to be confident and diplomatic in the way they communicate with performers whose appearances they are transforming.

Depending on the nature of the job, a special make-up effects artist can work alone, or, on large-scale productions, they could be responsible for supervising other make-up artists. Employment is usually on a contract basis and hairstyling skills are also required.

Skills associated with creating prosthetics are covered in:

  • CUFMUP503A Create prosthetics for special make-up effects.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

  • CUFMUP401A Design, apply and remove make-up

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



Interpret creative briefs and develop initial design concepts

1. Analyse production documentation  to determine overall production requirements 

2. Identify factors  that may affect the design and implementation of special make -up effects , including special requirements  for performers

3. Identify prosthetic requirements  and factors that may affect the creation of prosthetics

4. Generate a range of ideas for the special make-up effects design that respond sympathetically to the brief and provide creative solutions to all design issues

5. Use appropriate research techniques  to identify and source references to clarify aspects of specific make-up design projects

6. Organise  and maintain currency of research materials, documentation and findings for use by relevant personnel 

7. Critically analyse sources and references in the context of specific special make-up effects design projects

8. Use research findings to develop initial design concepts

Develop and document special make-up effects designs

9. Maximise input into the design process by evaluating initial design concepts in consultation with relevant personnel

10. Evaluate initial concepts and select the most appropriate ideas, taking into account production constraints 

11. Hold ongoing discussions with relevant personnel to ensure additional or changed production requirements are incorporated into special make-up effects designs

12. Incorporate feedback from colleagues into final designs and ensure agreement is reached on a consistent interpretation of character and style

13. Prepare in an appropriate format  and distribute copies to relevant personnel as required

14. Continuously reflect on and appraise creative ideas and solutions in the context of production constraints

Prepare, apply and maintain special make-up effects

15. Ensure make -up products  and equipment are available according to production schedules

16. Inform performers fully of the special make-up effects application process and respond appropriately to their questions

17. Dress performers with required protective covering to protect hair and clothes and ensure they are protected from hazards

18. Test special make-up effects to be applied to performer's skin and scalp for adverse reactions

19. Apply special make-up effects according to make -up plan  and health and hygiene requirements 

20. Apply prosthetics using the appropriate materials , equipment and techniques 

21. Check that final effects meet production requirements

22. Make required adjustments  quickly and accurately at appropriate times during productions 

Remove special make-up effects

23. If appropriate, brief or instruct performers on how to remove special make-up effects

24. Remove special make-up effects using appropriate products

25. Remove prosthetics carefully to minimise performers' discomfort

26. Ensure that performers' comfort is maintained during special make-up effects removal and that they are protected from hazards

27. Seek medical advice promptly in cases of skin irritation or other problems

28. Clean make -up equipment  and ensure work area is left in the original or improved condition

29. Complete workplace documentation as required

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • self-management skills sufficient to:
  • work under pressure
  • respond to instructions on required adjustments to special make-up effects
  • follow manufacturer specifications and enterprise policies and procedures
  • planning and organising skills sufficient to:
  • use time effectively
  • control product waste
  • meet deadlines
  • select and acquire make-up products and equipment to meet production requirements
  • systematically organise research materials
  • communication, literacy and teamwork skills sufficient to:
  • consult with senior creative personnel regarding the design of special make-up effects
  • negotiate solutions to conflicts that arise in relation to the provision of special make-up effects services
  • converse casually with performers and provide reassurance during the application of special make-up effects
  • discuss with performers their preferences and sensitivities regarding skin care
  • relate to people from diverse backgrounds and people with diverse abilities
  • consult with production personnel about make-up issues to ensure creative and technical production requirements are met
  • inform performers of the procedures for applying, touching up and removing special make-up effects
  • interpret and maintain a range of workplace documentation
  • prepare and update special make-up effects plans
  • initiative, enterprise and creativity in the context of:
  • creating and refining special make-up effects designs
  • thinking laterally when developing concepts
  • undertaking background research to inform the design process
  • maintaining design integrity
  • devising the most effective way of using special make-up effects to enhance characterisation
  • problem solving skills in the context of recognising and responding appropriately to general and local contra-indications and contra-action, including those that indicate referral to an appropriate professional
  • technical skills sufficient to:
  • use computer software to create designs and special make-up effects plans
  • create 3D digital images
  • use the internet for research
  • access and use databases to record research findings
  • numeracy skills sufficient to:
  • budget in relation to design concepts and make-up requirements
  • estimate the number of make-up personnel required
  • estimate the quantity and cost of products required
  • estimate the time required to apply make-up

Required knowledge 

  • industry knowledge, including:
  • roles and responsibilities of personnel in productions in the relevant industry sector
  • issues and challenges that arise in the context of providing special make-up effects services
  • well-developed understanding of the interrelationship between face and body shapes and the elements and principles of make-up application
  • basic understanding of anatomy and physiology of the skin and skin structures as they relate to make-up services, including a simplified cross-section of skin
  • techniques for applying make-up to prosthetic pieces
  • basic understanding of body systems and how they relate to face and body shapes and skin, muscles and nerves:
  • skeletal and muscular
  • nervous system and its relationship to skin function
  • well-developed understanding of the following in regard to special make-up effects:
  • effects of natural/artificial lighting on make-up
  • colour design principles
  • colour wheel, primary, secondary, complementary colours, grey scale
  • tonal value
  • differences between tone, value, hue and shade
  • airbrushing techniques
  • knowledge of cosmetic chemistry/ingredients in relevant make-up products particularly in regard to their likely effects on the skin
  • techniques for applying and removing special make-up effects, including prosthetic pieces
  • awareness of the effect of changes created by specific make-up products and colour application techniques
  • awareness of the effect of changes created by lighting and how make-up colours appear on screen
  • knowledge of on-camera requirements of design specifications
  • techniques for determining the physical appearance of:
  • various skin types
  • normal skin
  • abnormal skin
  • minor skin blemishes
  • understanding of colour physics and its role in make-up application
  • OHS requirements as they apply to applying make-up and taking action in the event a adverse skin reactions

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:

  • documented special make-up effects designs that demonstrate an ability to:
  • use special make-up effects to develop or enhance characterisation
  • select appropriate products and application techniques
  • incorporate colour design principles into make-up designs
  • take production environment into account when designing special make-up effects
  • meet production requirements
  • consistent application of local health and hygiene requirements/regulations in relation to special make-up effects services
  • consistent application of OHS practices in regard to the provision of make-up services
  • ability to apply special make-up effects, including the use of prosthetics
  • collaborative approach to work
  • ability to communicate effectively with performers/talent in relation to make-up application.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • practical demonstration of skills through a range of special make-up effects design and application tasks for at least two productions
  • access to a range of make-up products and equipment as listed in the range statement
  • 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 special make-up effects plans prepared by the candidate to determine whether production requirements have been met and correct procedures and make-up products have been identified
  • observation of the candidate applying special make-up effects in a production context
  • written or verbal questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required skills and knowledge section of this unit and to evaluate the processes used in developing and realising creative concepts.

Guidance information for assessment 

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

  • CUFMUP501A Design and apply specialised make-up
  • CUFMUP503A Create prosthetics for special make-up effects.

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:

  • budgets
  • call sheets
  • copyright of body paint designs
  • costume break-down lists
  • costume designs
  • costume plots
  • make-up plans
  • manufacturer guidelines
  • product labels
  • production schedules
  • research documents
  • running sheets
  • scripts
  • stock orders
  • synopsis break-down of characters
  • time sheets
  • workplace procedures manual or documentation.

Production requirements  may include:

  • camera angles/shots, e.g.:
  • extreme close-up
  • close-up
  • mid shot
  • long shot
  • wide shot
  • high-angle
  • eye-level shot
  • low-angle
  • health and hygiene requirements
  • lighting effects
  • production schedule
  • specifications from designers and directors
  • venue requirements
  • other technical considerations.

Factors  may include:

  • any medical condition that could preclude a performer having a cast taken
  • available personnel
  • budget
  • deadlines/timeline
  • dramatic characters, e.g.:
  • number
  • type
  • changes
  • locations, e.g.:
  • studio
  • interior
  • exterior
  • outside broadcast
  • day
  • night
  • sound stage
  • materials, e.g.:
  • type
  • availability
  • quantity
  • production values/style
  • public profile of performers
  • technical considerations
  • time span
  • weather.

Special make -up effects  may include:

  • ageing
  • animatronics
  • blood
  • body or facial features
  • burns
  • cuts
  • digital applications
  • fluids and solids
  • perspiration
  • scars
  • skin disorders
  • tears
  • wounds.

Special requirements  may include:

  • contagious skin disorders, e.g. infections:
  • bacterial
  • viral
  • fungal
  • duration of make-up application
  • duration of performance
  • contra-indications/precautions, e.g.:
  • sunburn
  • trauma
  • bruises
  • cosmetic and general surgery
  • other visible non-normal skin
  • non-contagious skin disorders, e.g.:
  • acne
  • dermatitis
  • eczema
  • allergies
  • performers' histories
  • skin type/condition, e.g.:
  • normal
  • dry
  • combination
  • sensitive
  • mature
  • pigmented
  • colour and tone
  • removal of body or facial hair
  • wearing of contact lenses.

Prosthetic requirements  may include:

  • body parts
  • camera angles/shots
  • context, e.g.:
  • single appearance
  • location
  • dramatic considerations
  • lighting
  • full bodies
  • full face
  • full head
  • location, e.g.:
  • interior
  • exterior
  • studio
  • small prosthetic pieces, e.g.:
  • face parts
  • bald caps.

Research techniques  may include:

  • contact with historical associations
  • reading newspapers, books and other references
  • talking and listening to experts
  • use of the internet
  • watching documentary films and videos.

Organisation  may include the use of:

  • computer databases
  • library
  • manual files.

Relevant personnel  may include:

  • continuity personnel
  • costume designer and wardrobe personnel
  • designer
  • director
  • director of photography
  • floor manager
  • hairdresser
  • lighting designer and lighting personnel
  • make-up supervisor/other make-up personnel
  • performers
  • producer
  • production manager
  • special make-up effects design and maker
  • technical director
  • other technical/specialist staff.

Production constraints  may include:

  • budget
  • discussions
  • production schedule
  • reflection on the design brief
  • research findings.

Formats  may include:

  • collage
  • coloured design illustrations
  • digital presentations
  • models
  • photographs
  • sketches.

Make -up products  may include:

  • blush
  • cleanser
  • concealer
  • eyeshadow (matte/frosted)
  • fixative
  • foundation (liquid/solid)
  • glue/gum
  • latex
  • lipsticks/lip gloss
  • make-up grade
  • mascara (powder, liquid, wand or block)
  • moisturiser
  • pencil
  • powder
  • pre-make-up products and stabilisers
  • protective gel and cream
  • sunscreen
  • toner.

Make -up plans  may include:

  • areas requiring correction/camouflage
  • colour design
  • continuity issues
  • details of special make-up effects
  • details of specialist services
  • face shape
  • highlighting/shading techniques
  • known allergies
  • make-up products, equipment and materials
  • product application procedures
  • prosthetic requirements
  • testing arrangements.

Health and hygiene requirements  may include:

  • commonwealth, state and territory OHS regulations
  • regulations relating to cosmetics, e.g.:
  • sterilisation and sanitation procedures
  • storage and handling of hazardous substances
  • protective clothing and substances in the workplace.

Materials , equipment and techniques  may include the use of:

  • equipment, e.g.:
  • moulds
  • make-up applicators
  • materials, e.g.:
  • foam latex
  • rubber
  • plaster
  • gums and glue
  • cleaning agents
  • sealers and release agents
  • techniques, e.g.:
  • merging prosthetics into performer's body, skin or hair
  • applying skin-compatible adhesives in positions that permit the required mobility and security of prosthetics
  • shading
  • padding.

Adjustments  may be required due to:

  • adverse skin and scalp reactions
  • different shooting conditions
  • prosthetic pieces moving out of correct position.

Productions  may include:

  • commercials
  • documentaries
  • feature films
  • filmed events or performances
  • live or pre-recorded television productions
  • live performances
  • music video
  • short films
  • television productions
  • theatrical productions.

Make -up equipment  may include:

  • airbrushes
  • artificial lashes
  • bald caps
  • containers
  • cotton buds
  • eye make-up remover pads
  • hairclips and bands
  • lash curlers
  • latex
  • magnifying mirror
  • make-up box
  • moist towelettes
  • pallets or tiles
  • pencil sharpener
  • powder puffs
  • protective bibs and smocks
  • spatulas
  • sponges, brushes, applicators
  • supply of water
  • tissues
  • towels
  • trays
  • tweezers.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Competency field

Competency field 

Visual communication - make-up

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

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