Portable consumer devices are increasing more and more their capabilities and can now implement new multimedia algorithms that were resewed only for powerful workstations few years ago. Unfortunately, the original design characteristics of such algorithms do not often allow to port them directly to current embedded devices. These algorithms share complex and intensive dynamic memory use and actual embedded systems cannot provide efficient general-purpose memory management as it is needed. As a result, dynamic memory optimizations are a requirement when porting these applications. Within these optimizations, the refinement of the dynamically (de)allocated abstract data type implementations in the complex multimedia applications involved is one of the most important and difficult parts for an efficient mapping of the algorithms on low-power and high-speed embedded consumer devices. In this paper, we describe a high-level approach for modeling and refining complex data types wing abstract derived classes in C++. This approach enables the multimedia developer to compose, evaluate and refine complex data types in a conceptually straightforward way, without a time-consuming programming effort.