Welcome to one of the newest computer animation art and design degrees in the UK, taught at the NCCA (National Centre for Computer Animation), which is one of the most established and highly regarded centres for animation in the country. The course is taught by highly-skilled academic staff, professional practitioners and guest speakers seasoned with world-class industry knowledge.
This cutting-edge course places an emphasis on the creative side of computer animation, combining traditional art disciplines like life drawing and cinematography with more technically focused disciplines to produce computer animation using industry-standard tools and software.
The entry requirements for this course are 112-128 tariff points from 3 A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.
We are looking for applicants who can:
Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
Have a passion for the discipline of computer animation
Show an understanding of the animation, visual effects or games industry
Have a strong creative background
Be able to produce a strong portfolio of art work from still life to photography
Demonstrate good written and oral communication skills.
This course aims to produce graduates who are going to shape the computer animation, visual effects and computer games industries. As a graduate from this degree, you’ll have a well-rounded knowledge of the design and aesthetic principles required in computer animation production. Outside of the classroom you’ll pick up valuable experience and professional contacts during a 30-week work placement, completed anywhere in the world, should you decide to study for four years.
Introduction to Production Tools: Employing the principles and practices of software tools, you will complete an effective, realistic, visual effects and computer animation project.
Design for Production 1: You will gain skills in effective design and planning in pre-production for both games and film; and hone your 2D and 3D design skills. You will present your original concepts and designs for a specific audience.
Fundamentals of Design: the basic building blocks which form the foundations of design for Animation and Games. You will study fundamental design principles and practice drawing, perspective, colour theory, composition, form and shape language relating to character and environment design, drawing from historical and contemporary examples of good practice.
Computer Animation Production 1: You will build on the knowledge you gained of 3D animation and visual effects tools in the Introduction to Production Tools unit.
Moving Image Theory & Practice: Lectures will include film screenings as a basis for discussions of the theory & perspectives in moving image studies and practices in filmmaking.
Narrative Strategies: This unit provides you with the foundation skills for writing, direction, performance and cinematography that you will use in all animation or film productions that you develop and present throughout the course.
Advanced Moving Image Theory & Practice: This unit will advance your knowledge of theories and practice in moving image studies and film making.
Design for Production 2: Building on your design skills to an advanced level to complete a pre-production pack with supporting materials.
Computer Animation Production 2: Covering shading, lighting and rendering. You will undertake a 3D facial character rigging and animation project.
Group Project: You will work as part of a team in the conception, planning, management and presentation of a piece of work that demonstrates your technical and creative skills.
Option units (choose 2)
Character Rigging: Providing you with the fundamental skills for rigging characters for animation. You will produce a short artefact in the form of a reusable rigging tool or rig.
Visual Effects Acquisition: Gain a range of practical skills, including camera operation, lighting, tracking and set survey, and become familiar with the procedures and protocols for safely setting up and executing live action studio or location shoots.
Personal Inquiry: You will be able to focus on developing a specialist area of practice, or a complementary skill or technique that will benefit your career aspirations.
Principles of Rendering: You will explore the similarities and differences between off-line and real-time rendering, to provide a deep practical understanding of the mathematics and algorithms underpinning this most vital stage of the production pipeline.
Real Time Graphics Systems: Using state-of-the-art game engines, you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of real-time graphics engines.
Technical Effects: Looking at visual effects technical effects creation and integration pipeline, you will be introduced to areas of technical effects such as rigid body dynamics, particle systems, fluid dynamic systems, fire and smoke simulation, and character effects systems like fur and cloth.
Lighting & Rendering: This unit will further your knowledge of lighting and rendering for visual effects.
Final major project & dissertation: This unit is the culmination of your studies. Working as either an individual or in a group, you must produce a significant body of work (typically a short animation, game or software artefact). This must be accompanied by a dissertation demonstrating your ability to communicate evidence of problem solving.
Master Class: You will undertake an industry set and supervised brief, in which you demonstrate your chosen area of specialism.
Research & Development Project: Choose an academic, practice based or production oriented project to produce a research paper or industry-standard professional report.
Option units (choose 1)
Digital Fabrication: Providing you with hands-on experience of 3D printing technology and its applications in art and design.
CG & Animation for Cultural Heritage: This unit will investigate the different forms of cultural heritage and the ways in which computer graphics and animation techniques and methods can be applied in their interpretation and preservation. We will cover their application to interactive visualisation such as virtual museum exhibits and also HCI and 3D printing.
Non-fiction Animation: Explore, consider or challenge non-fiction animation, documentaries and live-action film at on-campus screenings.
Digital Matte Painting: Develop different techniques for creating photo-realistic digital environments and apply them to 2D, 2.5D and 3D digital matte painting.
Technical director (in computer animation and digital effects)
Technical artist (in computer games)
Visual effects tech developer
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