If you have a strong desire to work in the feature film visual effects industry or associated areas, this is the perfect course for you. You´ll embrace the complete visual effects post-production pipeline and focus on the theory, principles and production of visual effects assets and shots.
Key disciplines covered include visual storytelling and pre-visualisation, post-visualisation, shot development, asset creation and integration, and compositing to name but a few. It also includes supporting elements such as the theoretical underpinnings of moving image, the history of visual effects, personal research units, an industry-led project, and visual effects photography and acquisition.
You´ll have the opportunity to utilise tools and design work created by students on our Computer Animation courses in Art & Design and Technical Arts to create visual effects work, mirroring industry practice. What’s more, there are a number of optional components that will allow you to tailor your pathway to either a more technical or artistic flavour. This approach will then lead you to produce a high quality demonstrative portfolio and showreel of visual effects work, specifically related to the knowledge and production of professional quality feature film visual effects.
We enjoy very strong links with industry, due largely to the ubiquity of NCCA graduates in the film, game and television industries. Our graduates have worked on films such as Blade Runner 2049, The Avengers, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Dunkirk.
The entry requirements for this course are 112 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent, including 32 points in 1 required subject. Portfolio only required when the applicant does not have a required subject
Numeracy and Literacy requirement: GCSE English and Mathematics grade 4 (or grade C in the old grading system). We also accept iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills and other qualifications at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework.
A-level and AS levels: 112 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent including 32 points in a required subject.
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate – Skills Challenge Certificate: We accept this qualification, but it must be accompanied by an A-level sized qualification to meet the overall UCAS tariff.
Access to HE Diploma: 112 - 128 tariff points in a required subject with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.
International entry requirements
English language requirements
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:
If English is not your first language you´ll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent. For more information, check out our international entry requirements.
This course will use tools and design work created by students on our Computer Animation courses in Art & Design and Technical Arts to create visual effects work, just like it happens in the feature film visual effects industry. As such, the course doesn’t cover the technical aspects of mathematics and programming or the more creative aspects of character design and story generation.
On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.
Introduction to Production Tools: Employing the principles and practices of software tools, you will complete an effective, realistic, visual effects project.
History of Visual Effects: This unit will cover the development of SFX, including glass painting, model sets, rear projection, stop frame animation and motion control cameras, and will seek to describe its evolution into VFX following the transition from film/analogue into Digital.
Visual Storytelling & Pre-Visualisation: You will be provided with a good understanding of visual structure, form and design in order to effectively communicate the visual narrative. This knowledge and understanding of key concepts, principles and tools will enable you to pre-visualise and communicate ideas effectively for every visual production assignment you do as part of the degree, and, later in your career.
Asset Integration 1: This unit aims to further develop your understanding of the visual effects asset creation and integration pipeline. You will be exposed to more advanced asset creation techniques for modelling, UVing, texturing, lighting, shading, rendering, simulation, and compositing. You will also develop abilities to work to specific shot requirements and limitations, specifically with regards to the photo-real integration of assets.
Post Visualisation & Shot Development: You will gain the practice and experience of working with and handling large data files, keeping track of changes/versioning, adapting and responding to frequent changes requested by the client, and, generating a post-vis video sequence. You will learn best practices for backing up and keeping track of data, naming conventions, and, production pipeline organisation and workflow. This knowledge, practice and experience will be instrumental in enabling you to respond to the challenges of subsequent production-based projects that you encounter within the course and in your careers.
Visual Effects Photography & Acquisition: On completion of this unit you will have a thorough understanding of how to acquire high quality live actions elements for visual effects projects. You will have a sound understanding of the core principles and technical image requirements for visual effects and will have acquired a range of practical skills, including camera operation, lighting, tracking and set survey. You will also be familiar with the procedures and protocols for safely setting up and executing live action studio or location shoots.
Image Processing for Visual Effects Production: This unit covers two main areas: Rotoscoping and prep work, which allows a visual effects artist to prepare acquisition footage and elements for digital compositing. Green screen matte extraction and compositing, which allows a visual effects artist to extract elements which are shot in front of a green screen for digital compositing in background plates.
Modelling & Texturing: You will learn more advanced creation techniques for hard surface and deformation modelling, UV unwrapping for multiple tile workflow and texturing. You will further develop abilities to work to specific asset requirements and limitations, specifically with regards to the creation of photo-real assets for use in the visual effects live action integration pipeline.
Group Project: You will work as part of a team to develop your creative and production skills through the completion of either a short visual sequence or an interactive project, demonstrating advanced CG techniques.
Asset Integration 2: You will continue to work towards more advanced asset creation techniques for modelling, UVing, texturing, lighting, shading, rendering, simulation, matchmove, 2D and 3D tracking and compositing. You will work to specific shot requirements and limitations, specifically with regards to the photo-real integration of assets.
Option units (choose 2)
Lighting & Rendering: This unit will further your knowledge of lighting and rendering for visual effects. Focusing on three main bodies of knowledge: The look development of the computer generated assets for material creation. The preparation of live action images for the purpose of relighting the computer generated assets and matching the lighting between the assets and the live action background. The rendering of the computer generated assets in preparation for compositing on the live action background plate.
Rigging & Animation for Visual Effects: You will learn techniques for rigging various different types of character and non-character assets as well as various different techniques and workflow practices for the animation of character based and non-character based assets.
Technical Effects: You will develop an understanding 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.
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.
Real Time Graphics Systems: Using state-of-the-art game engines, you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of real-time graphics engines.
Our computer animation courses are exceptionally well regarded within the industry, and as a result our graduates rarely struggle to find work once they finish their course.
During your degree you will have the opportunity to work with some of the UK’s leading computer animation organisations, through the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), and can make valuable contacts before you graduate.
Our NCCA graduates have gone on to work on some of the most successful films of recent times, including Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Interstellar, Gravity and Alice in Wonderland, to name just a few.
Our graduates work all over the world, and many are employed by the industry’s leading animation and production houses, software houses, and computer game and digital media companies.
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