Master Advanced Computer Science with a specialisation in Visual Computing
A strong technical focus that teaches current programming and theoretical skills required in the Animation and Games industry
Taught within the internationally recognised National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA)
Graduates now working across the TV, Film and Games industry including Framestore, Moving Picture Company and Double Negative
Gives students the skills to become the Technical Directors of the futures in both the animation and gaming sector
Weekly visiting lectures from industry as well as professional master classes
24/7 access to studios using industry standard software, including Maya, Renderman Houdini and Nuke
Annual London based degree show to showcase your work.
The normal requirement for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree is a good Bachelors Honours degree.
Students joining this course will normally have a technical background, with strong programming and/ or mathematical skills
Applicants should an honours degree (2:1 or above) in the fields of computing, mathematics, engineering or science or a professional qualification or diploma recognised to be equivalent to an honours degree
Applicants with relevant Industrial experience can be deemed to be equivalent to an honours degree
Exceptionally well-qualified applicants from other disciplines may be conside
Animation Software Development
This unit introduces the core concepts of programming for computer graphics tools and applications. We take an algorithmic approach to the design, implementation and testing of computer applications for CGI. The main languages used are C++ and Python, with OpenGL for interactive 3D work. A simple 3D graphics library is developed to aid with the development of more complex 3D applications such as Flocking systems, raytracers, particle systems and simple games. It is assessed by a programming design and implementation project set across the first two terms. The core programming skills presented in this unit feed into all other units on the MSc course, and allow for example the use of the Maya API to write plugin applications.
Moving Image Theory
This unit contains the general image theory elements of the course, and is shared across the taught Masters courses. It incorporates lectures on digital cinematography, supporting screenings of films and animations, lectures on art, science and technology and a course of lectures by visiting speakers from the computer animation, digital effects and computer games industries. The basic concepts of animation, storyboarding, drawing and concept generation are presented. This is assessed by a storyboard design and an essay.
The Group project is intended to simulate a production environment. Students from all three Postgraduate courses (MA3D, MSc, Digital Effects) are asked to present a concept for a short animated piece, computer game or animation tool from which groups can be formed. The students then manage and produce all the work with staff acting in a managerial role to guide the productions.
This unit encompasses a variety of taught lessons and workshops with primary focus on the tools and techniques used in CGI Tools at present we use the following tools:
Renderman (RIB Files, Shader writing)
Pipeline (Python scripting, shell scripting, asset management)
This unit encompasses a variety of taught lessons and workshops. The indicative content of these classes are:
Inverse and Forward Kinematics
Physical Simulation (Cloth, Hair Muscles)
Rendering (Shading Models)
Curves and Surfaces (NURBS, Splines)
Mathematics for CGI
This unit is a tutorial supported research unit, shared with the other taught Masters animation courses. This provides students with an opportunity to pursue research into areas which interest them, but may be outside of the normal parameters of the course teaching. This unit is assessed at a research symposium where the students present the results of their research to their fellow students and staff.
The focus of fourth term is on completing the Masters component of your education. This can either be a standalone project or the continuation and conclusion of another project. This project also includes a written Thesis of approximately 5000 words. The year ends with a Computer Animation Show, which gives the students from all of the NCCA´s postgraduate courses the opportunity to showcase their work to industry professionals and potential employers, alongside friends, family, and past graduates from the course. This show is usually held in London.
What follows is a small list of books we recommend (all should be in the library so there is no need to purchase them).
Computer Animation Algorithms and Techniques, Rick Parent (2002), Morgan Kaufmann
OpenGL Programming Guide, Mason Woo et al (2001), Addison Wesley
Computer Graphics using OpenGL, F.S. Hill Jr. (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall
Essential Renderman Fast, Ian Stephenson (2nd Edition), Springer
Advanced Renderman, Apodaca & Gritz, Morgan Kaufmann
Texturing and Modelling a procedural approach, (3rd Edition) Ebert et al, AP Professional
Digital Lighting and Rendering, Jeremy Birn, New Riders.
Sight, Sound, Motion; Applied Media Aesthetics, Herbert Zettl, Wadsworth
Complete Maya Programming, D Gould, Morgan Kaufmann
Geometry for Computer Graphics, John Vince, Springer
Production Rendering Design and Implementation, Ian Stephenson, Springer
Employment prospects for graduates, based on previous years, are excellent. Most MSc graduates find employment as either Technical Directors or R&D developers in the Film industry. A number of graduates have also found roles in computer games companies. Graduates have recently worked for companies such as:
Moving Picture Company (Troy, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kingdom of Heaven)
Double Negative (Batman Begins)
Animal Logic (Happy Feet)