Postgraduate study
Computer Animation & Visual Effects

This course is available for January 2019 entry

MSc Technical Direction for Visual Effects

Our MSc Technical Direction for Visual Effects focusses on the skills and knowledge required for the specialist role of technical director within the visual effects industry. It focuses in particular on the applied technical aspects of visual effects including the 3D animation pipeline, the effects pipeline, graphical simulation and the emerging application of VFX to virtual reality platforms using real time technologies.

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

2018 entry

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

  • Enrolment date: September and February
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342639
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants: £561 per 20 credits
    More details about our fees

Contact details

Further information

  • Facilities

    Computer Animation & Visual Effects

    Teesside is one of the best-equipped learning environments for anybody seeking a career in animation or visual effects. We have purpose-built facilities housing dedicated life drawing spaces, recording studio, motion-capture studio and a fully equipped sound stage including green screen facilities and motion-control cameras.

 

You study content in the new areas of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) that are only now emerging in a VFX context.You benefit from expertise and state-of-the-art facilities in the School of Computing, Media & the Arts such as the green screen studio, and the latest technologies such as the new VR development studio.You also benefit from regular industry input from internationally renowned speakers through Animex and from staff and student contacts.

There are three routes you can choose from to gain an MSc Technical Direction for Visual Effects:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September and January start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)
  • part-time - 2 years.

Course structure

Core modules

3D Animation Pipeline

You gain a deep understanding of 3D animation and visual effects pipelines. You focus on the theory and practice of 3D computer animation and VFX production and industry standard hardware and software. Emphasis is given to the traditional Technical Director roles such as rigging, lighting and shading.
You explore the 3D elements and workflows that are crucial in any CG production pipeline and attention is paid to the pipeline and how the work produced needs to integrate with other departments involved with the process.
Your assessment is 100% ICA, a portfolio of short animation/VFX sequences and/or 3D assets (70%) and a written and illustrated report (30%).

Advanced Effects Animation

You explore the more advanced simulation tools and techniques used in effects animation. You study the underlying physics and computer graphics theory behind these simulation techniques and apply them using industry standard software.

You research state-of-the-art of effects animation and apply this to create convincing simulations of a variety of real-world phenomena.
Your assessment is a portfolio of effects sequences and a breakdown/contact sheet that illustrates how they are generated.

Master's Project: Technical Direction for VFX

You undertake a major, in-depth, individual study in an aspect of your programme. Your project explores an appropriate commercial, industrial, artistic or research-based problem area. You research and investigate relevant aspects of a specific area of study and produce a major portfolio of relevant practice based materials from the area of technical direction. You also produce a written report that contextualises and critically evaluates your final outputs.
Your assessment is 100% ICA, a viva and accompanying written report which contextualises and evaluates the creative output.

Programming for VFX

You analyse the fundamentals of programming for 3D animation and visual effects. You learn how to extend the functionality of industry-standard software using scripting and Software Development Kits (SDKs).
You explore various SDKs, such as the Maya API and Houdini HDK, to extend the functionality of industry-standard software. You also explore graphical maths and C++ to build production-ready tools.
Your assessment is 100% ICA to design and build animation/ VFX tools to satisfy a production scenario. You document the research, analysis and design of these tools.

Research Methods for Computing

You gain the knowledge and skills to understand the research process in computing and digital media, and the necessary skills to undertake your masters project. You learn how to use and critically evaluate previous academic research, and to generate good evidence material to justify their professional practice. This involves you learning about different research strategies and data generation methods and how they fit into the development lifecycle and the evaluation of the user experience, the use of the academic research literature, and research ethics.

Assessment involves you preparing a research proposal which can form the basis of their masters project.

Virtual Reality

You undertake a multidisciplinary group project where you apply your individual area of expertise to the platform of Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR). You focus on integrating and applying existing skills from multiple disciplines and applying them in a VR context. You research and develop a VR, AR or immersive experience. You research, analyse, and evaluate a broad range of VR and AR systems, as well as learning how to synthesise and reflect on your own contribution for immersive systems within your discipline.
Your assessment is 100% ICA, with a group project including product demonstration and actual immersive experience, an individual portfolio and individual written report.

Visual Simulation

You gain a comprehensive overview and analysis of the state of the art in visual simulation techniques and algorithms. You also gain in depth practical guidance in developing solutions to real world visual simulation problems using appropriate methods and techniques within the constraints of technological feasibility and commercial constraints along with promoting critical reflection.
Your assessment is 100% ICA, with a visual simulation problem and research, design and implement a solution to that problem.

 

Advanced practice

Internship

Internship is normally a six month period of placement working in a host organisation where you usually receive a salary. You gain practical experience over a substantial period of time, enhance your employability and put your academic learning into practice. The placement office identify suitable placements, but you can also submit relevant placement opportunities for consideration. You are interviewed and selected by the host organisation.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You learn about concepts and methods primarily through keynote lectures and tutorials using case studies and examples. Lectures include presentations from guest speakers from industry. Critical reflection is key to successful problem solving and essential to the creative process. You develop your own reflective practice at an advanced level, then test and assess your solutions against criteria that you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

Career opportunities

We prepare you for a career in industry. In addition to your taught classes, we create opportunities for you to meet and network with our industry partners through events such as our ExpoSeries, which showcases student work to industry. ExpoTees is the pinnacle of the ExpoSeries with over 100 businesses from across the UK coming to the campus to meet our exceptional students, with a view to recruitment.

Entry requirements

You will normally have a first degree in related discipline (2.2 minimum) or relevant experience or equivalent qualifications.

In addition, international students will require IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

Course information

Full-time

  • within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)

More full-time details

2018 entry

Part-time

  • 2 years

More part-time details

2018 entry

  • Enrolment date: September and February
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342639
  • Fee for UK/EU applicants: £561 per 20 credits
    More details about our fees

Contact details

Further information