Undergraduate study
Computer Animation & Visual Effects

BA (Hons) 2D Animation

UCAS code: I156 BA/2DA

UCAS code: I158 BA/2DAFY for Year 0 entry
If you want a career in 2D and Stop Motion for Film and TV, then this is the course for you. You will develop the skills to work in the animated film and TV industry as a 2D artist, animator, stop-motion artist, model maker, CG modeller, and compositor in animation.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years including a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 years including a work placement)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

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.

  • News

    Students who worked on the BBC Radio 4 Listening Project, from left: Yaxi Zhang, Aymee King, Tamanya Thorpe-Slater, Andreea Rosu.. Link to View the pictures. Animation students bring audio to life in BBC project
    Students from Teesside University have been working with the BBC to develop a series of animations to support The Listening Project archive.

    Read the full story

 

Note: this course is for 2018 entry onwards.

Studios such as Aardman Animation and Laika are at the forefront of using a combination of 2D, stop-motion and computer generated techniques including 3D printing, which herald a new era in animated filmmaking.

As one of the top animation schools in the world, Teesside students work in an amazing learning environment, taking advantage of our many specialist studios, bringing all the new technologies together in the creation and transformation of what is traditionally known as 2D animation.

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

Creativity and Design

You develop your design and drawing styles, essential for the creative development of interesting and innovative visual solutions.

You are guided through a range of techniques and encouraged to push your ideas and designs in alternative directions, expanding your creative thinking and developing your ideas in new ways.

You produce a range of visual images and worksheets to develop your drawing and image-making styles and process. Throughout the module, you are encouraged to experiment with a variety of drawing and mark-making media and techniques.

You are also encouraged to make connections between seemingly unrelated beginnings and outcomes with briefs that allow creative freedom and broad interpretation.

Critical and Contextual Studies

You gain an historical and contextual overview of the history of art, animation, film and games. Aimed at technical, arts, games and animation students, this module equips you with an introductory level of understanding in the context of your chosen field of study.

Through a series of lectures and seminars, you engage in research and discussion based on your chosen areas of art, animation and game history. You learn how to effectively seek out appropriate academic sources on which to base and construct these discussions in seminars and in writing.

Drawing Principles

In this module you gain confidence in creating rudimentary images using traditional tools such as pencil and charcoal. The teaching enables you to develop your drawing technique and approach, and helps you produce images that effectively communicate simple ideas.

With a range of traditional materials, you are encouraged to experiment with different approaches to drawing. You learn methods and techniques to improve your observational skills in relation to still life drawing. This module also looks at other formal elements including tone, proportion, perspective and basic human anatomy.

Foundation Project

You are guided through the production of a small-scale individual project, defined in part by you with guidance from your tutor. The foundation project guides you to a more autonomous working approach developing your project management skills and consolidating other skills already learnt in other modules.

You develop original ideas and concepts for the pre-production of an appropriate project in your chosen field of study. This may take the form of a game design document, modest game prototype, animation or game pre-production, concept art or another appropriate form related to the games, animation and film industries.

Modelling Principles

You learn some of the basic principles of 3D computer modelling, lighting and texturing. You use 3D software to produce a simple 3D model that will be textured and rendered with basic lighting. Through guided tutorial tasks, you learn some of the first principles of 3D modelling with the view to creating a small collection of elementary assets for computer games and animation. You create simple textures in appropriate software, such as Photoshop, and consider basic CG lighting.

Narrative Principles

You are introduced to the theory and practice of narrative construction within animation and games. You focus heavily on narrative structure and plot through the group production of a story overview, script and animatic or other appropriate form.

You study the basics of story writing for animation and games including character, story arcs, point of view, creating and formatting scripts, storyboards and animatic, and non-linear stories which may be implemented in software such as Twine.

 

Year 1 core modules

2D Animation

Through a series of animation exercises, you are provided with an opportunity to learn animation principles in a traditional animation studio setting. This takes place in the first six weeks. The application of animation principles to a short character sequence features in the remainder of the module.

Asset Design and Modelling

You develop your abilities to design and create 3D Models, focusing on hard-surface modelling. You consider creative design and development processes for complex objects before evaluating the practicality and deployability of your designs within appropriate 3D scenarios.

You develop the skills to create your designs effectively and efficiently, considering their fitness for purpose as props, animated objects, or supports for other activities such as matte painting. This consideration includes topology, polygon resolution and the object’s general aesthetic.

Character and Set Design and Layout

You focus on production design for 2D and stop motion animation. The module will introduce the challenges associated with designing for 2D animation and the real-world context of stop motion production, and then follow a developmental process. A brief will be provided to form the basis of research that will lead to a creative solution for stop motion characters and set designs.

Compositing for Stop Motion

Compositing is an essential part of the current stop motion animation production process, and brings together elements such as dynamic action shots, camera moves, characters, crowds and extended sets to make compelling coherent imagery.

This module aims to introduce you to the tools and techniques required to successfully integrate on set stop motion animation, 3D computer generated sets and props, CG backgrounds, lighting and digital 2D matte painted backgrounds.

Introduction to Stop Motion

You are introduced to some of the animation methods, materials and techniques used in stop-motion animation. You are guided through a series of exercises which explore an introductory range of stop-frame techniques for creating stop-motion animation and applying the principles of animation to the animation exercises.

You develop and animate short sequences such as 3D claymation, object animation, basic puppet animation, as well as using substitution or replacement shapes and cut-out shapes for stop-motion filming. In creating the animation sequences, you will also be introduced to using lighting and camera setups for stop-motion and capturing software.

Pre-vis and Cinematography

Pre-vis (short for pre-visualisation) including storyboarding and cinematography is essential when planning and visualising sequences for animation, live action or a combination of both.
In recent years pre-vis has become increasingly used for both animated and live action films. Some larger post-production companies now have dedicated pre-vis departments and a number of companies now exclusively specialise in pre-visualisation.

You are introduced to the context and art of cinematography and learn about basic film language. You learn the techniques for creating a static and moving storyboard (animatic) with sound, developing your drawing and visualisation skills and applying your knowledge of cinematography to your own work. You are also given an introduction to the 3D pre-vis process.

 

Year 2 core modules

2D Character Animation

You develop further the drawing and animation skills developed in year one with particular reference to character animation in a 2D environment.

You further develop your 2D character animation skills and learn how to animate creatures and non-character based objects. You also create special effects animation such as fire and water. All of this work reference real world observation, but you are also encouraged to develop your own visual style.
The assessment requires you to complete a portfolio of polished 2D animated exercises plus a final short animated piece.

Moviola

You work in teams to produce an animated short film to a given brief using either 2D animation or stop motion techniques. You gain experience of working within a production environment and provides you with an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Within the team you take on a specific role relevant to your subject speciality and in keeping with the production process usually found within industry .Each team will be allocated a member of staff as a project manager and will be scheduled to have regular compulsory team meetings.

Props, Sets and Characters

This module will explore the principles and practice of props, sets and character development and creation via visual development and creation of 3D models. These final assets may be digital, constructed entirely inside of the computer, or created physically using a variety of materials. You explore 3D printing techniques, allowing you to bridge the gap between the physical and digital domains of model creation. The prop, set and/or character models will be considered in terms of how practically viable they are within the production, and in terms of their physical construction.

Stop Motion

This module develops the animation methods, materials, techniques and principles used in stop-motion animation productions. Working to a creative brief and using suitable materials, objects, animate-able puppets or models and sets, you create a short animation sequence using a stop-motion technique of your choice.

You develop a stop-motion method such as 3D claymation, object animation, puppet animation, model animation, substitution or replacement shapes, cut-outs, pixilation and so on. In creating the animation sequence, the objects or characters used for the sequence may be animated within a physical set or green screen for combining with a 2D or 3D virtual set.

Storytelling, Acting and Performance

You gain a thorough understanding of the role of acting, storytelling and performance in the creation of believable characters in animation. You research storytelling, acting theory and principles; and develop your confidence in performance through team-based acting and improvisation sessions in a dedicated studio space.

 

Final-year core modules

2D Animation Project

The final year project on the 2D animation pathway is a large scale piece of individual coursework, completed under the supervision of a project supervisor and a second reader. The project parameters are agreed on an individual basis by you and your supervisor. The aim is to produce a substantial artefact related to your chosen specialism and career aims. The process begins with a pre-production document and culminates in a written reflective report, and a viva where the artefact is presented and defended.
 
You are guided to develop an appropriate sense of work-discipline coupled with a professional outlook. You are expected to take responsibility for the planning and execution of an extended piece of work including the consideration of associated legal, social, ethical and professional issues. You are able to explore a chosen subject area in depth, and thereby demonstrate the ability to analyse, synthesise, and creatively apply what has already been studied on the programme whilst demonstrating critical and evaluative skills and professional awareness.

Advanced 2D Animation Production

You develop your chosen specialist skills in the areas of 2D or stop motion animation through your individual work as part of the wider large team production of the short film team project. You will have the opportunity to focus in your chosen area with a range of advanced topics, which are supported by lectures and subject specific workshops.

Contextual Research and Development

You develop your practice, innovation and professional skills through practice-based research in your area of computer character animation, computer animation or visual effects. You investigate a topic relevant to your chosen area to explore and expand your practical and theoretical knowledge.

Short Film Production

You build on your learning and team work to produce a short film. You work within small production teams in individual roles, based on their area of specialisation to create and produce a short film to an original concept. The completed film should be suitable for festival submission, television broadcast, or other industry events and competitions. It should also provide a high-end showpiece for your final portfolio.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

The course begins with fundamental skills common to all animation roles, in drawing and pre-visualisation, cinematography, asset design and modelling, hand drawn 2D animation and stop-motion techniques.

Team working will feature strongly throughout the course and will prepare you for the formal group assessment in years 2 and 3.

You will have the opportunity to gain experience of the wider animation pre-production and production pipeline in team modules shared with other animation and visual effects disciplines where you can work as specialist 2D animators, stop motion animators, stop motion compositors, prop makers, set builders or character designers.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

Career opportunities

You are encouraged to think about your future career from the outset. We have a number of events that develop your employability: our ExpoSeries is integral to your course and is an opportunity for you to interact with employers at each level of your course via ExpoTential at the end of the first year, ExpoTalent at the end of the second year and ExpoTees at the end of the third year. Each event is open to the public and has invited industry guests, ensuring that you have the opportunity to showcase your work to peers, the public and potential future placements or employers at regular intervals throughout each level of your studies. The Expo Series underlines the School's commitment to employability by making this integral to your learning journey.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points including at least two A levels (or equivalent), or 64-80 for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year).
You're invited to attend an interview and present a portfolio of your work.

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


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

Foundation year

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years including a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 years including a work placement)

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information