Undergraduate study
Computer Games Art

BA (Hons) Computer Games Art

UCAS code: W212 BA/CGA

UCAS code: W283 BA/CGA for Year 0 entry
Are you creative and love computer games? Want to combine your traditional art skills with cutting-edge creative technology? A computer games artist creates a game's characters, assets, environments, creatures and vehicles, as well as producing concept art and storyboards at the planning stages.

Course information

Full-time

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

More full-time details

Entry to 2017/18 academic year

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information

£500

£500 available to kick-start your degree – for travel, accommodation or other living expenses

Eligibility criteria apply

£270m

Over £270m invested in our town-centre campus for your improved student and learning experience

More about the campus

88%

88% of students would recommend Teesside University to others
(National Student Survey 2016)

Why choose Teesside
 

The popularity of computer games shows no signs of slowing down with the regular release of new sophisticated and innovative products – many are developed in the UK. The appeal of games has also broadened with the increasing popularity of exercise and educational releases. Smartphone apps are also another growth area. We help you develop your artistic skills and explore specialised areas including

  • 3D character modelling
  • environment modelling
  • vehicular modelling
  • basic real-time animation
  • 3D effects.


Teesside University is ranked #18 in the Animation Career Review list of top international animation schools.

*This course has a foundation year for applicants who don’t meet the requirements for Year 1 entry.

More about the Art Foundation Year Games and Animation

Professional accreditation

Creative skillset We are delighted to announce that this course is accredited by Skillset, the industry body that recognises courses that deliver an education that fulfils professional criteria and best prepares students for the world of work.

View the part-time programme structure

Modules

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

Animation Basics

This module introduces you to the fundamentals of computer games animation. Using industry-standard hardware and software, the module develops the core skills required for the games animation industry.

You study the artistic and technical aspects necessary in a games animation role. You do this by using tried and tested animation techniques, producing a range of simple 3D and sprite-based animations. You work is presented in a suitable game engine.

Drawing for Games and Animation 1

This module develops your visual perception and drawing skills – these are essential for a productive artist to communicate ideas effectively, swiftly and efficiently.

You are guided through a range of drawing exercises including figure drawing, environment drawing, and still life, enabling you to work through a variety of approaches to drawing. These exercises develop your observational and imaginative drawing abilities, and build on your artistic skills and range of techniques, using traditional tools.

Introduction to Digital Image Techniques

You are introduced to relevant digital software packages, such as Adobe Photoshop, enabling you to investigate the creative potential of digital painting. You look at initial approaches and techniques used to create concept art especially in the context of digital image making.

Introduction to Digital Sculpting

You extend your sculpting experience to include significant consideration of organic modelling, and explore the creation of anatomically aware characters and creatures. Consideration is given to the different scenarios for which models are created from high-end VFX through to matte painting visual aids. You also consider the creation and sculpting of clothing and props as well as the techniques only deployable in non-real-time development such as dynamic subdivision for displacement.

Modelling for Games

You study the fundamental principles used to produce real-time 3D models and 2D textures within a real-time game environment. You create a 3D asset which can be used as prop within a game engine or other real-time applications such as virtual reality.

Lectures explain the principles of the modelling tools available in advanced modelling software and expose you to examples of how these techniques have been used in producing finished computer games.

In practical terms you use a combination of industry-standard 3D software for modelling and industry-standard texturing software to create textures. We give specific attention to art pipelines, which are used by practising game modellers.

Visual Iconography

‘Seeing what everyone else has seen, but thinking what no-one else has thought,’ Albert Szent-Györgyi. Iconography is the use of images and symbols to portray a subject, movement or ideal. You explore iconography in a range of visual media. This module challenges and expands your existing experience of your visual world and introduces you to alternative concepts.

 

Year 2 core modules

Games Technical Art

You focus on developing your skills and workflow through integration of games art into a level using an industry standard games engine.

You are introduced to technical art solutions, developing skills to create dynamic and engaging immersive environments. This covers importing assets and scene creation while developing deeper understanding of more advanced engine editor tools.

Knowledge is developed to consider performance while developing skills in lighting, particle effects, post-processing, advanced node based material shaders and integration of dynamic effects and events using visual scripting, resulting in a well-rounded knowledge base.

Hard Surface Modelling

You examine the authoring of hard-faced objects including character armour, vehicles, weapons, and architecture – assets with a regular predictable rigid topology. You develop an understanding of how various hard-surface objects are designed and developed within a game production pipeline. All produced assets are exported into a game engine.
You are expected to produce efficient professional models with sound topology. Therefore you must have a thorough understanding of the best practices for hard-surface modelling.

In this module a hard-surface object is defined as the creation of non-organic asset such as architecture, vehicles, consumer products, hard surface clothing, and environments. This encompasses all rigid character and architecture models. Additionally a hard-surface model is a ‘non-flexible model’ – an object, that if animated would not deform, but rather move in a mechanical fashion – such as a car, mech, airplane or helmet.

Journeyman

You work in a team to produce a game experience within a current game engine. This provides you with experience of working within a production environment, and also with an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Organic Modelling

Organic modelling is used to create multiresolution 3D assets in the context of character and environment production and design, utilising relevant modelling and sculpting techniques to create a 3D object with soft or organic characteristics – this can be a character or soft environment asset.

Approaches to modular asset creation for game environments with a focus on architecture, environment planning and contemporary games engine pipelines will feature heavily, combined with the core principles of game character creation that will feature anatomy and animation appropriate topology.

Professional Portfolio Development

You are provided with the opportunity to develop an online portfolio of material to a professional standard in your chosen field of study.

You produce a body of work reflecting your own specialisation, demonstrating your understanding of core industry requirements, practices and pipelines with a view to showcasing your creative and technical ability via an online portfolio.

This portfolio is intended to demonstrate your understanding of the quality of work expected at a professional level. You are expected to present your work in an appropriate online format – this may be embedded video, blogs or a specific portfolio website.

 

Final-year core modules

Advanced Lighting and Shaders

You focus on creating high-quality cost effective game assets by developing new skills and building advanced knowledge in procedural material generation for complex shader workflows and 3D capture assets using scan data. Along with node-based materials, you develop photogrammetry skills for the production of high quality 3D Assets. You cover topics including material creation and clean-up/repairing of scan data, as well as digital restoration. These assets are then optimised for in-engine usage, through re-topology and texture conversion for advanced physical shaders.

Beta Arcade

You gain experience of working as a member of a games development team that is as close to industrial practice as possible. Beta Arcade simulates the working criteria and mix of development skills that are required to produce a polished prototype of a computer game concept which would be suitable for publication.

Contemporary Studies in Games

You investigate and evaluate emerging trends in computer games using critical, cultural and contextual studies. You are required to carry out an exploratory written research paper into computer games using appropriate academic resources that have relevance to your main subject area and degree pathway as well as the computer games market place.

Game Art Project

Game Art Project is a large scale piece of individual coursework, completed under the supervision of a project supervisor and a second reader. You agree the project parameters with your supervisor with the aim to produce a substantial artefact related to the graphical games field. 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 and 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 explore a chosen subject area in depth and are required to 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.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

You learn in lectures and tutorials. The lecturers provide you with specific theoretical information related to the subject while the tutorials focus on developing your practical skills. In the later tutorials you work on assessments and use this time to get feedback and advice from tutors. Further support is offered online in the form of extra learning material. You are expected to manage your time to complete work outside the tutorial sessions.

In your second year you take part in our unique Journeyman Project, highly praised by industry, in which all games art students work with games designers in a simulated game studio experience, outsourcing various essentials such as assets and animation to specialist teams. You work on games in UDK and Unity to strict milestones in a scenario that is as close to industry practice as possible within an academic environment.

How you are assessed

We believe that is essential for you to learn through the experience of doing. Assessment for all modules is in the form of practical projects, which you work on throughout the year. You develop a portfolio of games art throughout the course. In Year 2, the Journeyman Project provides you with essential teamwork skills ready for industry. The Project in the final year allows you the freedom to set your own project based on your skills and interests.


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

Professional placement

Being able to include work experience on your CV makes you a much more attractive applicant. You have a much higher chance of improving your degree classification and the boost in confidence will give you the edge in job interviews.

98% of our students who complete a work placement achieve a high level degree classification and are offered a graduate job within six months of graduating.

We have established excellent long-term relationships with businesses giving you the opportunity to apply for summer, year-long and graduate placements with key organisations such as: Microsoft, Rare, Team 17, ZeroLight, R8 Games, Hammerhead VR, Dojo Arcade, Schlumberger, Sumo Digital and Coastsink.

Student selection is carried out by employers through competitive interviews and often skills tests. Placements are not compulsory but are assessed and contribute to your final degree award.

Our placements team gives you help and support throughout the placement process, including guidance on applications and interviews, to help you get a placement that suits you.

Career opportunities

This highly specialist degree offers the skills you need for a career in the games industry, and also provides generic skills which open up numerous career paths in digital media – typically areas of film, TV, advertising and multimedia – through to architectural visualisation.

Graduates from our games degrees have gone on to work as artists, level designers, 3D modellers and texture artists at a wide range of games companies including 3rd Dimensions, Atomic Planet, Bizarre Creations, Blitz Games, Codeworks, Eutechnyx, Halch, Media Molecule, Microsoft Rare, Rebellion, Rockstar North, Sega, Streamline, Traveller's Tales, Ubisoft Reflections, Venom, Weta Digital and many more.

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 required to attend an interview and present a portfolio of your artwork.

If you don't have an appropriate educational background for this course, you may receive an offer in a related but more suitable area.

If you’re applying for entry to Year 0 (Foundation Year) please use UCAS code W283 BA/CGA.

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

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

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

More full-time details

Entry to 2017/18 academic year

Part-time

  • Not available part-time

Contact details

Further information