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Undergraduate study
 

Course overview

If you want to work in the animated film and TV industries then this course is for you. The course provides a clear focus on the creation of 3D and 2D visual effects and simulation for 3D animation, film and television.

You learn skills in 3D modelling, scripting, rigging, animation and especially in compositing visual effects into animated products. You also gain experience of the wider pre-production and production pipelines in team modules shared with other animation and technical effects disciplines, where you can work as a generalist on design, pre-production, rigging, lighting and shaders, or in more specialist effects animation roles in simulation and post-production or rendering pipelines.

Discover what it would be like to study one of these degree subjects and get advice on careers in the industry with one of our interactive STEMulate12 sessions.

The course contains a strong technical strand, ensuring you are fully literate in the rapidly changing technologies of 2D and 3D effects animation and simulation, in small or large productions for a variety of visual contexts, from the small and often unnoticed to the large and spectacular. Unlike other courses in this area, you will benefit from being able to collaborate with all the other animation disciplines.

Ranked in the top 25 animation schools and colleges in the world (Animation Career Review 2019 International Rankings. 167 colleges considered. Find out more at tees.ac.uk/source).

Professional accreditation

ScreenSkills

 
 

Course details

Course structure

Year 0 (foundation year) core modules

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.

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.

Problem Solving Principles

You are introduced to problem solving, using simple tools and techniques. You develop your logical thinking and problem solving abilities. From recognising and defining problems to selecting an approach to problem solving or decision making, to evaluating the difference between the current and the desired state.

You may use recreational problems, like games and puzzles, to convey the important concepts and provide a more limited context to work within.

Visual Scripting Principles

You are introduced to the principles of visual scripting, including variables, functions and operators. You use these concepts to implement functionality and interaction using a contemporary game engine.

 

Year 1 core modules

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.

Imaging Techniques for VFX

The fundamental techniques of 2D image acquisition, manipulation and digital compositing to produce manipulated but believable 2D imagery are introduced in this module. You will also work with specialist resources such as the soundstage, colour-grading suite and digital cameras.

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.

Rigging and Scripting

You gain an introduction to scripting languages and their application in the visual effects and animation pipelines. You also gain an in-depth understanding of 3D fundamentals that will underpin your future learning. You will be taught the basic principles of procedural programming and case-studies will be used to illustrate how scripting can be used to streamline and ease the production process.

Technical Animation

Nearly all modern blockbuster films are full of fantastic eye-catching visual effects and mind-boggling animation.
Using industry-standard software packed with incredible technical tools, you learn how to create believable and dynamic fluid, liquid and particle simulations, as well as technical character-based techniques such as character rigs, cloth, hair and fur.

VFX and Compositing

Visual effects and compositing pipeline in a range of contexts and the fundamental techniques are required to produce exciting visual imagery using industry standard software. You will develop skills in creating seamless composited motion sequences integrating live action, CG content and photographed elements.

 

Year 2 core modules

Digital Compositing

Digital Compositing is an invaluable part of the tv, film and other commercial media industries. You work with layers of imagery from various sources to create seamless and believable shots, often a feature of visual effects films and music videos. These layers can include a combination of 3D computer graphics, live-action video footage, blue/greenscreen footage and additional still imagery.

The lecture series focuses on the theoretical concepts that underpin the practical processes. The teaching emphasis is on the practical lab-based work and visual problem solving needed to produce work of a highly detailed standard as required by this industry.

Throughout, you work on creating a portfolio of static composites as well as short video examples of compositing techniques. This culminates in you applying this knowledge in the production of a short visual effects shot of your own design for the final element of the ICA.

Digital Sculpting

This module extends your sculpting experience developed at Level four to include significant consideration of organic modelling. You explore the creation of anatomically aware characters and creatures. Consideration is made of the different scenarios, including the creation and sculpting of clothing and props, for which models are created from high end VFX through to matte painting visual aids. You also focus on techniques only deployable in non real-time development such as dynamic subdivision for displacement.

Effects Animation

The underlying theories underpinning common simulation techniques and apply them using industry standard software are introduced. Through the analysis of observed phenomena and visual effects used in both film and television productions, you will create professional quality simulations and critically analyse them.

Kino

You work in teams to produce an animated short film to a given brief. This module is designed to give you the experience of working within a production environment and provides an opportunity to target specific production skills within your chosen field of study.

Lighting and Look Development

You develop your skills in general CG lighting practice and art direction for VFX and Animation. The module outlines strategies for fast, flexible asset management that will allow models, lighting and camera rigs etc to be deployed efficiently in different lighting, visual style and environment scenarios. You are expected to use this good practice and asset management strategies throughout your university career and beyond. You develop work using a lighting and look development strategy recognisable to the industry.

 

Final-year core modules

Advanced VFX Production

You deepen your skills in visual effects, working in a wider team on a short film production where you take on a specific role to cultivate expertise in specialist areas of VFX. You engage with a range of advanced topics in visual effects production, which are supported with specialist workshops and lectures, as well as directing your own learning in creative or more technical specialisms.

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.

Visual Effects Project

The final year project on the visual effects 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 also 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 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.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

A variety of learning and teaching methods are employed throughout the programme. The methods adopted reflect active learning using authentic approaches, due to the vocational nature of the course. Team working is featured throughout the course will prepare you for the formal group assessment in years 2 and 3. External guest speakers, seminars and workshops on current research and emerging topics are also a course feature. These will include inquiry-based learning and activities that mirror research process in the discipline. Additionally, they provide you with a bibliography of important and recent academic and professional research publications in the discipline.

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 module 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, interests and career aspirations.


Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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

 
 

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Typical offer
• Year 0 entry (UCAS code I708 BA/VEFY): flexible, each application is considered on a case-by-case basis
• Year 1 entry (UCAS code I706 BA/VE): 96-112 points and portfolio

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS tariff calculator. If your qualifications are not listed, contact our admissions team as we may accept alternatives.

We may also be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Summer University modules.

Portfolio
Your portfolio should demonstrate basic skills in drawing and visual invention.

Applicant experience day
With your offer you are invited to an applicant experience day to meet teaching staff, take a facilities tour, learn more about your course, and experience being a university student at an interactive workshop.

You also have a one-to-one session with a tutor. If you successfully demonstrate your strengths, qualities and determination to succeed on the course you may receive a guarantee of acceptance at a lower tariff level.

Maths and English
Acceptable qualifications in maths and English include:
• GCSE grade 4 (or higher)
• Level 2 Key Skills (Communication and Application of Number)
• Level 2 Functional Skills.

We also accept alternative equivalent or higher level qualifications.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

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

 

Employability

Career opportunities

It's 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 design work throughout the course. In Year 2, the Journeyman Project provides you with essential teamwork skills ready for industry.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

Talk to us

Talk to an international student enrolment adviser

 
 

Full-time

Entry to 2020/21 academic year

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement) or 4 years including foundation year (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I706 BA/VE
    I708 BA/VEFY for Year 0 entry
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points and portfolio

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

2020 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

 
 

Facilities

ExpoTalent is a unique opportunity to meet businesses to secure placements, internships and future employment opportunities.

 

Choose Teesside

iPad

Are you eligible for an iPad, keyboard and £300 credit for learning resources?

 

Accommodation

Live in affordable accommodation right on-campus

 

Campus

Study in our town-centre campus with over £270m of recent investment

 

Industry ready

Benefit from work placements, live projects, accredited courses

 

Get in touch

 
 

Foundation year

Part-time

Part-time DiscoverUni data