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Undergraduate study
Animation (with Foundation Year)

Animation (with Foundation Year) BA (Hons)

If you would like a creative career as an animator in film, television or games then this is the course for you.

 

I157 BA/AnimFY

Course routes:

 

Course overview

Accredited Work placement

Animation student showreel

BA (Hons) Animation student work showreel

You choose to specialise in one of two areas:

  • real-time games animation and motion capture
  • character animation for film and television.

You cover fundamental skills common to all animation roles including 2D and 3D animation, cinematography and pre-visualisation, 3D modelling and sculpting, rigging and simulation, and look development.

Depending on your specialism, you study character animation, creature animation, motion capture, lip sync, performance capture and acting. You develop skills in both real-time and rendered animation which are widely used in games, film, and television production. In group modules, you work with games students to produce fully-functional games, or with visual effects students to create an action packed feature film sequence or a short film. In your final year you create your own project, allowing you bring together everything you have learnt and prepare for industry.

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

Top reasons to study animation at Teesside

  • International acclaim: ranked 15th in the world in the Animation Career Review International Animation School Rankings 2021 (178 colleges considered) . (tees.ac.uk/source).
  • Industry links: take part in Animex, our annual international animation and games festival featuring experts from Rockstar, Pixar, Disney and Sony.
  • Graduate Success: our graduates have worked on many movies and AAA games including Spiderman Far From Home, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Red Dead Redemption II.

Download pdf Order prospectus

 

Course details

Course structure

Foundation year core modules

2D Digital Art

You are introduced to the creative possibilities of image making using digital tools. The fundamental principles of design and composition will be addressed and a range of image creation techniques will be explored using appropriate graphics software. Skills and topics introduced include: layers, transparencies, vectors, bitmaps, Outcomes & reproduction (web/print/screen) and Input devices

Case Studies

This module provides tools in your reading of cultural texts. Focusing on computer games, animation and film, you gain an introductory level of understanding in the context of your chosen fields of study.
As well as looking at the historical and contextual overview of the history of animation, film and computer games, you also look at how we interpret these types of media historically and materially. You choose a text from within your area of interest and undertake an analytical review in the form of a case study.

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.

Drawing Principles

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. You also look at other formal elements including tone, proportion, perspective and basic human anatomy.

Foundation Game

You produce an individual project artefact, with the supervision of a member of academic staff. This involves you producing a small game project.
You take your existing knowledge and develop a small game from start to finish. This includes writing a high level concept document (proposal), early demo and testing (progress review) and a completed demo made within a contemporary game engine or similar.

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.

 

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.

3D Animation

You learn how the basic laws of physics are described through the 12 principles of animation and how they are applied to create convincing movement in 3D.

You are introduced to industry standard 3D software tools and techniques and use supplied character rigs to create a number of short animated sequences.
You complete a series of exercises that are assessed in order to demonstrate your understanding of the principles of animation as applied in 3D.

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.

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.

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.

 

Games Animation route

Animation Interaction

You are introduced to the fundamentals of computer games animation. Using industry-standard hardware and software, you develop the core skills that are required for the games animation industry.

You study the artistic and technical aspects necessary in a games animation role. You explore tried and tested animation techniques, enabling you to produce 3D animations in a real-time engine.

 

Character Animation route

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.

 

Year 2 core modules

Creature Animation for Real Time

The skills required to produce creature animation for use in a real-time environment are the main focus in this module. Emphasis will be placed on further developing core animation skills and applying these to non-human animation in a game engine context. You gain the creative and technical skills required to produce non-bipedal animation for use in a real-time environment and the tools available. You are encouraged to practice your observational skills and select appropriate references to develop believable animation.

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.

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.

 

Games Animation route

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.

Motion Capture

You are introduced to the skills required for producing animation using motion capture techniques and technologies. Emphasis will be placed on developing technical skills in various motion capture hardware and software tools appropriate to animation production, along with further development of keyframe animation skills. You will be taught how to plan, capture, clean, retarget, loop and blend motion capture data as well as how to layer keyframe adjustments to correct and enhance motion.

 

Character Animation route

3D Character Animation

Develop your skills acquired from the 3D Animation module. There is a reference to character animation in a 3D environment.
You gain a thorough understanding of animated performance using tools that are widely used in the film, television and gaming industries. You use professional animation workflow, acting theory, anatomical study and observation through video reference to get the best performance from your characters.
You continuously practice animating characters in different situations to develop and improve your skills throughout the module.

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.

 

Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.

 

Final-year core modules

Final Year Project

The Final Year Project is a large-scale piece of work, undertaken under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The project involves the production of a substantial artefact related to your subject area.

You 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.

 

Games Animation route

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.

Creative Cut Scenes

You explore the various elements that make up a game-related cut scene and output a final, rendered piece to run in a real-time environment.
You gain experience in delivering a complete cut scene using a contemporary real-time engine. You also research a variety of cinematic techniques in order to produce a piece of work where the elements of animation, cinematography, lighting, visual effects and editing are evident in the final output.


Performance Capture

You develop skills in producing dramatic, cinematic animation using motion capture techniques and technologies with a focus on capturing the best possible performance. Emphasis will be placed on developing creative, directorial and cinematic skills using various motion capture hardware and software tools appropriate to animation production, along with further development of motion capture skills. You will be taught how to plan, work with actors, scripts, capture, clean, retarget, and edit motion capture and audio data, and how to present captured performances cinematically.

 

Character Animation route

Professional Industry Practice

You work with students from a range of courses and build on your learning from years one and two and develop your chosen specialist skills through individual work as part of the production of the short film team project.
You engage with a range of advanced topics specific to areas covered on the course.

Short Film Production

You build on your learning and team work to produce a short film as group work and expand your professional development through individual research.
You produce a short film in the media of your choice, such as 3D animation, live action and visual effects, or 2D animation and stop motion. You work in individual production roles within small teams to create an original short film.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

You learn in our dedicated animation studios equipped with industry-standard software, as well as our onsite performance-capture studio, soundstage with motion control, and recording studio.

You spend time in lectures and tutorials – lecturers cover the theory while tutorials focus on developing your practical skills. You are expected to manage your time to complete work outside of tutorials.

Team working is featured throughout the course, preparing 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.

How you are assessed

We believe it is essential for you to learn through the experience of doing. Assessment for all modules is through practical projects, which you work on throughout the year. In Year 2, the Journeyman and Kino modules provide 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

Any combination of level 3 qualifications. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis.

We may also be able to help you meet the entry requirements through our Winter and Summer University short courses.

For general information please see our overview of 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

Our graduates are working in major studios around the world including Rockstar Games, The Imaginarium Studios and Industrial Light & Magic. They have worked on feature films including Spiderman Far From Home, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Jurassic World 3, and on AAA games including Red Dead Redemption II, Spiderman: Hidden Agenda and Horizon Zero Dawn.

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 through 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.

 

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

 
 

Professional accreditation

ScreenSkills This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries.

Other course routes

Work placement

Study this course with an optional work placement year, at no extra cost. Alongside this, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.

Work placements

Full-time

Entry to 2022/23 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£14,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants


What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I157 BA/AnimFY
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: Offers tailored to individual circumstances

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

 

Part-time

  • Not available part-time
 

Choose Teesside

 
 
 

ExpoTees 2021 animation, visual effects and computer games showreel

Our ExpoSeries of events allow you to showcase your skills to industry professionals who are seeking to recruit new and rising talent.

 

Get in touch

UK students

Email: scedtadmissions@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: 01642 738801


Online chat

International students

Email: internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900


More international contacts

 

Open days and events