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Undergraduate study
Visual Effects

Visual Effects BA (Hons)

If you would like a career in visual effects for film and TV, then this course is for you. Create photorealistic 2D and 3D visual effects, assets and simulations seamlessly composited into shots for film, TV and 3D animation.

 

I706 BA/VE

Course routes:

 
 

Course overview

Accredited Foundation year Work placement

Visual Effects Showreel 2022

View our BA (Hons) Visual Effects student work

As well as giving you professional skills in key areas of the visual effects production pipeline such as previsualisation, modelling, rigging, scripting, tracking, technical animation, effects animation, lighting, look development and compositing, this course enables you to explore your own specialism in greater depth. Gain experience of the wider pre-production and production pipelines and emulate industry practice by working collaboratively in teams with students from other animation courses on industry-led briefs and short films. As well as dedicated studios featuring industry-standard VFX software, you have access to dedicated specialist camera and grip equipment, motion-capture studios, and a fully equipped sound stage including green screen facilities and motion-control cameras.

You graduate fully-equipped to enter this growing industry. Jobs in visual effects are in high demand – according to the Department for Digital Culture, Media & Sport, the creative industries contributed £111.7bn to the UK economy in 2018, an increase of 43.2% in real terms since 2010. Find out more tees.ac.uk/source

Ranked 4th in the UK and 15th in the world in the in the Animation Career Review International Animation School Rankings 2021. (178 colleges considered. Find out more at tees.ac.uk/source).

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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

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 it 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 each year. . In Year 2, the Kino 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

96-112 points points plus a portfolio if your Level 3 qualifications do not include a creative subject such as art, design, drawing, animation or games art/design. Your portfolio should demonstrate fundamental drawing skills, such as life drawing and observational drawing, alongside showing us your creativity. Get some hints and tips on how to prepare a portfolio

If you have gained credits at Level 4 or higher in a related subject from previous study at college or university then credit transfer towards your new course may be possible.

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 and Winter University modules

For general information, please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting your country

Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit can be used towards the course you want to study. Find out more about RPL

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

You have many opportunities to develop your professional skills, links with industry and meet with recruiters through our Expo Series, Animex Festival and Student Futures activities.

Graduates from our Visual Effects degrees have gone on to enjoy successful careers in studios around the world working on visual effects for film, television, animation and games.

Graduates have gone on to work in a range of areas including previs, modelling, rigging, production, effects animation, matte painting, tracking and matchmove, lighting, look development and compositing. They are working for companies including Industrial Light and Magic, Weta Digital, Double Negative, Moving Picture Company, Cinesite, The Third Floor, The Mill, Pixar, Digital Domain, Framestore and many more.

 

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 & Houdini Certified School 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.

This course has been officially certified by SideFX and the school is a member of the SideFX Certified Partner Programme in recognition of our knowledgeable instructors, the high quality of student work, and our efforts devoted to connecting students to industry.

Other course routes

Foundation year

Study this course with a foundation year if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1.

BA (Hons) Visual Effects (with Foundation Year)

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: 3 years (or 4 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: I706 BA/VE
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points and portfolio

Apply now (full-time)

Apply now

Please choose the relevant option below:

2023 entry

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS

2022 entry

UK applicants

Complete this enquiry form only if you have already obtained your qualifications and achieved grades. If you do not have these at this time, we will be unable to progress your enquiry - please re-visit and complete the form after you have received your results.

Apply now (UK applicant)

International applicants

Our undergraduate courses are available through Clearing to international applicants. Please only complete this application form if you have already obtained your qualifications and achieved your grades. You must upload all requested documents including a copy of your passport, academic qualifications and English language qualification, and copies of any sponsor letters or maintenance documents to meet the requirements. If you have previously applied through UCAS for 2022-23 entry, please include your UCAS personal ID number in the course details box.

Apply now (International applicant)

 

Part-time

2022/23 entry

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

More details about our fees

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

Apply online (part-time)

 

Choose Teesside

  • On video

    Animex 2022

    Animex 2022 round-up, our international festival of animation, VFX and games

    Visual Effects showreel

    Visual Effects student work showreel

     
  • Staff profile
     
     
  • News

    New scholarship will help break down barriers to the animation and games industries
    Teesside University’s internationally renowned Animex festival is supporting a new scholarship to help students from under-represented groups to achieve a career in the animation or games industries.

    Read the full story

    Global ranking for animation at Teesside
    Teesside University has again been ranked among the world’s leading animation schools and placed in the top three in the UK in a new league table.

    Read the full story

    Oscar winners, from left, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, Paul Lambert, JD Schwalm Teesside graduate celebrates Oscar win
    Working on a film about the legendary space mission which led to the first man on the moon has won a best visual effects Oscar for a Teesside University graduate.

    Read the full story

     
  • Student and graduate profiles
    Rebecca Pearce

    Rebecca Pearce

    BA (Hons) Visual Effects

    Rebecca's course led her to a role as a production assistant working on The Lion King.

    Meet Rebecca

     
 
 
 

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 738400


Online chat

International students

Email: internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900


More international contacts

 

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