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BA (Hons)
Animation and Visual Effects

Would you like to be an animator? Perhaps you wish to create and animate stunning visual effects? Maybe you want to create digital characters or environments and props for games or animation? This inspiring and wide ranging course provides a wealth opportunities for people with artistic and / or technical abilities.

Qualification: BA (Hons)

UCAS code: W990

Study mode: Full-time

Location: High Wycombe Campus

Duration: Three years

Start date: September

Is this course for me?

We are looking for applicants with a passion for digital visual arts and in particular those which make use of 3D. Your background may be in traditional art, animation, interactive media or even computer science. You will have a digital or traditional portfolio that reflects your interests. This is a course where you will learn a broad range of digital techniques commonly used in the visual effects, animation and games industries amongst others. Most of the work you will do will be in 3D, some 2D work is used to underpin the creative process and broaden your capabilities.

Understanding digital techniques

You will receive a grounding in 3D digital graphics, character and creature animation, visual effects and compositing. As you progress through the levels of study we will expect you to specialize your skills, taking into consideration the field in which you would like to begin your professional career. Specialist areas are animation, digital FX and the creation of 3D art / assets. You will graduating with a broad range of underpinning creative and technical skills with a specific focus on one of the areas above.

Perfecting your craft

The 1st year will introduce you to all aspects of the course. In the 2nd year you will choose a specialist pathway. Your 3rd year will focus on project work where you will be able to work with students who have different specialisms,  with the aim of building a portfolio and demo reel that effectively supports you to take the next step in your chosen career.

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Using our own extensive industry experience, our wide range of contacts and our academic expertise we have developed a course that delivers a balance of creativity, technical skills and contextual knowledge. This is all designed to position you for the next step in your career. At Bucks you will be taught by a talented lecturing team comprised of practicing experts and academics. You will be able to take advantage of our modern facilities based in the Gateway building with access to leading hardware and software.

Cutting edge facilities
We have sophisticated computer labs, a state-of-the art motion-capture facility, which was developed with leading motion capture company Centroid. We were the first University in England to have VizRT, a virtual studio system which uniquely enables us to combine live TV with computer generated graphics. Working with these tools provides a solid grounding in the skills sought after by major employers such as Sky.
You will be taught and have access to a range of mainstream software, including Maya, Nuke, Adobe Creative Cloud, Substance, Renderman and ZBrush. If you can combine the learning we offer with passion, hard work and determination you will have a fantastic opportunity to develop a demo reel that will enable you to break into one of the most fascinating and current industries the UK has to offer.

Collaboration Opportunities
You'll have opportunity to work with students from other production courses on briefs. This could involve working with students from a range of courses including film makers, sound designers, actors and dancers. You will have the opportunity to build lasting and potentially valuable relationships with other graduates who will also go on to work in the media industry.

A Global Industry… On Our Doorstep
Many of the world's animation and visual effects powerhouses are located in Central London, which is only half an hour by train from High Wycombe. Many of the leading studios are based in Soho along with a plethora of smaller companies and start-ups. In addition Pinewood Studios is less than fifteen miles from the campus. We also have local connections in High Wycombe and the surrounding towns. The UK has one of the most important games industries in the world and VR is expected to fuel the demand for 3D content. We provide opportunities for visits and trips and you will be able to meet animators, modellers, riggers and visual effects artists who deliver guest lectures and seminars.

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Year One

  • Animation Principles and the Moving Figure
  • Art in 3D
  • Digital Tools
  • Visual Narrative
  • Dynamic Systems
  • Introduction to Digital Compositing

Year Two - 3D Virtual Environments and Assets Pathway

  • Production Project
  • Lighting and Look Development
  • Advanced 3D Assets
  • Virtual Environments
  • Advanced Compositing

Year Two - Animation Pathway

  • Production Project
  • Character Animation and Performance
  • Storyboarding Layout and Animatics
  • Creature Animation
  • Digital Tools II
  • Animation Styles

Year Two - Digital FX Pathway

  • Production Project
  • Digital Tools II
  • Research and Invention
  • Fluid Simulation
  • Physical Objects and Particles
  • Lighting and Look Development

Year Three

  • Research Project
  • Industry Projects
  • Final Major Project: Concept and Pre-Production
  • Final Major Project: Production
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What are the entry requirements?

A typical offer will include GCSE Maths and English at grade C or above and a UCAS Tariff score of 80-96. A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

You are also required to attend an interview and portfolio review.

For further details of our international English entry requirements, please visit our international pages.

How much does it cost?

Fees for September 2017 to August 2018 entry

Full-time Home and EU: £9,250 per year
Full-time International: £10,500 per year

Most courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees.

You could benefit from financial support through a bursary or scholarship during your time as a student. For more details, visit our financial support, bursaries and scholarships section.

Further information
Find out more about our fees and funding.
Find out more about our fees for international students.

Questions about fees?
Contact our Student Centre on:
01494 603 020

Fees quoted are for the next intake and are subject to change. Fee costs for subsequent years are subject to rise with inflation or course delivery costs.

How do I apply?

For application details please visit

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What are my career prospects?

This course is ideal for students wanting to explore a career in a range of industries, including animation, visual effects, games, architectural visualization and advertising. Virtual Reality is now widely expected to explode and demand is expected to exceed content for some time to come. The 3D skills developed on this course will position students to move into this exciting and rapidly evolving sector.

Preparing for Work in the Industry
We have excellent links with connections that range from small companies to industry giants. Our students seek and gain placements and internships while undertaking their studies, including internships and employment with a range of companies including Pinewood Studios, FST Advertising, DeliPictures, Potion Pictures, Think BDW, Red Bee Media, URS, Firebird Films, Bionic Group, Nano Films and VCCP. We also encourage and support students who take on freelance work as this sort of experience can really help to build up a credible CV.

How will you help me prepare for my future?
Throughout your time with us we'll support you. Our knowledge and teaching will enable you to develop crucial skills, to become enterprising, employable and gain in confidence as you go through each level of study. With our staff you will benefit from an effective balance of academic and industry expertise ensuring you are effectively supported both as a student and a future professional.
We also help you find employment after graduation. Have a look at our Careers and Employability pages to find out more.