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BA (Hons)
Animation and Visual Effects

Our animation students are taught by leading industry professionals with impressive experience working on films such as Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion King, Robots and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

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?

If you enjoy animation, animated films and visual effects, this course will help to train you for a career in this exciting and expanding industry.

This course will provide you with industry-relevant training and skills whilst also introducing you to the core principles of creative film-making and visual storytelling. The UK has a globally competitive animation and vfx industry based in Soho, London, along with other centres of excellence such as Aardman Animation in Bristol. 

You will learn the vital practical and technical skills which provide a firm foundation for jobs in the animation and visual effects industry. We recognise that this is a technology-driven medium which also requires exceptional creative talent. You will have the opportunity to use the latest software, and graduate with a broad range of creative and technical skills.

The course will be particularly attractive for students who may want to explore a career in animation, working on films, TV, games, web animation, online & mobile content and advertising.   

Check out our animation studio and make sure to watch Alex Williams' showreel to discover more about this exciting course.

What will this course cover?

This course provides a solid grounding for students who want to pursue careers in the animation, games and visual effects industry. The course is uniquely placed to offer a degree in animation with an emphasis on digital character and creature animation, taking advantage of established links with leading industry partners.

This course gives students practical digital skills training; contextual knowledge and understanding, and an appreciation of research methods. It also includes modules on creativity and enterprise; these will help prepare students to work both as employees and also as independent, self-reliant, freelance digital artists.

This course is focused on the present and future needs of a rapidly changing industry. The practical modules include research and design skills, video and audio training. Students will also learn modelling, rigging, texturing, lighting, digital cinematography, 3D digital graphics, design and drawing.

The purpose is to give aspiring animators and 3D artists a core understanding of the complete digital pipeline. By the end of the three years, students will be proficient character and creature animators with a broad range of complementary digital and creative skills.

In addition, students will also learn about contemporary film-making, independent film and video production and the economics of the industry. During the course students will create a website or blog and will build a portfolio of work which will ultimately be edited into a demo reel, which is of vital importance in finding employment.

Download the Programme Specification.

In year one, students will learn a broad range of animation and digital skills.

In year two, students will dig deeper into character and creature animation, becoming proficient and skilled, while learning a complement of creative and technical skills.

In year three students will be encouraged to work on short film projects, mimicking the team effort of an industry production. The goal is to make short films of high quality that can be successfully entered into international festivals and competitions.

Year one

  • CGI Foundation.
    This module introduces students to all the core vfx skills including polygon modelling, cameras & lenses, UV mapping & texturing, lighting & rendering, and compositing 3D objects into a photographic plate.
  • 2D Graphics & Animation
    This module focuses on motion graphics, animated text effects, and animated film & TV titles.
  • CGI Animation Foundation
    Here students will learn the foundations of animation principles, including locomotion, walk cycles, run cycles, weight and flexibility.
  • Previs & 3D Layout
    Previsualisation (“previs”) is one of the most exciting and growing areas of digital film-making. Students will learn design, storyboards, concept art, 3D layout, cameras, editing, sound effects, motion capture (“MoCap”) and directing.

Year two

  • Animation - Character Performance
    Here students will dig deeper into character animation and performance, learning acting, dialogue, lip sync and motion capture.
  • Animation - Animals & Creatures
    The creature animation module focuses on animating photo-realistic animals including quadrupeds, birds, insects, fish, monsters dinosaurs and other creatures.
  • Intermediate CGI Modelling & Rigging
    Here students will gain deeper expertise in the core skills of modelling, rigging, texturing and lighting.
  • CG VFX
    This module explores the CG (computer graphics) live action workflow, including dynamics, particles and fluids.

Year three

  • Short Film Project - Pre-Production
    The third and final year begins with a self-directed solo or group project - a short film. Students will complete a script, storyboards, visual development & design, and record voices into a full story reel or animatic. The goal is to produce quality work capable of entering and winning international student film festivals.
  • Short Film Project - Production
    This principle phase of the third year film project includes modelling, texturing, animation and lighting. Finally, students will add music and sound effects.
  • Digital Practice
    This vital final module involves preparing students for the all-important job market. Students will take a close look at the industry, complete a live project for a client, work on their website or blog and polish their demo reel to perfection.
  • Dissertation
    The final dissertation focuses on the theory and practice of the Short Film Project, exploring the ideas behind it and the challenges to completion.
  • Academic
    The course incorporates important academic elements, which will complement the practical modules. Academic studies will include Research Methods, Film Theory, Design, Media, Lifestyle & Culture.

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 200-240. A minimum of two full A-levels (or equivalent) is required. Every application is considered on an individual basis.

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

How much does it cost?

Full-time Home and EU: £9,000 per year
Full-time International: £9,500 per year

For information on fees and finance, please view our fees and funding section.

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.

For fees for international students, visit our international section.

Visit our Why Bucks? section to discover what studying at Bucks could mean for you.

How do I apply?

Applications for full-time undergraduate courses must be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Information on making an application through UCAS is available on our Applicants' pages.

If you are an international student, visit our international students section.

What are my career prospects?

Former Bucks graduates from the Animation course have gained internships or employment at some of the leading animation and design companies including:-

Pinewood Studios, FST Advertising, DeliPictures, Vizrt, VCCP, Centroid, Nano Films, HCL, Red Bee Media, URS, Firebird Films, Bionic Group and Think BDW.

Securing a job in an animation or design studio is the goal for all of our graduates. We have excellent links with the sector including the big four London agencies Framestore, Cinesite, Double Negative and MPC.  You will interact with animators, modellers, riggers and other visual effects artists from the industry who deliver guest lectures and seminars.

In addition, you will develop your animation skills using the principal software tools- AutoDesk Maya, Final Cut Pro and Premiere, so your showreels will benefit from a standard of finish that is required by the sector.

Our course blog bucksanimation includes a simple guide to employability, which you can view here.

How will you help me prepare for my future career?

Our goal as an institution is to develop students who are enterprising, employable, and who can lead. To enable that, we will support you to achieve your potential, build your independence as a learner, your discipline expertise, your professionalism, your awareness of yourself and others, your confidence and efficacy. Find out more about the support available from our Careers and Employability team.