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BA (Hons) Animation Production

  • Duration: 3 or 4 years full-time
  • Placement year: Optional 1 year
  • Course code: W615 (UCAS)
  • Institution code: A66 (UCAS)

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Overview

Animation is everywhere, from the classic Disney fairytale to the quirky Aardman comedy and the dynamic Pixar blockbuster.

Animation Production course information

Our illustrious alumni at Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and Aardman testify to the success of our Creative Skill Set accredited curriculum and production-based studio environment.

Graduates from this course have gone on to work in studios across the world, including Pixar, Aardman, carrot, Lupus, and ILM. We’ll introduce you to the fundamental skills of drawing and painting which underpin animation in all forms. Along with training in industry-standard software, you’ll be able to apply your skills to hand-drawn, stop motion, and CGI work. Working as part of a team in an animation studio environment, you’ll develop your personal portfolio and produce graduate films.

We have industry-standard facilities, where you’ll have access to the following throughout your studies – PC workstations with WACOM Intuos Pro Tablets, a render management software, Adobe Creative Cloud, Toon Boom Harmony, Storyboard Pro, Dragon Frame, Mari, Maya, ZBrush, Da Vinci Resolve and Red Giant Complete.

Visits from industry practitioners and opportunities for studio placements will add to your knowledge and prepare you for a career that could see you work in film, commercials or even video game production. We’ll teach you skills to shape the future of the industry.

Course duration

3 or 4 years (full-time)

Placement year

Option of a 1-year placement

UCAS course code

W615

UCAS institution code

A66

Placement year

All undergraduate courses at AUB offer an optional placement year, to be taken between your second and third years of study.

If you’re unsure about this optional placement, you don’t need to decide now. Once you’re here and studying with us, the course team will discuss the placement options with you, so when the time comes, you can make a decision that’s right for you.

If you’re required to have a Student Visa to study in the UK, it won’t be possible to undertake the one-year placement option; there’ll be other opportunities for you to engage with industry during your study at AUB.

Level 4 (first year)

First year introduces you to the fundamental principles of animation. Through workshops, seminars and lectures, you’ll learn traditional animation techniques and how to use contemporary software. We’ll teach you the 12 Principles of Animation in theory and practice, using 2D animation exercises that are used by professionals. You’ll learn to use the industry-standard software, and study layout and background design. Using sketchbooks to explore a variety of media, you'll develop a more subtle understanding of character performance and cinematic storytelling.

You'll study critical theories, concepts and analysis, and develop an understanding of historical and contemporary practice within the specialism.

Level 5 (second year)

In second year, you’ll develop your individual role within animation production by working on team-based projects. From conception to post-production you'll enhance your understanding of animation through workshops.

You'll also advance in your drawing and painting skills and abilities in 2D, CG and stop-motion. You'll research and develop your own personal project as part of a pitching process in line with industry practices, and be given the opportunity for industry experience or overseas study – you may also look at completing an optional work placement.

Level 6 (third year)

In your third year, you’ll successfully demonstrate your commitment to the collective responsibility of production and post-production. You’ll identify your specialist role and develop a portfolio as part of a 2D, CGI or stop-motion film production.

A big focus will be communication, team-working skills and mentorship guidance. Enhancing your skills as an animation practitioner through exploration of theory and practice, you'll develop strategies for personal planning and self-reflection, consider career aspirations and produce a targeted portfolio.

You’ll have the opportunity to pitch your story idea and take part in the process of selecting which films go into full production.

Title Festival Result

The Man Who Loved Flowers (2023)

Purbeck Film Festival 2023

Purbeck Shorts Competition (winner)

Les Château des Chats (2023)

Purbeck Film Festival 2023

Purbeck Shorts Competition (shortlisted)

Nobody to Play With (2023)

Purbeck Film Festival 2023

Purbeck Shorts Competition (shortlisted)

Train Ride (2023)

Purbeck Film Festival 2023

Purbeck Shorts Competition (shortlisted)

Dadaland (2023)

RTS Southern Awards 2023

Best Student Animation (winner)

The Moonseeker (2023)

RTS Southern Awards 2023

Best Student Animation (nominee)

Undertaker (2023)

RTS Southern Awards 2023

Best Student Animation (nominee)

Hiding (2021)

Geelong Pride Festival Australia 2022

Design Award (shortlisted)

Hiding (2021)

Geelong Pride Festival Australia 2022

Student Filmmaker Award (shortlisted)

Heartwood (2021)

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Outstanding Achievement Award

Heartwood (2021)

Florence Film Awards 2021

Best Animated Film

Checkpoint (2021)

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Audience Choice Award

Checkpoint (2021)

Florence Film Awards 2021

Honourable mention

Checkpoint (2021)

Monthly Indie Shorts, October 2021

Special mention

Checkpoint (2021)

Lift-Off sessions, September 2021

Winner

Dreaming (2021)

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Critics' Choice Award

Arachnarche (2020)

Athens Animfest 2021

Distinction in the Student Competition

Arachnarche (2020)

NAFCo Halloween Horror Festival 2020

Best Animated Film (winner)

Arachnarche (2020)

BIFF 2020

BIFF Talent Award (winner)

Arachnarche (2020)

Los Angeles Animation Festival 2020

Stop Motion Silver Award (winner)

Hubris (2020)

Monthly Indie Shorts, September 2021

Best Student Animation (winner)

Out of my Depth (2020)

Brazil International Film Festival 2021

Honourable mention

Rhino (2020)

Anim!Arte

Honourable mention

Spellbound (2020)

Screaming Room Film Festival 2021

Jack-o'-Lantern Award (winner)

Spellbound (2020)

RTS Student Television Awards

Category winner

Spellbound (2020)

Vesuvius International Film Fest 2021

Category winner

Spellbound (2020)

Brazil International Film Festival 2021

Best Student Film (winner)

Spellbound (2020)

Monthly Indie Shorts, July 2021

Best Student Animation (winner)

Spellbound (2020)

LIMFF July edition 2021

Special mention

True Colours (2020)

Purbeck Film Festival 2021

Winner

Good Golly (2020)

Purbeck Film Festival 2021

Special mention

Suburb

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Audience Choice Award

Noise Film

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Critics' Choice Award

Toil and Trouble

World Film Carnival Singapore 2021

Critics' Choice Award

Our films

Take a look at some of our students' animated films.

Course team

Richard Smith Senior Lecturer – BA (Hons) Animation Production
Jordan Wood Senior Lecturer (Industry Fellow)

Animation is all about drawing, and applying fundamental drawing skills to each animation technique; 2D, Stop-Motion and 3D computer animation. Teamwork is also key, where our students work together in distinct production roles to prepare them for professional studio experiences.

Tom Walsh, Course Leader

Watch our course video

Course leader Dr Tom Walsh talks more about what you can expect from studying BA (Hons) Animation Production here at AUB.

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Application process

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66 for courses taught at Arts University Bournemouth. For courses based at Bournemouth and Poole College, use code B49. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.

You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.

If you decide to undertake an optional placement year, the tuition fee is £1,850. This is subject to inflationary increases based on government policy, and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

For the majority of our courses, we'll ask you to digitally submit a portfolio as part of the application process.

Portfolios should show examples of your work – both finished and work in progress – that demonstrate your interests and skills. We expect to see around 10 slides/images in your portfolio that shows your identity as an artist.

If we ask for a digital portfolio then we'll give you 30 days to submit it. Sometimes we'll need a portfolio submitted quickly if there's a UCAS set deadline approaching, but if you need more time, just let us know and we'll try to help.

We've created specific portfolio guidelines for each of our courses, you can take a look at these below.

If you've applied to study an online postgraduate (MA) degree, please refer to the AUB Online portfolio guidelines.

None of our courses currently require an interview.

The only course requiring an audition is BA (Hons) Acting and if you're invited to one you'll have at least 10 days notice.

Studios and resources

At AUB, our Animation studios mirror industry, with lots of students working together in a high energy environment.

Students using lightboxes in an Animation Studio

Animation Resources

Each student benefits from access to workstations and lightboxes and the course has its own computer suite with specialist software.

Animation student working in a digital suite

Industry Standard Animation Software

Student to have access to Adobe Creative Cloud, ZBrush and many more software programs.

Man holding a stylus while using a drawing tablet.

Industry Standard Animation Hardware

Student will have the use of computers and drawing tablets throughout the duration of the course.

Student wearing safety goggles using a machine in a workshop.

3D Workshop

Our 3D workshops with manual and digital manufacturing equipment and computers

A row of trees in front of a pair of university buildings.

Drawing Studio

Our stunning Drawing Studio was designed and completed by renowned architect and AUB alumnus, Professor Sir Peter Cook RA.

Four banks of desks in a computer suite with monitors on them.

Digital Suites

Our Digital Suites offer a digital post-production facility and digital teaching space.

Students working at computers in a library. A set of stairs leads up to a second landing with a balcony running along.

The Library

The Library at AUB holds an excellent range of print and online collections

Ten rows of empty seating viewed from the front of a large lecture theatre.

Lecture Theatres and Seminar Rooms

We have a number of lecture theatres and seminar room scattered around campus to assist students with their studies.

A member of AUB staff talking about a camera with a student at the Central Media Store counter.

Central Media Store

The Central Media store houses a diverse array of equipment, offering students the means to craft and capture...

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an exterior wall with two reverse-L shaped windows and three semi-circle panels visible. A person walks past towards the right.

Innovation Studio

The Innovation Studio operates as a lab for creative technologies, a nucleus for start-ups and enterprises and an industry engagement hub.

Person stands by a table. Two printing presses are in the foreground.

Printroom

The Printroom and Passiv Haus are two great facilities available to all AUB student

Three people working on projects in a print room.

Letterpress and Bindery

The Letterpress and Bindery studio is a central resource, where students can learn and explore bookbinding and letterpress printing.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Within animation, experiential learning is a key principle of study, and your work throughout the course reflects the collaborative nature of the industry. Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

The study time allocated to each unit in the course incorporates a balance of formal teaching, tutorial support and independent learning. Teaching is directed at supporting individual engagement in learning, alongside opportunities to work in teams, which enables learning the value of peer cooperation.

The integration of theory and practice within animation study units is promoted and reinforced through a team-teaching approach, bringing together theoretical studies and specialist studies tutors.

The course is structured progressively to provide increasing opportunities for independent study in the later stages of the course.

The progressive promotion of independent learning reflects an anticipated evolution of learners, where learning experiences are increasingly directed towards individual goals. The teaching in Level 4 is directed at providing the knowledge, concepts and skills to take increasing responsibility for the management of individual learning; this is a key element of the student-centred approach taken at Levels 5 and 6 and preparation for life in the workplace.

For every unit of your course, we'll inform you of what you're expected to learn, what you have to submit, how your work will be assessed, and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You'll receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.

On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you'll be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you'll be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you've joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.

For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit viewpoint.aub.ac.uk.

What our graduates are doing

We’ll give you the skills to shape the future of the industry.

We're very proud of our employability rate. Many of our graduates have gone to work in studios across the world, with students often being ‘snapped up’ ahead of graduation. Our students work in 2D traditional animation, 3D computer animation, stop-motion puppet animation, games art direction and many other areas of animation and film. Graduates from this course have gone on to work in studios including:

  • Pixar (USA)
  • Aardman Animation (UK)
  • Electronic Arts Games (UK)
  • Framestore CFC (UK)
  • Locksmith Animation (UK)
  • Studio Ghibli (UK
  • Industrial Light and Magic (UK/USA)
  • Lupus (UK)
  • Brown Bag (Ireland)
  • Cartoon Saloon (Ireland)

We’ll give you the skills to shape the future of the industry. Graduates from this course have gone on to work in studios across the world, including Pixar, Aardman, Karrot, Lupus and LucasArts.

Natalie Young

Natalie Young – BA (Hons) Animation Production

I've always had a passion for drawing since I was young. I was always getting told off for doodling all over my maths homework...

Image of Karrot Entertainment Staff with BAFTA

Jamie Badminton – BA (Hons) Animation Production

Jamie Badminton graduated from the BA (Hons) Animation production course in 2002...

Andrew Grisdale Headshot

Andrew Grisdale – BA (Hons) Animation Production

I must say I have many wonderful memories of my time studying at AUB...

Latest from BA (Hons) Animation Production

See more of our student work

This course explores the whole production process, including techniques from traditional 2D drawn animation and stop-motion to the latest computer generated methods.

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