Skip to main content Go to Site Map

Animation Production

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

Course Information

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

Graduates from this course have gone on to work in 37 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 modern software, you’ll be able to apply your skills to hand-drawn, Stop-Motion, and CGI work. In a production-based studio environment, you’ll work in teams to develop your personal portfolio and produce graduate films.

We have industry standard facilities, and you’ll have access to the following throughout your studies: Dell Workstation PCs; WACOM Intous Pro Tablets; PIXStor File Management Systems, used for storage; Central Render Farm running Deadline Render Management Software and Arnold Renderer; Adobe Creative Cloud 2018; Harmony 15; Storyboard Pro 6; Dragon Frame; Mari v4; Maya 2018; Rv (for desktop and dailies playback); ZBrush 4R8 Audacity; Da Vinci Resolve 15; and Red Giant (complete site plugins).

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 give you skills to shape the future of the industry.

Level 4 (first year)

Level 4 introduces you to the fundamental principles of Animation with a series of workshops, seminars and lectures. In your first year, you’ll learn traditional animation techniques and how to use contemporary software. You’ll work hard on developing your observational drawing.

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 package Maya, and study layout and background design.

We use sketchbooks on the course to explore a variety of media and as a visual resource for you to develop a more subtle understanding of character performance and cinematic storytelling.

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

Level 5 (second year)

At Level 5, you’ll develop an understanding of your specialist role within animation production by working on team-based projects. You’ll learn firsthand how a production is created by individuals each contributing their skills and specialism.

You’ll gain a strong understanding of the steps required to produce animation from conception to post-production. Workshops will cover storyboarding, concept design, advanced animation and fundamentals of post-production.

Specialist workshops will help you to identify an area of the production process that will inform the development of your personal portfolio.

You’ll develop your animation, drawing and painting skills, using more advanced techniques in 2D, Maya and stop-motion, and will learn more advanced techniques in drawing and how to use these techniques to develop character and environment designs.

You’ll also develop your storytelling skills and understand what makes a great story with compelling characters.

You'll research and develop your own personal project as part of a pitching process in line with industry practices, and opportunities for industry experience or overseas study visits will help you to develop skills in personal planning and professional development.

Level 6 (third year)

In your final year, you’ll be able to demonstrate your specialist role and 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 of this will be communication and team-working skills, along with mentorship guidance and its importance.

You’ll develop strategies for personal planning and self-reflection, which will help you consider your career aspirations as you 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.

You’ll also develop your skills as an animation practitioner by exploring your area of interest in theory and practice.

All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons). however, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, yoU'll automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.

For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.

For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.

For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.

A BA without Honours may be awarded if you have achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.

Our team are specialists in disciplines that span the Animation industry. You can read more about their experience by browsing their staff profiles below.

Tom Walsh portrait

Dr Thomas Walsh

Thomas Walsh graduated from the European School of Classical Animation at Ballyfermot Senior College, Dublin in 1994...

Peter Symons

Peter’s main teaching specialism is the discipline of drawing and visualisation – one of the core skills central to the ethos of this...

Collington Profile Pic

Mark Collington

Mark graduated from the Arts University Bournemouth (1999), and completed his formal animation studies at the Royal College of Art (2001)...

Richard Haynes Photo

Richard Haynes

Richard has been a Senior Lecturer on the BA (Hons) Animation Production course since October 2012, and enjoys the challenge of working with

Paul Hilton

Paul lectures in several areas including 2D animation principles, life drawing and in teaching 3D computer animation techniques...

Richard Smith

Originally trained as a graphic designer, Richard moved into the newly emerging field of computer animation and successfully undertook...

Dr Paul Taberham

Paul gained a BA (Joint Hons) in Music + Live Arts at MMU in 2001. In 2003, he gained an MA in Documentary Production from the University of

Tim Holleyman

Tim graduated from The Arts Institute at Bournemouth in 2004. He went on to work at EA games as an animator on the Harry Potter franchise...

Ian House

Having spent the last decade living in California and New Zealand, helping to create some of the biggest blockbusters of recent time...

Dorian Tekelsen

Born in Tarp, Denmark, Dorian came to the UK to study animation in 2000. After finishing his BA (Hons) in Animation Production at the...

Ceri M from the AUB Student Union

Ceri Miles

Ceri Miles is a technician demonstrator at AUB and enjoys supporting and working closely with students across all year groups...

AUB Course team fallback

Carl Reader

Carl joined the animation team in January 2015. While at university he studied Film Production specialising in post-production...

AUB Course team fallback

Callum Howat-Tracy

Technician Demonstrator – Animation Production / Technician Demonstrator – MA Animation Production

How to apply

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. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. 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.

Entry/Portfolio Requirements

If you already hold or you are taking relevant qualifications to meet our entry requirements we will be very happy to receive an application. In your portfolio, we’ll be looking for strong life drawing skills, observational work, painting, character design and storyboards. We don’t need to see animation work, but your work should show a sense of movement, narrative and storytelling.

Due to Covid-19 and the need for social distance, we will not be able to offer on campus interviews to applicants this cycle. For courses that require a portfolio review or an audition, the Admissions team will be in touch with you and request a digital portfolio or audition.

We will hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you are unable to visit us you will be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.

This course is drawing for animation, so emphasise and prove your ability to draw.

Listed below are a number of suggestions to help you when you are collecting your work together:

  • Thorough sketchbook work indicating private study and an interest in animation
  • Research study portfolio of Course work
  • Life drawing portfolio and observational drawing
  • Storyboard ideas and sketchbooks of film visuals
  • DVD showreel, if possible, but not compulsory (no longer than 5 mins)

Universities interviewing for creative courses will expect to be presented with a portfolio to help them understand your ability and range of work. Your portfolio could be your golden ticket into receiving an offer so making sure it’s presentable, well-organised and accessible is essential.

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

Fees and Funding

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.

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 softwares.

Man using a drawing tablet

Industry Standard Animation Hardware

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

Teaching and Learning

Within Animation experiential learning is a key principle of study, and your work throughout the course reflects the collaborative nature of the industry.

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 work-place.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time that is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we've used the figures for the most popular option.

Year 1 (% time) Year 2 (% time) Year 3 (% time)

64

64

68

Assessment and Feedback

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.

For every unit of your course, we'll inform you of what you are 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.

The University has agreed that, during 2019/20, it will run a pilot project. This will mean that on some courses, one unit at Level 4 will be assessed on a Pass / Fail basis only, with written feedback but no numerical grade. If your course has been selected for the pilot, your Course Leader will tell you this, and the details will be clearly expressed on the Unit Information Sheet.

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

On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you will 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.

Graduates from this course have gone on to work in studios across the world, including Pixar, Aardman, Karrot, Lupus and LucasArts.

We are very proud of our employability rate. Our graduates 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.

Our Careers and Employability Service is dedicated to supporting you in turning your creativity into a great career. You can read more about this.

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.

Andrew Grisdale Headshot

Andrew Grisdale

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

Image of Karrot Entertainment Staff with BAFTA

Jamie Badminton

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

Natalie Young

Natalie Young

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...

You may also apply for a placement, which involves leaving the studio during your second year to work in a professional studio in the UK, Europe or further afield.

Previous placements have included:

  • Golden Oak Entertainment (Nanjing, China)
  • Karrot Animation (London)
  • Fabrique D’Images (Luxembourg)
  • Aardman Animations (Bristol)
  • Volda University (Norway)
  • Kyoto Institute (Japan)
  • MICA (Maryland, USA)
  • PINCA (Portland, USA)

All placements are applied for by portfolio and the host studio or institution will select the most suitable candidates.

Animation Production news

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.