Since the Harry Potter boom in the early 2000s, alongside a recent influx of new releases from studios, such as Disney and Marvel, the Film and VFX industry has expanded at an exponential rate.
This has firmly established the UK as the leading country for high-quality Visual Effects work and created an unprecedented demand for fresh, highly-trained graduate talent from the UK education system. The course was created in response to an industry demand for visual effects artists who possess strong observational skills and the ability to apply them collaboratively in the workplace.
Designed from the ground up by industry professionals, specifically to address this demand, the primary ethos is to create the quality required for employability within the industry. Developing a foundation in traditional artistic techniques, such as drawing, colour theory, perspective, photography and composition, 125 you will learn what it takes to create your own feature film quality visual effects.
Our 2D workflow uses Nuke for all compositing, and Maya/Zbrush and Arnold for 3D, while our colour pipeline is based on an industry model with custom LUTs to ensure accurate monitoring of colour in our fully calibrated VFX labs. All of our VFX labs are equipped with top of the range industry-level workstations and are supported by our render farm, fibre network, and clustered storage. With smaller class sizes, students have full access to the VFX labs and workstations on specified lab days alongside a more personal, teaching approach. You will experience a team-based production process that replicates industry best practice; including previsualisation, concept development, on-set data acquisition, asset building, and compositing. We’ll introduce you to the underlying concepts and fundamental principles of Visual Effects work and teach you the necessary creative and technological disciplines, developing your knowledge of 2D and 3D software.
The course prides itself on the currency of its staff. You will be taught by industry professionals that between them have worked at studios, including ILM, Framestore, Double Negative, Electronic Arts, MPC, Image Engine, Weta Digital and many more. We have taken the knowledge gained at these studios and have brought it into the classroom. Having worked in the industry at the highest levels, we not only know what makes a strong artist, but also what the visual effects industry is looking for. We are focused on our graduates’ successful entry into the VFX industry, as well as them having a long and successful career.
The visual effects industry community is very close, much like a family where everyone knows each other. Through the personal connections of our industry experienced staff we are able to bring in top class guest speakers, such as Christian Manz, Creative Director, Film at Framestore and Sue Lyster, Director of Studio Operations, and ILM, to name a few recent guests.
Level 4 (First Year)
The BA (Hons) Visual Effects Design and Production course has been created in response to an industry demand for visual effects artists who possess strong observational skills and the ability to apply these skills in the composing of a final moving image.
In order to cultivate these abilities, the course aims to develop traditional art and design skills as part of a VFX training programme. You will experience a team-based production process that replicates industry best practice; including concept development, on-set data acquisition, asset building, animation and compositing.
At Level 4, we’ll introduce you to the underlying concepts and fundamental structural principles of visual effects work. You’ll develop an ability to evaluate and interpret the application of complementary art and design skills within visual effects practice.
We’ll teach you the technical and technological disciplines necessary for visual effects work, helping to develop an appropriate knowledge of 2D and 3D software in preparation to develop new skills at Levels 5 and 6.
You’ll attend a series of practical workshops, lectures and seminars, building competencies in the generation of concepts, the construction of digital assets and the processing of live action footage.
Alongside processing moving imagery, you’ll develop an aesthetic awareness through observational drawing and painting, utilising both traditional materials and digital solutions. This helps to develop an ability to evaluate different approaches to solving production problems.
You practice is underpinned by an engagement with historical and cultural contexts, and you’ll develop essential research and study skills which help you develop an ability to present, evaluate and interpret information from multiple sources.
Level 5 (Second Year)
In your second year, you’ll develop a more nuanced understanding of the specialist roles involved in a collaborative production process by working both independently and as part of a team.
You’ll build on the skills that you developed at Level 4, applying aesthetic awareness and technical knowledge in a production context that reflects industry best practice. You’ll work with increasing independence as part of a production team to take a visual effects sequence from concept and pre-visualisation stages through to live action acquisition, asset creation and compositing.
Production roles specialising in either 2D or 3D processes are negotiated with staff members and defined through the use of Learning Agreements, and you’ll be assessed on your individual contribution to your collaborative projects.
By deploying key techniques in processing imagery from multiple sources, you’ll begin to develop a specialist portfolio of skills relevant to an industry context. As part of the process of becoming an independent learner, there are also potential opportunities for industry placements or overseas study visits.
You’ll also work independently to research and develop your own visual effects sequence in preparation for a pitch process at Level 6. This developmental work will require the application of a range of established design techniques and research methods, including a sustained piece of academic writing, to effectively communicate ideas and identify limits of knowledge.
Level 6 (Third Year)
At Level 6, you’ll demonstrate a systematic understanding of visual effects practice by applying your specialist skills to a collaborative production process. The intricate nature of visual effects design and production necessitates negotiating a complex body of knowledge, drawing on both artistic and technical skills in generating a final image sequence to an industry standard.
Effective team work is paramount in successfully achieving a professional standard of production, and Level 6 develops critical awareness of co-operative roles and personal responsibilities that are required to make an ethical practitioner.
There are opportunities for this collaborative production process to include working alongside other courses in the university. At this level, you’ll work more independently in your production role, requiring effective time-management and organisational skills to evaluate concepts, make judgements and frame appropriate questions to solve production problems.
Through your written Investigative Study, you’ll engage in research activity, making appropriate use of literary and audio-visual resources in exploring the conceptual limits of their discipline. Individual research activity also takes the form of a Professional Development Portfolio, where students investigate an area of contemporary practice relevant to their career ambitions, and develop a portfolio appropriate for pursuing post-graduate study or initiating professional practice.
On completing our degree course, you’ll be able to apply your creativity and technical knowledge to enrich the storytelling aspects in a range of films and related projects.
As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:
*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs