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BA in Animation (Full Time)

University of the Arts London

Course Description

In Year 1 you’ll learn skills in pre-production and design for animation, and different animation production techniques – 2D hand-drawn, 2D digital, 3D digital and stop-motion – before working towards a specialist area.

Key characteristics of the four pathways are:

  • Animation Arts pathway builds on the existing practice of BA (Hons) Animation in which you’ll experiment with design, technique, content and format. Animation is no longer restricted to conventional formats and the course reflects this by encouraging you to explore a range of areas including performance, installation, interactive, animated graphic novel, mobile, projection mapping, short film or documentary.
     
  • 3D Computer Animation pathway is designed with industry professional practice at the forefront.

  • It will equip you with the specialist skill set required to create 3D digital art within established industries such as animation, film, television, and games, or empower you to push the envelope with emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR).

    You’ll gain an understanding of the software, workflow and pipeline principles that underpin this specialist area as you use them to bring to life digital worlds and characters.

  • Visual Effects (VFX) pathway gives you the experience and skills to work in the film, television and animation industries, having the particular skills to be able to create through digital techniques, characters, objects, environments and effects that are not seen in front of the camera, but are integral to the imagined world.

    You'll study rendering and composition tools, procedural effects such as fire and tornadoes, and learn how to build digital creatures and characters. You’ll work in close collaboration with BA Animation students across the other pathways and will be supported in collaborations outside of your discipline.
     
  • Game Arts pathway engages you with a wide range of current and emerging gaming platforms. The increased demand for games along with the increase in processing power of our digital devices means that games are becoming more complex in terms of visual content and animation.

    Consumers playing on devices from games consoles to smartphones are now expecting much more in terms of visual feedback from their games. This pathway would prepare animators to use not only traditional framed based techniques but also procedural, real-time animation approaches.

What can you expect?

BA (Hons) Animation will actively encourage you to investigate formats and explore outcomes beyond the traditional modes associated with animation - such as installation, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), live performance, projection mapping, short film documentary to equip graduates with the ability to offer multi-disciplinary solutions.

The course looks at animation production in a broad context, providing an intensive and team-based experience, in which you develop expertise in the whole production process. You’ll learn how to deal with the challenges of a professional animator – the importance of flexibility and the value of entrepreneurial skills.

You’ll be taught drawing as a key skill that informs all aspects of your subject knowledge and technical expertise.

The course places a strong emphasis on developing your communication and presentation skills, giving you the confidence to articulate your ideas to colleagues and clients in a professional context.

In Year 1 you’ll learn skills in pre-production and design for animation, and different animation production techniques – 2D hand-drawn, 2D digital, 3D digital and stop-motion – before working towards a specialist area. Key characteristics of the four pathways are: Animation Arts pathway builds on the existing practice of BA (Hons) Animation...

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Course Content

Year 1

All students take the same units in Year 1, although the projects will vary in the Visual Narrative unit focusing their proposed pathway specialism.

Introduction to Animation

This unit introduces you to the course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at an undergraduate level. There’s a focus on theory and practical skills development that will encourage you to explore the wider college facilities such as print workshops and photography studios.

Production principles

This unit introduces you to the fundamental terminology, technology and craft skills that underpin all areas of animation across all pathways. You will work in stop-motion, 2D drawn animation (both analogue and digital), rostrum camera and 3D computer animation.

The unit covers a range of key production areas including the principles of animation, design for animation, character design, storytelling and performance. This unit focuses on short projects developed through skills-based workshops.

Visual Narrative

This unit extends the Principles of Animation unit, giving you a deeper understanding of how a narrative is constructed visually. All students will follow this unit, but you will also have the option of exploring your preferred area of specialism.

You’ll attend workshops and taster sessions relating to pathway options. The workshops will give a basic introduction to the fundamentals of visual effects, 3D computer animation, game arts, stop-motion and 2D animation.

The shared delivery includes working with sound, creative writing, story development and its translation into visual formats, visual literacy, film language, and editing techniques. You will be required to select your area of specialism towards the end of this unit.

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1

This unit introduces you to histories, theories and debates in relation to animation and visual and material culture. It focuses on the development of ideas in design and explores the common themes and relationships that occur between theory and culture. You will examine animation in a range of media and through a variety of representations.

Year 2

All pathways will follow the same unit structure to enable the opportunity for collaboration across the pathways, however the content and delivery will be differentiated to reflect the specialisms.

Pathway Units

This unit builds on the learning developed in Year 1, advancing your skills in the technical and practical skills of your chosen area of specialism.

You’ll learn skills through studio projects, some of which will work across other pathways to encourage and facilitate collaborations.

  • Principles of Animation Arts: students following the Animation Arts will build on the existing practice of BA (Hons) Animation, experimenting with design, technique, content and format.

    Animation is no longer restricted to conventional formats and the course reflects this by encouraging you to explore a range of areas including performance, installation, interactive, projection mapping, short film or documentary.

  • Principles of Visual Effects (VFX): students following the VFX pathway will be encouraged to develop concepts and articulate them through a variety of visual effect techniques such as: tracking, rotoscoping, greenscreen, grading, matte painting, compositing, projections, CG integration, reconstruction, simulations and shooting for VFX.
     
  • Principles of Game Arts: students following the Game Arts pathway will focus on developing an understanding of the fundamentals of animation for games: Game Narratives, Digital fundamentals, Game Assets, Design and Concept, CGI Foundation.
     
  • Principles of 3D Computer Animation: students following the 3D Computer Animation pathway will focus on developing an understanding of the fundamentals of 3D digital animation: modelling, key-framing, animating and rigging.
  • Introduction to Professional Practice

This is also a shared unit across all pathways to open up the possibility of collaboration. The unit focuses on work-based learning, competitions and/ or live projects that will be initiated, mentored and judged in collaboration with external industry and cultural partners. Work placement and/ or live project opportunities will enable students to experience the professional world they will eventually be working in.

This experiential learning environment will support the development of skills and tools that are necessary for professional practice.

Exploratory Practice: Animation Arts/ VFX/ 3D Computer Animation/ Game Arts

Whichever pathway you take, you will explore the application of your skills through a selection of longer form projects. At this level, you’ll be encouraged to enquire about your own personal and unique approach to your subject area.

Technical skills workshops will continue on all pathways. These include:

  • VFX: Lighting and rendering, Compositing, Animation foundation (character), Digital sculpting, VFX research and development, Rigging & creature FX, Environmental FX, 3D match moving, Performance Animation (motion capture).
     
  • Game Arts: Game flow, Digital sculpture, Character animation, Experimental games, Design for interaction, Performance animation.
     
  • 3D Computer Animation: Cameras, Lighting, rendering, Materials texturing, UV mapping, Maya dynamics, Animation task and skinning, Digital sculpture – Mudbox.

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 2

Following on from Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1, this unit is shared unit across all pathways and will introduce you to the histories, theories and debates in relation to animation, games, VFX and visual and material culture.

Year 3

All pathways will follow the same unit structure to provide the opportunity for collaboration across the pathways, however, the content and delivery will be differentiated to reflect the specialisms.

Final Major Project: Animation Arts/ VFX/ 3D Computer Animation/ Game Arts

The Final Major Project is a collaborative project that allows you to make a significant contribution to a major project in a specialist role within a small production team.

This is an opportunity to exploit and exhibit the skills developed over the course. You’ll work together with a carefully formed team, based on interests and specialisms.

Professional Practice

This unit builds on the experiences gained through Year 2 Introduction to Professional Practice. There’s a focus on tailoring skills towards a specific role within the industry and on developing professional methods and tools of presentation such as CV and personal website.

The unit will contribute towards your portfolio of work. This experience will give you the opportunity to make introductions to contacts in the animation and creative industries.

Contextual and Theoretical Studies 3

This unit is a culmination of the Contextual and Theoretical Studies component of the course. the subject of the work will be based on a written proposal and research produced at the end of the second year -it can be directly linked to other Year 3 units.

Year 1 All students take the same units in Year 1, although the projects will vary in the Visual Narrative unit focusing their proposed pathway specialism. Introduction to Animation This unit introduces you to the course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at an undergraduate level....

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Entry Requirements

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds from all over the world. The course attracts students who apply direct from A-level (or equivalent) or from Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, or other art or design courses, as well as mature students who may have previously worked in industry.

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

96 UCAS tariff points which can be made up of one or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include: English; History; Media; Business; Art and Design, or other subjects within Social Sciences).
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4).
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects: Art and Design, IT & Computing).
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma.
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subject: Digital and Creative Media, Film and Production, Computing).
  • OR equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 24 points minimum 

And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference
  • A combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language requirements (InternationalEU)

IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds from all over the world. The course attracts students who apply direct from A-level (or equivalent) or from Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, or other art or design courses, as well as mature students who may have previously worked in industry. The standard entry requirements for this course are as...

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Assessment Methods

  • Supervision
  • Tutorials
  • Peer review
  • Report
  • Presentation
  • Lectures
  • Seminar
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops supporting individual and group needs
  • Guest lectures
  • Self-assessment document
  • Reflective diary

  • Supervision
  • Tutorials
  • Peer review
  • Report
  • Presentation
  • Lectures
  • Seminar
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops supporting individual and group needs
  • Guest lectures
  • Self-assessment document
  • Reflective diary

Additional Information

Course dates

Autumn Term:

Monday 21 September - Friday 4 December 2020

Spring Term:

Monday 4 January - Friday 12 March 2021

Summer Term:

Monday 12 April - Friday 18 June 2021

Course dates

Autumn Term:

Monday 21 September - Friday 4 December 2020

Spring Term:

Monday 4 January - Friday 12 March 2021

Summer Term:

Monday 12 April - Friday 18 June 2021