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BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts (with Foundation Year option)
BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts (with Foundation Year option)

BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts (with Foundation Year option)

  • ID:BU440033
  • Level:3-Year Bachelor's Degree
  • Duration:
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Admission Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • This course requires 112–128 UCAS tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent. A portfolio will also be required in support of your application. We are happy to consider a combination of qualifications and grades to meet the overall tariff, for example A-levels A*BC, ABB, BBC or ACC, BTECs DDM or DMM. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to UCAS tariff points.

  • If you do not meet these you may want to consider our foundation year, a one-year course that will prepare you for degree-level study.

English Requirements

  • If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS (Academic) 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or equivalent.

Course Information

Why study BA (Hons) Computer Animation Technical Arts at BU?

  • This course is industry recognised by ScreenSkills, the industry-led skills body for the UK's screen-based industries, and carries the ScreenSkills Select quality-mark which indicates courses best suited to prepare students for a career in the screen industries. 

  • Select specialised options that reflect the versatile nature of production, including real-time engines, rendering, character rigging, data and motion capture. 

  • Undertake a variety of assessments including open-ended briefs where you’ll have the opportunity to develop your own specialisms as well as industry live briefs  

  • Benefit from supportive tutors who provide tailored and personal reviews of your work  

  • Make invaluable contacts before you graduate through regular industry guest speakers and BU’s BFX Festival, featuring a fantastic line-up of speakers, masterclasses, exhibitions, screenings and networking events Access specialist facilities including a new green screen and motion capture studio, as well as animation laboratories, equipped with industry-standard software.

For September 2022 entry: We are currently developing a foundation year option for UK students who do not meet the entry requirements for the degree course. This additional year of study will give you a grounding in the skills required for this course, building your confidence, knowledge and skills for further study. After successful completion of the foundation year, you will progress to the full degree. This page will be updated with more information in October 2021. Please register your interest and we will email you when the foundation year option is open for applications 

UCAS Code: W280

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Year 1

Core units

  • Introduction to Production Tools: Employing the principles and practices of software tools, you will complete an effective, realistic, visual effects and computer animation project.

  • Programming Principles: this unit provides an introduction to computing and programming concepts that are the foundation of software development. They are introduced in a manner that demonstrates their relevance and application to computer graphics, animation, games and visual effects production.

  • Visual Narrative & Design: the fundamental building blocks that enable you to conceive, present and generate pre-production material. The unit also covers the principles and techniques of storytelling through scriptwriting and storyboarding.

  • Technical Arts Production: An introduction to the roles of technical animators and technical artists. The unit combines life drawing studies, computer animation production and scripting.

  • Mathematics for Computer Graphics: Key mathematical methods in the context of computer graphics, animation and games.

  • Moving Image Theory & Practice: Lectures will include film screenings as a basis for discussions of the theory & perspectives in moving image studies and practices in filmmaking.

Year 2

Core units

  • Visual Studies: You will start with the fundamental building blocks to understand, conceive, present and generate original visual images , image sequences or concepts inspired from observation in nature. You will also address the wider context of 3D animation content generation with in the production pipeline process of animated features and computer games.

  • Advanced Mathematics for Computer Graphics: The more advanced, specialist mathematical and algorithmic techniques for computer graphics  and animation.

  • Computing for Graphics & Animation: Introducing you to Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and the functional concepts that are commonly used in computer graphics and animation.

  • Group Project: You will work as part of a team in the conception, planning, management and presentation of a piece of work that demonstrates your technical and creative skills.

Option units (choose 2)

  • Character Rigging: Providing you with the fundamental skills for rigging characters for animation. You will produce a short artefact in the form of a reusable rigging tool or rig.

  • Visual Effects Acquisition: Gain a range of practical skills, including camera operation, lighting, tracking and set survey, and become familiar with the procedures and protocols for safely setting up and executing live action studio or location shoots.

  • Personal Inquiry: You will be able to focus on developing a specialist area of practice, or a complementary skill or technique that will benefit your career aspirations.

  • Real Time Graphics Systems: Using state-of-the-art game engines, you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of real-time graphics engines.

  • Technical Effects: Looking at visual effects technical effects creation and integration pipeline, you will be introduced to areas of technical effects such as rigid body dynamics, particle systems, fluid dynamic systems, fire and smoke simulation, and character effects systems like fur and cloth.

  • Lighting & Rendering: This unit will further your knowledge of lighting and rendering for visual effects.

  • Advanced Animation Techniques: An in depth exploration of the advanced technologies in character animation such as rigging, muscle modelling and deformation, skinning, facial expression tracking and animation, motion capture and synthesis, gesture, hair and cloth simulation, crowd animation and other state-of-the-art topics.

  • Principles of Rendering: This unit introduces modern image synthesis techniques from fundamental principles of the interaction of light with reflective geometry. You will apply principles of light, colour and reflectance in the design of shaders for both off-line and real-time applications.

  • Advanced Moving Image Theory & Practice: This unit will advance your knowledge of theories and practice in moving image studies and film making.

  • Scripting for DCC: The purpose of this unit is to ensure you are equipped with the programming and scripting skills necessary to use modern Digital Content Creation (DCC) tools such as Maya, Houdini and Nuke. Using a “test driven design” (TDD) approach, you will learn core software engineering and programming skill to help understand and utilise the architecture of modern DCC tools in the development of pipeline tools and techniques.

  • Modelling & Texturing: You will learn more advanced creation techniques for hard surface and deformation modelling, UV unwrapping for multiple tile workflow and texturing. You will further develop abilities to work to specific asset requirements and limitations, specifically with regards to the creation of photo-real assets for use in the visual effects live action integration pipeline. 

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Optional placement year

You will have the option of undertaking a short 8 week placement or minimum 30-week placement at the end of your second year. Visit the placement section below for more information.

Final year

Core units

  • Final major project & dissertation: This unit is the culmination of your studies. Working as either an individual or in a group, you must produce a significant body of work (typically a short animation, game or software artefact). This must be accompanied by a dissertation demonstrating your ability to communicate evidence of problem solving.

  • Master Class: You will undertake an industry set and supervised brief, in which you demonstrate your chosen area of specialism. 

  • Research & Development Project: Choose an academic, practice based or production oriented project to produce a research paper or industry-standard professional report.

Option units (choose 1)

  • Digital Fabrication: Providing you with hands-on experience of 3D printing technology and its applications in art and design.

  • CG & Animation for Cultural Heritage: This unit will investigate the different forms of cultural heritage and the ways in which computer graphics and animation techniques and methods can be applied in their interpretation and preservation. We will cover their application to interactive visualisation such as virtual museum exhibits and also HCI and 3D printing.

  • Non-fiction Animation: Explore, consider or challenge non-fiction animation, documentaries and live-action film at on-campus screenings.

  • Digital Matte Painting: Develop different techniques for creating photo-realistic digital environments and apply them to 2D, 2.5D and 3D digital matte painting.

  • Computer Vision & Image Processing: This unit introduces you to the fundamental concepts of computer vision and image processing.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

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Pre Courses

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Career Opportunity

Career Opportunity

Our computer animation courses are exceptionally well regarded within the industry and as a result, our graduates rarely struggle to find work once they finish their course.

During your degree you will have the opportunity to work with some of the UK's leading computer animation organisations, through the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), and can make valuable contacts before you graduate.

Within 15 months of completing their course, 85% of our computer animation and games students were employed in a professional or managerial position.

Ability to settle

Overseas Student Health Cover

OSHC: 624 ($) GBP per year

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