BA (Hons) Computer Animation is an internationally recognised, award-winning course where you can develop your creative talents, and gain the practical and technical skills for an exciting career in TV, Film, Visual Effects or Games. The computer-generated content of the course is underpinned by solid artistic and creative practices, enabling you to produce the best results possible.
Graduates from the computer animation course have worked at prestigious studios throughout the world. These include Sony Pictures Imageworks and DreamWorks Animation, working on productions such as The Lion King, Star Wars (Solo and The Last Jedi), Paddington 2, Ready Player One, Avengers (Infinity War and Age of Ultron), The Jungle Book, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Beasts and the Harry Potter films. Our alumni also work at cutting-edge computer games studios like Rockstar North, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (PlayStation), Rare (Microsoft), Ubisoft, Splash Damage and EA Games (UK and USA).
This course is recognised by industry professionals as one of the top UK educational providers for 3D CG Animation and 3D CG Art. It’s one of only two degree courses in the UK to hold ScreenSkills Accreditations in both the animation and games categories. In 2020, the computer animation degree was ranked amongst the Top 20 3D Animation Courses in the world by the International CG organisation "The Rookies" (formerly The CG Student Awards), who have also officially accredited the University of South Wales as a Certified School for Digital Entertainment Media.
USW ranked Top 25 in the UK for Design and Crafts, Guardian League Table 2021.
The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.
You’ll gain an introduction to 3D computer animation and 3D digital art principles, then progress to advanced 3D CG animation and 3D digital art for games, VFX, short films and commercials. You’ll specialise in areas that include character/creature animation, animated short film-making, 3D CG Art and CG for Games/VFX.
You’ll gain a broad knowledge of skills and have the opportunity to discover what it is you enjoy most. So, you’ll excel within 3D CG Art and Animation, while steering towards an industry-facing specialism, to become a “CG Student Expert”.
As the course progresses, you’ll be required to specialise as a 3D CG Animator or a 3D CG Artist, to concentrate your efforts on an appropriate industry-focussed area of 3D CG practice. You’ll undertake projects designed to develop your “specialism-related” CG-skills and creative abilities. During major projects, you’ll collaborate with your peers, in a work-simulation environment that mirrors studio practice.
USW's Computer Animation degree is part of Film and TV School Wales, which provides students with the up-to-date skills, opportunities and specialist training required by film, TV, commercials, VFX and games industries.
Projects and assignments begin with a key lecture, supported with workshops, seminars and project supervision sessions. Group critiques follow the end of every project, for feedback and feed-forward advice.
Projects commence with an introduction or project brief. Tutors will communicate what they want to see in the final submission. Software workshops also take place to show students the processes required to achieve their goals.
Students will have either group tutorials or one-to-one support during the project, to ensure they achieve what the project is asking for, and to tackle any issues that occur. We have studio-based rooms for the computer animation degree, and we expect students to be in, using the facilities of their base rooms, during timetabled sessions.
All practical teaching staff have a relevant industry background, either working as freelancers, for independent small/medium companies or in larger studio environments.
Guest speakers and masterclasses
Guest speakers and masterclasses occur every few weeks. In recent years we’ve hosted industry visits from; Sony ImageWorks, Aardman Animations, Double Negative, Framestore Launchpad Internship, The Mill, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures, Cloth Cat Animation, PlayFusion, Wales Interactive, RunWild, Argon Effects, Bumpy Box, Painting Practice and Bomper Studio amongst others.
Continuous assessment occurs throughout the course and is weighted to reflect the effort students should place on the different elements of their work. So, you’ll develop a sense of responsibility for your learning, and an appreciation of the need to engage with open directed learning activities alongside taught sessions.
The assessment criteria vary for individual assignments. These are set out clearly as separate elements within the coursework briefs.
Also, there's a secondary assessment element for comments and feedback, integrated within the assessment sheets, to provide further feedback and for tutors to feed-forward.
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.
The course is also part of Film & TV School Wales, which provides students with up-to-date skills, opportunities and specialist training required by the film, TV, commercials, VFX and games industries.
During the second and third year of the course, there are work placement opportunities available, assessed or extra-curricular. It may be necessary to meet a minimum requirement to engage in this practice, applying and submitting a showreel.
Cloth Cat Animation placements
Cloth Cat Animation recently provided some of our third-year student's with short-term work experience. So, they gained a taste of what it's like to work in the animation industry. The studio also provided them with a paid placement and internship opportunities on their new CG series ‘Shane the Chef’. Our students were employed in several positions ranging from animation, lighting, and CG layout. Some of the students experienced a short period of work experience, through to a longer paid placement, and then employment with the studio.
The course and company have worked closely, allowing students to be credited academically for work created at Cloth Cat, and also to facilitate part-time placements, where students can continue with their university studies in a work-based learning arrangement with other classmates in order to benefit from working in a professional animation studio in addition to continuing with their studies and personal projects.
Watch this video to find out more about a placement at Cloth Cat Animation.
Summer Work Placement Scheme
The Summer Work Placement Scheme provides several placement opportunities to students, during the second-year summer break. Companies considering applications for the scheme usually include:
The following companies also provide formal placements, promoted annually:
Students are also encouraged to enter the following competitions, which include considerable mentoring and networking with industry, and promotional opportunities if selected or shortlisted:
Each year we organise studio visits to Painting Practice/Bad Wolf Studios (Film/VFX), Wales Interactive (Games) and Cloth Cat Animation (3D CG Kids TV), for final year students. We also organise a two-day trip to London. So, you’ll visit some of the top VFX and animation studios in the world. In previous years, we’ve visited Double Negative, Framestore Launchpad Internship, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures and The Mill. Key CG staff have answered questions and advised how to break into the industry. They’ve also provided employment guidance for potential candidates.
Watch this video to see the facilities available to our computer animation students in action.
Our high spec computers are fully loaded with industry-standard CG production software, compositing packages, and game engines. You’ll have access to a motion capture suite that contains an 18-camera Vicon (fixed) and Xsens (mobile) systems, VR equipment with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift systems, a fabrication workshop which includes 3D printers and laser cutters, life drawing facility which has easels and donkeys.
Motion Capture Suite
You’ll have access to our motion capture suite which includes two motion capture systems, Vicon and Xsens. It also has a treadmill, crashmats, and a grid on the wall for reference.
The Academy Award-winning company Vicon developed accessible motion capture technology that delivers precise, reliable data. It’s an optical system, capturing passive markers attached to the actor’s suit, so the motion capture room with 18 cameras permanently set up will be ready to capture this data.
Xsens is the leading innovator in 3D motion tracking technology utilising sensor fusion technologies where sensors are worn by the actor capture the human motion without the need for cameras. This system is portable and can be used anywhere. We have two types of setup, one for when power is available, and another which is battery powered for outdoor use.
Computer Animation Studios
In your final year, you’ll have access to computer animation studios with 4K Projectors, Wacom Cintiq tablets and high spec PCs supporting software that includes Autodesk Suite (Maya, 3DS Max, Mudbox, Motionbuilder), Foundry Suite (Nuke, Mari, Modo), Houdini, Zbrush, Topogun, Unreal Engine, Unity, Substance Suite (Designer, Painter), Realflow, Redshift, Adobe Suite.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
Applicants in the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and attendance at an interview with successful outcome. You may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work prior to attending interview where your course requires this, and full details of what is required will be provided once your application has been processed.
Applicants outside the UK
Selection for this course is based on a suitable application and submission of a portfolio of your work which the Course Leader confirms is suitable for an offer to be made.
BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level with a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£40 - £80||
External Hard Drive (£40-£80 required all academic years).
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£50 - £400||
Wacom Tablet (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£150 - £200||
Sketchbook / Drawing materials (required all academic years)
|Kit (Uniform and Equipment)||£200||
Books/ Magazines (£200 required all academic years).
FMX Festival Trip (Year 2 & 3)
|Other: Misc. travel/ entry costs for visits *||£50 - £100||
All academic years
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
Computer animation graduates have gone on to work at prestigious studios that include:
Students from the Computer Animation course have worked on the impressive animated VFX sequences in films such as:
2020 - Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, The Midnight Sky, The One And Only Ivan
2019 - The Lion King, Lady and the Tramp
2018 - Christopher Robin, Paddington 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War, Red Sparrow, Annihilation
2017 - Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder Woman, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Alien Covenant
2016 - Fantastic Beasts, Jungle Book, Assassin's Creed, Star Trek Beyond, Suicide Squad, Alice (Through the Looking Glass)
2015 - Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, Spectre, Terminator Genisys
2014 - Guardians of the Galaxy, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Maleficent, Exodus Gods and Kings, Godzilla
2013 or earlier - Gravity, Thor: The Dark World, Furious 6, Total Recall, The Harry Potter Films, The Dark Knight and Dark Knight Rises, The Amazing Spiderman (1, 2 & 3), Les Miserables, Inception, I Am Legend, The Smurfs 1 and 2, Watchmen, Happy Feet
Our graduates can also be found at a range of cutting-edge computer game studios including:
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.