BA (Hons) Computer Animation

BA (Hons) Computer Animation is an internationally recognised, award-winning course. You can develop your creative talents, and gain the practical and technical skills for an exciting career in TV, Film, Visual Effects or Games. Artistic and creative practices, enabling you to produce the best results possible, underpin the computer-generated content of the course.

Graduates from the computer animation course have worked at prestigious studios throughout the world. These include, Sony Pictures Imageworks and DreamWorks Animation, worked on productions such as Star Wars (Solo and The Last Jedi), Ready Player One, Avengers (Infinity War and Age of Ultron), The Jungle Book, Fantastic Beasts, Harry Potter films and Guardians of the Galaxy. This also includes cutting-edge computer games studios like Rockstar North, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (PlayStation) 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 the only course in the UK to hold ScreenSkills Accreditations for both animation and digital games art. Also, the computer animation degree was ranked in the Top 10 3D Animation Courses in Europe, by the International Student Awards "The Rookies" (formerly The CG Student Awards), in 2018.

Watch Gareth Hutchinson, the Course Leader, speak about the course.

See more of our student work on YouTube, Vimeo and USWanimation.com.

Follow the Computer Animation degree on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Artstation.

Follow USW’s Creative Industries activities on USW Creative Instagram and USW Creative Twitter.

UCAS Code Study Mode
2020
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
WW26 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B
UCAS Code Study Mode
2021
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
WW26 Full-time 3 Years September Cardiff (ATRiuM) B

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.

Year one: Computer Animation degree

  • Introduction to Animation and 3D CG Art Techniques
  • Bodymechanics and The Human Form (3D CG)
  • Creature Creation and Animation (3D CG)
  • Characters and Scenes (3D CG)
  • Visual Studies: Animation
  • Contextual Studies: Animation

Year two: Computer Animation degree

  • Preparation and Previsualisation
  • Character Creation, Animation and Implementation for Games
  • Creature Creation, Animation and Implementation for Film/TV/VFX
  • Personal Project (3D CG)
  • Collaborative Project (3D CG)
  • Narrative Forms in Animation, Comics and Computer Games
  • Work Experience/Placement (optional)

Year three: Computer Animation degree

  • Advanced CG Production Pipeline (3D CG)
  • Major Project Pre-Production (3D CG)
  • Major Project Production (3D CG)
  • The Animation Business
  • Critical Research: Animation
  • Work Experience (optional)

 

Teaching

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, RunWild, Argon Effects, Bumpy Box, Painting Practice and Bomper Studio amongst others.

Assessment

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.

Accreditations

The computer animation degree is recognised and accredited by the industry-advised, media standards accrediting body ScreenSkills (formerly Creative Skillset) in both the animation and games art categories. These accreditations make us the only course in the UK with double-accredited excellence in educational standards in animation and digital games art.

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.

Placements

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:

  • Aardman Animations - Stop-mo/CG
  • A Productions - 2D/CG
  • Bait Studio - CG/VFX
  • Bomper Studio - CG
  • Cloth Cat Animation - 2D/CG Kids TV
  • Exient - Games
  • Jam Creative Studios - CG
  • Kredenc Studios (Prague) - CG Kids TV
  • Maverick Media - Game Trailers, CG, VFX, Motion Design, Editing
  • Mobile Pie - Games
  • Render Media - CG
  • Sun and Moon Studios - 2D/CG
  • Traum Inc - CG & VFX
  • West Coast Software - Games
  • Wales Interactive - Games

Other placements

The following companies also provide formal placements, promoted annually:

  • Blue Zoo
  • Framestore Launchpad Internship
  • Double Negative
  • Cinesite Studios
  • The Mill
  • MPC
  • Lucasfilm/ILM

Competitions

Students are also encouraged to enter the following competitions, which include considerable mentoring and networking with industry, and promotional opportunities if selected or shortlisted:

Field Trips

Studio visits

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.

There may be additional costs associated with this course

Facilities

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 a 4K Projector, 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.

Lecturers

Gareth Hutchinson, Computer Animation Course Leader
Corrado Morgana, Academic Subject Manager
Philip Duncan, Lecturer
Nick Hood, Lecturer
Brian Fagence, Lecturer
Gerald Emanuel, Lecturer
Stan Evens Demonstrator

 

 

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.

Interview

You will be asked to take part in a 30-minute interview before we can fully consider your application or make you an offer. You will be also be required to bring a portfolio to support your application. This is because the course requires students to have strong artistic and design abilities. Your portfolio should be a carefully constructed selection of your work, preferably produced during your most recent course of study, and can include any personal work or projects that you feel are relevant to the course. All work should be well organised and presented.

You may wish to demonstrate examples of:

  • Life-drawing and observational drawing
  • Painting and mixed-media studies
  • Evidence of design and thought processes
  • Examples of character designs, concept art, etc
  • Technical drawings (if appropriate)
  • Photographs of any physical 3D work that you have produced
  • Sketchbooks showing all preparatory work

You may also wish to bring examples of digital 2D or 3D CG work on a tablet, laptop, or HDD for consideration at the interview. During the interview you should be prepared to discuss your work and the designers, animators and/or artists who have influenced you. The interview will last for approximately 30 minutes.

 

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a relevant art and design subject (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

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).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points

Additional Requirements

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

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

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.

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees


  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees


  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

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.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
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).
Field Trips £500
FMX Festival Trip (Year 2 & 3)
Other: Misc. travel/ entry costs for visits * £50 - £100
All academic years

UK and EU students

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

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Computer animation graduates have gone on to work at prestigious studios that include:

  •  Sony Pictures Imageworks (USA)
  • PDI/Dreamworks (USA)
  • Animal Logic (Australia)
  • Core (Canada)
  • Framestore (UK)
  • Double Negative (UK)
  • Cinesite Studios (UK)
  • CGI Aardman Animations (UK)

Students from the Computer Animation course have worked on the impressive animated VFX sequences in films such as:

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:

  • Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Rockstar North
  • EA Games (UK & USA)
  • Rare
  • Creative Assembly
  • Remedy Entertainment
  • Splash Damage
  • FreeStyleGames

Our Careers and Employability Service

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.

Full-time