BA (Hons) Computer Animation
Computer Games and Animation at USW is rated top in Wales for teaching and student satisfaction National Student Survey 2022
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 ILM, Sony Pictures Imageworks and DreamWorks Animation, working on productions such as Stranger Things, The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Spider-Man : No Way Home, Over the Moon, 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.
Top in Wales for Animation and Games (Guardian University Guide 2023)
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
Introduction to the fundamentals of 3D CG Animation, Modelling, Texturing and Lighting
- Body mechanics and The Human Form (3D CG)
Animating the human figure plus modelling, rigging, skinning and animating a human hand
- Creature Creation and Animation (3D CG)
Intro to the complete CG creature pipeline, from prep work to modelling, texturing, rigging and animation
- Characters and Scenes (3D CG)
Character-focused Acting and Animation, or Character and Environment modelling, texturing and lighting - depending on chosen specialism
- Visual Studies: Animation
Underpinning drawing skills and visual communication, human and creature drawing study.
- Contextual Studies: Animation
‘What is animation?’ We’ll look at story, character, genre and cinematography as they relate to animation, games and VFX.
Year two: Computer Animation degree
- Preparation and Previsualisation
Developing design and preparatory techniques for 3D CG Art or Animation, depending on chosen specialism
- Character Creation, Animation and Implementation for Games
Creating 3D CG Art or Animation assets for Games, integration with Games Engines and pipelines
- Creature Creation, Animation and Implementation for Film/TV/VFX
Creating 3D CG Art or Animation assets for VFX, integration with post-production techniques and pipelines
- Personal Project (3D CG)
Freedom to design and create your own ideas for 3D CG Art or Animation, depending on chosen specialism
- Collaborative Project (3D CG)
Opportunity to work with students in other years or related courses to create 3D CG Art or Animation assets, depending on chosen specialism
- Narrative Forms in Animation, Comics and Computer Games
Develop skills and further understanding in narrative theory, storytelling and scriptwriting practice for animation, comics, games and VFX
- Work Experience/Placement (optional)
Working in the industry, gaining experience to define your place in the animation, games or VFX industries, building networks in preparation for your final year
Year three: Computer Animation degree
- Minor Project (3D CG)
A chance to further develop your specialist skills by getting involved in a Live Client project that includes mentoring from some of the UK's leading CG Animation, Games and VFX Studios.
- Final Major Project Pre-Production (3D CG)
Developing design and preparatory work for your Final Major Project, depending on chosen specialism
- Final Major Project Production (3D CG)
Freedom to develop your CG skills in relation to a final show reel, film, games or VFX-orientated project
- Industry and Employability
Developing your professional profile, building a personal brand, CV development, social media strategy, understanding industry opportunities and career planning
- Critical Research: Computer Animation (optional)
If you want to explore fantasy games through developing your own concept art work, or mythic storytelling in your favourite animation director’s work, use this module to research and write about a topic of your choice
- Scriptwriting: Computer Animation (optional)
Get to know your story, character, world and theme, and how to develop script ideas in industry, though animation and games writing
- Work Experience/Placement (optional)
Working in the industry, gaining experience to define your place in the animation, games or VFX industries, building networks in preparation for graduation
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:
- 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
The following companies also provide formal placements, promoted annually:
- Blue Zoo
- Framestore Launchpad Internship
- Double Negative
- Cinesite Studios
- The Mill
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
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.
We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement
At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.
If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. The University has a Contextual Admissions Policy, therefore, whilst most offers we make are at the top of the range, under the Policy we take certain aspects of an application into consideration and eligible UCAS applicants can receive a personalised offer or have results considered individually when you receive them. Here is a link to our Contextual Admissions Policy Statement.
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. If you do not meet the entry criteria, you may also be required to provide a portfolio of your work to help us assess your suitability for the course.
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
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.
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
August 2023 - July 2024 Fees
Full-time UK: £9000
Full-time International: £14100
August 2024 - July 2025 Fees
Full-time UK: TBC
Full-time International: TBC
At the University of South Wales, you’re investing in so much more than a degree. We strive to provide our students with the best possible experience, no matter what you chose to study. Whether it’s access to top of the range mac books and PCs, state-of-the-art facilities packed with industry-leading equipment and software, masterclasses and events led by industry experts, or a wide range of clubs and societies to meet likeminded people, better tomorrows start with extra perks.
Each course also has their own unique student benefits to prepare you for the real word, and details of these can be found on our course pages. From global field trips, integrated work experience and free course-related resources, to funded initiatives, projects working with real employers, and opportunities for extra qualifications and accreditations - at USW your future, is future-proofed.
As a student of USW, you’ll have access to lots of free resources to support your study and learning, such as textbooks, publications, online journals, laptops, and plenty of remote-access resources. Whilst in most cases these resources are more than sufficient in supporting you with completing your course, additional costs, both obligatory and optional, may be required or requested for the likes of travel, memberships, experience days, stationery, printing, or equipment.
|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
Funding to help pay for (or cover) course tuition fees and living costs
Whilst you’re studying, you’ll have two main financial obligations – tuition fees and living costs. There’s lots of financial help available from the University of South Wales and external funding sources, that may provide loans (which have to be paid back) and grants, scholarships and bursaries (that don't).
To learn about course fees, funding options, and to see if you are eligible for financial support, visit our Fees and Funding pages.
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.
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:
- 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 and TV series such as:
2022 – Stranger Things, The Book of Boba Fett
2021 – The Mandalorian, Spider-Man : No Way Home, Tom & Jerry, Clifford the Big Red Dog
2020 - Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, The Midnight Sky, The One And Only Ivan, His Dark Materials
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 Ltd
- Creative Assembly
- Remedy Entertainment
- Splash Damage
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.