On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.
- Introduction to Production Tools: Employing the principles and practices of software tools, you will complete an effective, realistic, visual effects and computer animation project.
- Design for Production 1: You will gain skills in effective design and planning in pre-production for both games and film; and hone your 2D and 3D design skills. You will present your original concepts and designs for a specific audience.
- Fundamentals of Design: the basic building blocks which form the foundations of design for Animation and Games. You will study fundamental design principles and practice drawing, perspective, colour theory, composition, form and shape language relating to character and environment design, drawing from historical and contemporary examples of good practice.
- Computer Animation Production 1: You will build on the knowledge you gained of 3D animation and visual effects tools in the Introduction to Production Tools unit.
- 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.
- Narrative Strategies: This unit provides you with the foundation skills for writing, direction, performance and cinematography that you will use in all animation or film productions that you develop and present throughout the course.
- Advanced Moving Image Theory & Practice: This unit will advance your knowledge of theories and practice in moving image studies and film making.
- Design for Production 2: Building on your design skills to an advanced level to complete a pre-production pack with supporting materials.
- Computer Animation Production 2: Covering shading, lighting and rendering. You will undertake a 3D facial character rigging and animation project.
- 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.
- Principles of Rendering: You will explore the similarities and differences between off-line and real-time rendering, to provide a deep practical understanding of the mathematics and algorithms underpinning this most vital stage of the production pipeline.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Scheduled learning and teaching activities
The hours below give an indication of how you can expect to spend your time during each year of this course. As this is an interdisciplinary programme you are taught through a mixture of lectures, workshops tutorials, seminars and screenings. The type of units taught can be classified in three broad categories, (a) technical, (b) production, and (c) art theory and practice. The technical units cover the principles and techniques required to understand and master the technology used in computer animation and games. The production unit’s deal with the craft skills, the production pipeline, and required systems and tools needed in the production of computer animated sequences or games. Art-based subjects provide the required practical skills in traditional media such as life-drawing, photography, sculptural practice, and knowledge of the visual aesthetic principles and practices for computer generated.
Guided independent study will supplement scheduled learning and teaching activities across all three years.The final year has a practice-based focus, with less lecture and workshop contact time.
You will also spend time each year on non-credit bearing learning and teaching activity such as attending guest lectures from industry professionals and industry focussed events eg BFX
Year 1 – 28.5% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 342 hours
- Independent learning: 858 hours
Year 2 26.3 % of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 316 hours
- Independent learning: 884 hours
Year 3 - Optional placement
Year 4 - 11.7% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities
- Learning and teaching: 1040 hours
- Independent learning: 1060 hours
93.3% of the course is assessed by coursework
- Year 1: 90%
- Year 2: 90%
- Year 3/4: 100%
How you will be assessed
You will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, and you will also undertake group work and written exams. The assessment methods for each unit can be found on the programme profile in the programme specification for your course. As an indication, 94% of the most popular units on a similar course in 2016/17 were assessed by coursework.
Practical projects are often group or team based allowing for student collaboration, emulating the dynamic and collaborative nature of computer animation and games production process.
Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.
View the programme specification for BA (Hons) Computer Animation Art and Design.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.
At BU, we recognise that placements are extremely valuable and can give you a head start when it comes to your future career; therefore we now offer every new student the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course.
We will provide a great deal of support to help you find the most appropriate work placement for the subject you’re studying and the career you’re interested in, which means you could be based anywhere in the UK, or even overseas.
A placement should be a highly rewarding experience for you and the employing company and we do our best to ensure that everyone involved feels that they have got the most that they can from the experience.
The benefits to you as a placement student are many. You will have the chance to:
- Put the theory learnt throughout the course into professional practice
- Enhance your study and help you decide on subject options (where appropriate)
- Learn a wide range of skills such as time management, problem solving and team work (all of these are important to succeed in any career)
- Make contacts, as it is not uncommon for our students to be offered permanent positions to return to after graduating
- Gain a real insight into how the industry operates in roles that would be almost impossible to achieve for an outsider
- Many of our students, during their placement, are given responsibilities normally associated with graduate trainees.
Our students have previously worked for:
- Bluezoon (animation)
- Microsoft Rare (games)
- Electronic Arts (games)
- Goemerics (rendering technology)
How long is the placement?
If you choose the four year course option, you will begin your placement after completion of your second year of study and you must complete a minimim of 30 weeks.
However, your work placement doesn't have to be with the same employer and, in the animation industry, it's often more common that you'll find a placement for around three months at a time, allowing you to gain experience with several organisations during the year. This is largely due to the timeframes many production studios work to.
Find out more about placements and our student experiences here.
Software and production tools
Our aim is to prepare you for work in the computer games and animation industry, which is why we regularly update our software to give you access to the production tools used by the professionals. On the standard build, we have the following installed:
- Autodesk Maya, Mudbox and MotionBuilder
- PIxologic ZBrush
- Foundry Mari and Nuke
- SideFX Houdini
- Adobe Photoshop and Premier
- Unreal Engine 4
- Unity 5.
There are several plugins available, including RealFlow, VRay, Shotgun and Golaem. The software development tools we use are open source and/or freely available, and include g++, clang, CUDA, Qt 5 and SDL 2.
Background and experience
We are looking for applicants who can:
- Demonstrate both intellectual and creative abilities
- Have a passion for the discipline of computer animation
- Show an understanding of the animation, visual effects or games industry
- Have a strong creative background
- Be able to produce a strong portfolio of art work from still life to photography
- Demonstrate good written and oral communication skills.
You must possess both a good mathematical and artistic ability, and show a keen interest in the world of animation, visual effects and/or computer games production. You should have an understanding of how the industry works and the job roles within it. Most of all you must be a passionate, creative innovator with a strong imagination. You should also have an understanding of computers; some students may already have basic programming skills, however this is not an essential requirement.
The entire process of computer animation production is underpinned by technology. The visual and technological aspects of the field are inseparable. To produce visual work in the field does not necessarily require a deep-rooted understanding of technological issues.
However, the ethos of the course, and one of the aspects that commands respect from employers of its graduates, is that a greater understanding of the technologies underpinning the visuals contributes to the practitioner's ability to produce work more effectively.
A desire to understand and develop a command of technology is of great benefit to any candidate for the course. While the majority of graduates tend to enter the computer animation, visual effects and games industries as visual artists, some specialise as software producers during the course, but in all cases a strong grasp of technological issues affecting computer animation and digital media production is a hallmark of the course's graduates.
We’ll use the UCAS applications to create a shortlist of candidates that we would like to find out more about. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages.
Our offer making process
Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.
If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.
How we'll assess your application
We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.
If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.
We invite applicants who present the academic qualifications we require in their UCAS form to attend an interview day in order to demonstrate the practical skills required to excel in this discipline.
You will also be interviewed by a member of the teaching team to discuss our courses, and also to give you an opportunity to present and discuss your portfolio. Portfolios could include, but are not limited to:
- Observational studies in any medium - Still life, environments (interior, exterior, architectural studies, perspective studies), lighting studies, colour studies, anatomy studies
- Sketchbook and works demonstrating self-motivated study and research. We need to see work that the applicant has done outside of their studies and courses, and can discuss with keen interest and enthusiasm
- Life drawing
- An appropriate application of detail. Adding detail to artwork should not be at the expense of strong form and structure
- Work that demonstrates creativity and proficiency in composition, form, structure, colour and design, in both 2D or 3D. For example - character design, environment design, illustration, graphic design, product design, media design, photography, sculpture
- A showreel of moving image work (but this is not essential).
Applicants should demonstrate a keen interest in areas of moving image/animation/visual effects. You should be prepared to talk through your portfolio and creative ideas.Find out more information about what to expect during your interview.
Overseas applicants who meet the academic criteria but who are unable to attend an interview day, will be asked to submit a portfolio online for review and will also be asked to undertake an online interview with the teaching team and online tests if required.
Unconditional offer scheme
Applicants who are predicted to achieve strong academic results will be eligible for BU’s Unconditional Offer Scheme in recognition of their academic performance and potential to succeed at university. If you are selected for the scheme and commit to us as your firm choice of university, then we will match this commitment by making your offer unconditional, which will guarantee your place at BU.
You will receive a standard conditional offer based on the entry requirements for your course via UCAS Track and your offer letter – it will advise that you are eligible for the unconditional offer scheme. We will then update your offer to unconditional should you choose BU as your firm choice on UCAS Track. We believe that unconditional offers reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible, and we will reward you with an Academic Excellence scholarship of £1,000 in your first year if you achieve AAA or above at A-level or equivalent.
2018 entry requirements
We use the UCAS Tariff to show our entry requirements and will accept a combination of grades from your qualifications. You can use the UCAS calculator to see how your qualifications equate to tariff points.
The entry requirements for this course are 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent including 40 points in a required subject.
UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.
Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies
GCSEs: This course requires GCSE English and Mathematics grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.
Numeracy and literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at Level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework which includes GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills Level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.
We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.
Access course: 118 - 128 tariff points with any combination of Distinction, Merit, Pass grades.
- Extended Diploma: Distinction, Distinction, Merit (128 tariff points).
- Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
- BTEC National Foundation Diploma/90-credit Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
- BTEC National Extended Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 Principal Subjects including 52 points in a required subject.
- Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: Distinction, Distinction, Merit (128 tariff points).
- Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by an A-level or equivalent.
- Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
- Cambridge Technical Subsidiary Diploma: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
International Baccalaureate (Diploma): 31 - 32 overall including grade H5 from 2 Higher Level subjects including grade H6 in a required subject
Scottish Advanced Higher: 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 Advanced Highers including 48 points in a required subject.
Welsh Baccalaureate: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-levels or equivalent.
Extended Project Qualification: Accepted as part of the overall tariff but it must be accompanied by 2 A-levels or equivalent.
Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.
International entry requirements
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.
Academic entry requirements
You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.
We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.
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. In fact, 70% of our students are working or studying within six months of finishing 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.
Our NCCA graduates have gone on to work on some of the most successful films of the past decade, including Avatar, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Interstellar, Gravity and Alice in Wonderland to name just a few. Among the roles you can apply for once you graduate are:
- Technical director (in computer animation and digital effects)
- Technical artist (in computer games)
- Visual artist
- Software producer
- Game developer
- 3D artist
- Visual effects tech developer
Our graduates work all over the world, and many are employed by the industry's leading animation and production houses, software houses, and computer game and digital media companies.
This course is accredited by Creative Skillset and carries the Creative Skillset Tick. In achieving the Creative Skillset Tick this course joins the ranks of the top creative training and education this country has to offer, you can be sure that it has undergone a rigorous assessment process conducted by experts working in the creative industries. The Tick is only given to those courses that have the strongest links with industry giving you the best possible chance of a successful career.
“It’s almost impossible to go to any large computer animation company and not find a Bournemouth 3D graduate. Currently there are six working at Animal logic, but I’ve worked some shorter stints at 3D companies where the graduate number has been close to 100.”
Miles Green, BA (Hons) Computer Visualisation & Animation graduate and FX Supervisor at Animal Logic – read Miles’ story
Industries worked in
- Film special effects
- Computer game design
- Animation production
- Scientific visualisation
- Graphics software implementation.
Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.
*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.
“I’ve found great potential for growth through the support and teaching offered by lecturers with vast experience in their specialisations. BU combines all this with the latest industry-standard facilities – I couldn’t have imagined learning from better masters of the art.”
Dhaval Malavia, BA (Hons) Computer Animation Arts and MA Producing Film & Television graduate, and Junior Production Manager at Outpost VFX – read Dhaval’s story
Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the animation sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.
The table below indicates the latest changes to this course.
||Changes to this course
||Where the change was made
Entry requirements have changed to now be 40 points in one required subject, whereas previsouly we asked for 48 points in one required subject.
GCSE maths requirements have changed from a grade B to C.
|2018 entry requirements
120-128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent, including 48 points in 1 required subject.
GCSE English grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) and GCSE Mathematics grade B (or grade 6 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.
||Programme specification updated.
Unit changes in levels 4 to 6.
After an annual review of the placement year tuition fee, a price increase in line with current inflation, equating to 3% has been introduced.
||Students will no longer be required to undertake a maths or life drawing task at interview.
During this visit you will be required to discuss your portfolio of art work and may be asked to take tests in Maths and Life Drawing.
Entry requirements for 2017
Entry requirements changed back to: 120-128 tariff points from 3 A-levels or equivalent including 48 points from one required subject.
120 tariff points, from 3 A-levels or equivalent qualifications, including 48 points from a required subject.
2018 entry requirements have changed to 120 - 128 tariff points including a minimum of 2 A-levels or equivalent in required subjects (48 points in 1 required subject). BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM in a required subject.
Key facts and 2018 entry requirements
The entry requirements for this course are 120 tariff points, including 48 points from a required subject. BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM.
2018 GCSE entry requirements have changed to This course requires GCSE English grade C (or grade 4 in the reformed GCSE grading) and GCSE Mathematics grade B (or grade 6 in the reformed GCSE grading) or equivalent qualifications.
2018 entry requirements
This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.