BA 3D Computer Animation

100% of UWTSD’s BA (Hons) 3D Computer Animation students agreed that staff have made the subject interesting – NSS 2017.

On the BA (Hons) 3D Computer Animation coures students learn the art of animation, to bring life to characters, stories and visuals. Graduates have key industry positions in Oscar-winning teams, with credits on the films INTERSTELLAR, JUNGLE BOOK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, PROMETHEUS, NARNIA, KUBO, BOXTROLLS, and many more.

We encourage strong conceptual design, pre-production and 2D/3D design and from the second year you specialise in modules that embrace a) storytelling b) visual effects or c) motion capture technology.

This branching of the core themes in computer animation enables you to direct your work better and to create the best showreel of work when you graduate.

Key Facts

Institution Code: T80
Course Length:
3 years

Tuition Fees for 2018/19:
£9000 (Home/EU students)
£11000 (Overseas students)
Scholarships and Bursaries

Swansea College of Art
Contact Name:
Phil Organ
Contact Email:
Language Choice:

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For Art & Design Bursary information please click here

  • I really liked the practical work during lectures and there is always a diversity of examples and freedom to try out things. It's good to observe real life movement and I like the animation classes, being able to create characters and a story narrative is key with gaining understanding of the industry workings....

    Charlotte Preston

  • We are given a chance to explore our own design techniques and the lecturers help you out. It's good to gain the knowledge from starting the course, being able to research more in depth in MAYA, time to test out what I have learnt from the lesson(s).

    Dave Sayers

  • I enjoy the course and love what I do and the staff keep it interesting. I like that we can spend time on developing a character, to learn more about character rigging and camera angles - and filming techniques - has greatly helped...

    Jessica Wareham

The 3D Computer Animation degree here at Swansea is one of the most established in the UK. Since 2003 our graduates have gained key industry experience with world-leading production companies, VFX studios and in games studios, commercials, in tv and many other entertainment fields. Graduates have gone on to work in Oscar-winning teams and on the feature films INTERSTELLAR, CAPTAIN AMERICA, JUNGLE BOOK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, FANTASTIC BEASTS, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, THOR, SKYFALL, PROMETHEUS, CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, MAN OF STEEL, IRON MAN 2, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, BOXTROLLS, WORLD WAR Z, and many, many more.   

You will be doing conceptual design, modelling and animating on this course. The degree encourages the use of solid artistic and conceptual methods via traditional/digital drawing techniques. However, as you progress each year, the degree provides options to specialise in a) storytelling and art direction b) within visual effects shots and compositing or c) motion capture technology. The opportunities for finding your niche with us are varied and will offer a lot of avenues in animation and the creative arts.

If you want to learn more on how to bring your 3D illusions to life, to see them in action on a digital stage, then develop your models and visuals and animations with us. Previous software experience and artistic skills are an advantage – but not essential.

In the foundational stages time is taken to ensure students are given enough guidance to learn the relevant software, to take their work to new aesthetic dimensions. The later years begin to broaden and the real work of extending the animation and design - to harness the full potential of the software - begins. The structure of the BA 3DCA degree (the MArts 3DCA is four years of study) is outlined below:

Level 4 / 1st Year

Students adjust to designing for 2D/3D and begin to discover their emerging character/film-making animation skills through modules that include classes in:

Production Design & Animation

Character & Effects Animation

Organic Modelling

Other modules include Visual Studies and Contextual Studies.

Level 5 / 2nd Year

This year begins to split the areas with modules that are tailored to key fields of CGI and 3D design and animation with:

Art Direction, Story & Filmmaking modules

Visual Effects and Compositing modules

Motion Capture modules

Modules are written specifically to cater for the trends in art direction and narrative within short animated film production; to learn more on the art of visual effects and compositing; and to address the emerging trends of motion capture animation (MoCap) and their applications.

There are thematic pathways at this level and there also common modules. All of the 3DCA students advance their animating skills and are given the opportunity to generate their own reel of animated motions and showreel pieces via the Character & Creature Animation module.

Level 6 / 3rd Year

The third year culminates in the production of a major piece of technically innovative 3D computer animation. This could be story/narrative in nature, effects-based or combine lots of 2D/3D innovations. You develop your animation ideas from initial conception via 3D software knowledge to the final render, simulation and sequencing.

The programme is ideal for any potential student wishing to pursue their passion and interest within the digital creative industries and animation. Here in Swansea we want you to develop strong engaging characters and animation styles, imaginative sets and scenarios - all within concept work and pre-production before seeing them take shape in 3D. Studios will often want to recruit our 3D students for their design, animation and modelling skills and our students have secured positions at INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC, METHOD STUDIOS, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, AARDMAN ANIMATIONS, NATURAL MOTION, BLUE ZOO. They work as Character Animators for tv and games companies and with credits on LEGO: JUARASSIC WORLD, at REALTIME UK, on DISNEY’s CLUB PENGUIN and in TV with DRIVER DAN, HA-HA-HAIRIES, CAPTAIN SCARLET, DA VINCI’S DEMONS, THE NUMTUMS.

This course is well suited for those students who are interested in the modern and highly creative world of 3D animated characters, scenes and scenarios. Potential students would be those candidates that may have already dabbled in the design and planning of stories and characters and now want to take these skills further.

As an animation candidate you have a growing passion to learn and practice animation and a diversity of techniques. On our 3DCA programme we want to work with students that enjoy the prospects of designing and animating, storyboarding and concepts, character animation, and more. We want to develop these skills, to combine these elements into high quality animation artefacts, to communicate time-based ideas and conjure (e)motions effectively. As a student involved in the groundbreaking world of 2D/3D you will have the opportunity to construct fantasy and future visions; to design your own visually impressive short films, three-dimensional computer animated characters and environments.

All assessment is 100% coursework.

During the BA (Hons) 3D Computer Animation programme students are introduced to a wide range of subjects and can develop skills in a lot of different areas, including conceptual design, storyboarding, cinematography (lighting & look development), scriptwriting, character design, modelling, lighting, rendering, character animation, art direction, effects animation, motion capture, production design, sound recording, editing and post production.

Students will use cutting edge, feature film 3D software. As a BA student we are keen to re-affirm that the software is only the means of producing the designs and strengths in the production and development can be as equally important as the final images. Coursework within the 3D animation content takes the notion that the art and craft of digital communication is all-important. Your emerging visual style will only improve with the classes and coursework we set and via researching and referencing the methods of digital designers, animators and conceptual artists, throughout the course of study.

We are interested in creative people that demonstrate a strong commitment to art and/or design and therefore we welcome applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. To assess student suitability for their chosen course we arrange interviews for all applicants at which your skills, achievements and life experience will be considered as well as your portfolio of work.

Our standard offer for a degree course is 120 UCAS tariff points. We expect applicants to have a grade C or above in English Language (or Welsh) at GCSE level, together with passes in another four subjects. Plus we accept a range of Level 3 qualifications including:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, plus one GCE A-Level in a relevant academic subject
  • Three GCE A-Levels or equivalent
  • BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject, with minimum grades of Merit
  • International Baccalaureate score of 32
  • Other relevant qualifications can be considered on an individual basis

Qualifications are important, however our offers are not solely based on academic results. If you don’t have the required UCAS points then please contact the courses admissions tutor or email as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.

See our Interview Guide for more information. 

We provide the opportunities for students to learn more on the art of animation and how to bring life to your characters, to your design work and stories and visuals. Our alumni now work in Senior CG roles at the companies FRAMESTORE (as a Senior CG Art Director), SONY IMAGEWORKS (Senior Modeller), THE MILL (Senior Lead Artist and also a 3D Lead Artist) and with a variety of our 3DCA graduates in departments at MPC (e.g. Head of Crowd Sim & MoCap, Modelling and Texturing TD, Head of 3D, etc).

We help direct the students to find the right path for them in the industry and we have also had success with animation graduates leaving the course to set up on their own. These include Ireland-based BILLYGOAT ENTERTAINMENT (with the award winning games title HER MAJESTY’s SPIFFING: The Empire Staggers Back), Swansea’s very own iCREATE - a 3D visualisation company and with the freelance environment artists PIXEL SHED, the design brand TOMODACHI ISLAND and more.

The best 3D Computer Animation students at Swansea gain a lot of the necessary industrial insight, 3D knowledge and animation skills that enable them to pursue the right path in the creative industries and in 3D computer generated imagery.

UK/EU Tuition Fees

Visit our UK/EU Tuition Fees section to find out more.

Overseas Tuition Fees

Visit our Overseas Fees section to find out more.

Bursaries and Scholarships

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit our Bursaries and Scholarships section.

Our students have access to a diverse range of equipment and resources, which in most cases are sufficient to complete their programme of study. We provide the basic materials necessary for students to develop their practical work within our extensive workshop and studio facilities. However, it is likely that art and design students will incur some additional costs to extend their investigation of their personal practice. For example, purchasing their own specialised materials and equipment, joining in optional study trips, and printing. 



During your time with us you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.

Study Abroad

Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.

For more information please click here.

We welcome students of all ages and backgrounds. You may want to do more work in conceptual design or dabble in 2D digital animation. The 3DCA degree will produce graduates who are most likely to be employed as 3D artists in both large and small animation production houses. Through the Major Project and throughout the course, students will obtain experience of primary and secondary research, writing and working to a brief and producing professional reports, as well as gaining first-hand experience of working in teams and creating audio visual artefacts of the moving image through the use of computer animation.

Companies may provide a successful graduate with a breaking-in period, to acclimatise them to the company’s methods, in a relatively short time. They may not have as much freedom to train someone to animate or become a good 3D designer. Those skills - or that potential - needs to be there from the start of the job and this programme provides the expertise and resources to allow this creativity to grow. Through our course we can help you to achieve an understanding of how to construct the best 2D/3D visuals and develop a sensitive portfolio of work with some degree of style, content and design flair.