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Computer Animation

Our Animation Degree course at Swansea College of Art UWTSD has been helping students to find career paths in animation for over 15 years. Students learn the art of animation, to bring life to characters, to create stories and visuals. Graduates have key industry positions in many 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. Classes will incorporate a wide variety of animation methods, from 2D classical to 2D digital; from storyboarding effects and sets to considering how to employ character animation and/or capture emotion. Across the course of study we will help to direct your portfolio better and to create the best showreel of work when you graduate.

PATHWAY OPTIONS & HOW TO APPLY

Pathway Options

BA Computer Animation
UCAS Code: CAN1
Apply via UCAS 

MArts Computer Animation
UCAS Code: CAN2
Apply via UCAS

(Within the MArts degree you have the opportunity to go beyond the conventional three years of the BA degree; to upgrade to an integrated Masters qualification.  The 4 year MArts provides a top-up year - an extended level of study - that is more concentrated upon planning and preparing for a career beyond graduation. Making a decision to do the MArts animation is a committment that allows for an extended period of creativity and freedom to explore the type of artist-animator-designer you want to be in life. You graduate as a Master of Arts in Computer Animation). 

How to apply

All applications to study for a full-time undergraduate degree programme are made through UCAS - Swansea College of Art UWTSD is part of University of Wales Trinity Saint David

All our course come under the institution code T80

Visit the University's apply section to find out more.


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Course Length:
3-4 years Full-time
6-8 years Part-time

5 reasons to study this course

  1. The course has a strong brand identity and continues to attract potential students that want to  study and develop 2D and 3D imagery and computer animation through the use of characters, scenes, environments and/or any culminations of these.
  2. The School holds its own long-running animation conference – SAND – where students can gain insights and career guides, to meet and talk with some of the world’s leading animators, production companies, games publishers, tv and film luminaries and more.
  3. The openness and range of work/ approach in the classes is often seen as an attractive quality for applicants as students direct their interests to a particular field of 3D and computer animation by the final year.
  4. The course and modules has been specifically designed to provide its graduates with the technical skills and creative abilitiesrelevant to those wishing to work in the 3D, animation and creative industries. Staff in the School have animation, games and film credits and continue to work as practitioners, as well as academics, devising their own designs, 3D work and animations.
  5. The course gives students an understanding of the many production roles in the animation process, taking a multi-skilled approach, together with providing opportunities to specialise.

What you will learn

Course Overview

When you enrol 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 opens out into areas of storytelling and art direction, within visual effects shots and compositing and new technologies (e.g. motion capture/VR). The opportunities for finding your niche with us are varied and will offer a lot of avenues in animation and the creative arts.

The 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.

There have been a been a plethora of animation styles and visuals over the years with some final year projects that have been narrative or story-dependant, others that have been purely shot-driven or effects based, often purely 3D-based (i.e. only 3D components) and/or integrating 3D with live action or vice versa. If you want to learn more on how to bring your 2D animation and/or 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.

Modules

Year 1 / Level 4

Modules include:

  • Character & Effects Animation
  • Production Design & Animation
  • Organic Character Modelling

To begin students are introduced to the core skills, theories and techniques, working on a range of group and individual projects, whilst developing their understanding of professional working practices. Via traditional and digital techniques the students will learn the foundations and principles of how to animate, plan/design shots and sequences, produce effective pre-production, animatics and pre-visualisations.

We start with an introduction to a variety of computer/digital animation terms, methods and principles in design, modelling and animation. Subjects in musculoskeletal systems and anatomy provide support in posing and animating models and characters. Students take the preliminary steps in the analysis of motion, computer animation and production methods.

Year 2 / Level 5

In the second year, students continue to develop their skills and techniques and begin to specialise in their areas of interest, that are tailored to key areas of 2D, 3D, CGI design and animation

  • Art Direction & Filmmaking
  • 3D Story / Character modules
  • 3D Visual Effects modules
  • Character & Creature Animation

Classes are covered to cater for the art direction and narrative directives in short animated film production. Students will select a form of production to explore further - from the worlds of character & story, visual effects and more.

The compulsory ‘Character and Creature Animation’ module advances the animation covered in Level 4, raising the quality of visuals and motions directed towards developing better character animation. All students will do this module and also an Entrepreneurship module, that relates to animated film and the digital creative industries.

In the immersive environment of Level 5 students will have opportunities to learn a wider use of methods and how such techniques can be applied to their own study via Creative Practice and Contextual Studies content. 

Year 3 / Level 6

In the third year, students create Major Project work for a portfolio/reel, often informed by relevant festival and industry/ funding opportunities. Throughout the three years of the BA course, theoretical work underpins and invigorates students' practical work, giving a deeper cultural and critical context, challenging preconceptions and providing inspiration. The final year culminates in the production of a major piece of technically innovative 3D computer animation, whether story/narrative in nature, effects-based or derived from their own innovation/reflection. As individuals, they develop their ideas from initial conceptual design to final renders, simulation and sequencing.

Year 4 / Level 7 (MArt Only)

This 4th year can provide the final stage in the process with students encouraged to work directly with industry or to form industry facing groups.

Assessment

Assessment is carried out through coursework, both written and practical. There are no exams on this course. Students are formatively assessed throughout a module, summative assessment takes place at the end of a module. A variety of teaching and learning methods are used throughout the course which include amongst others;

Tutorials 

Tutorials are held on a regular basis, across all levels, within class or via separate sessions. Work is often discussed to help with the practical and conceptual development, future directions of the student etc. Other tutorials are provided for an opportunity for any issues/concerns and to see staff as regularly as you may require.

Group critiques and feedback

These provide an excellent opportunity for students to share and exchange ideas with their peers in a structured manner in addition to valuable input from staff.

Informal & Formal presentations

Animation is really all about communicating ideas and story plans and shots. Students gain confidence in talking about their work to their peers and staff and it usually forms an integral part of the assessment at the end of each project. Students are given enough practice in pitching and presenting ahead of the more formal presentation(s) that are part of their final year assessment(s) and Degree Show.

Exhibiting work

A lot of the final year work from animation is exhibited via screenings. Other work use rooms/venues to showcase the process and to highlight the student’s own production methods (e.g. storyboards, concept art, animation layout work, mood boards, etc.). 

Our Facilities, Graduates and Industry Links

Student and Swansea Life

Key Information

Staff
Course Tutor(s):
Entry Criteria

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 artanddesign@uwtsd.ac.uk as we can consider offers to applicants based on individual merit, exceptional work, and/or practical experience.

See our Interview Guide for more information.

Career Opportunities

Students that successfully complete the degree will have a lot of strong transferable design, character, modelling and animation skills to help them on their chosen career path(s). We’re keen to provide support across a lot of disciplines and to use the software as the tool for creating work with the maximum appeal; to harness what the hardware/software can do – but, importantly – to become the best artists/animators/designers; to use cameras, shots and lights in the right way, to tell their own animated tales.

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.

Additional Costs

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. 

Students are expected to bring their own personal art and design equipment with them when they commence the course.  We can advise on the correct equipment needed for your programme of studies and signpost appropriate suppliers if you wish to purchase essential items before or during your studies.  

A basic ‘art and design kit’ will cost approximately £100 but you may well already have much of the equipment required so check with us first.  Also, although we have extensive dedicated digital design studios (PC and MAC) for you to undertake your coursework you may wish to bring your own digital devices, again check with us first before making a purchase. 

Depending on distance and duration, optional study visits can vary in cost from approximately £10 to visit local galleries and exhibitions to £200+ for overseas visits – these costs cover things like transport, entry to venues and accommodation and are normally at reduced rates for our students.

Student Quotes

Charlotte Preston

"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; creating characters and story narratives is key to gaining the understanding of animation industry working methods"

Rachel Piper

"I went from knowing next to absolutely nothing about 3D Computer animation to feeling quite accomplished in the field. The course let me try my hand at a huge variation of skills such as photography and life drawing, as well as the 3D side of modelling and animating. It is a very interesting and stimulating course and I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it for the past three years."

Ian Mills

"Had an awesome experience taking part in some Da Vinci's Demons projects such as set work and motion capture animation - I feel like I learnt a lot during this time and gained a extremely valuable experience."

Matt Kinahan

"The (SAND) event has been fantastic, especially for people like me who haven’t had the chance to speak to people who are in the industry. It’s something that can be really daunting but SAND has given me more confidence. It’s really motivating to know what standard I need to achieve to get to where I want to go. They couldn’t have got a better group of people to come and speak to us. There was someone from every profession. It was a real treat to listen to!"

Bursary/ Scholarship Information

Swansea College of Art at UWTSD offers two Academic awards:  

  • Swansea college of Art 1853 Scholarship
  • Cert HE Foundation Bursary

Information on these as well as University wide offers can be found here.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Erasmus 
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