This is a truly international course, attracting students from all over the world with a diverse range of cultures and identities. It will provide you with a strong theoretical and technical underpinning for the principal areas of study thanks to lecture series on filmmaking techniques, green screen, MOCAP, computer graphic principles, the fusion of art and technology, personal research, and applied digital effects theory and practice.
We accept students from a broad range of art-based subject areas including fine art, photography, architecture, filmmaking, fashion design, and graphic design. We will also consider applications from non-art based subjects such as computer sciences or engineering, as long as good art skills can be demonstrated. Knowledge of digital effects and computer graphics are not a pre-requisite for entry, as everything is rapidly taught from basics. A strong set of traditional art and photography skills are however highly beneficial, and demonstration of all art-based skills should be done at application stage in the form of a digital portfolio.
MA Digital Effects and the National Centre for Computer Animation is the UK’s only officially recognised Houdini Certified School. This incredible software is now at the forefront of the VFX Industry, and knowledge of it is a must for anyone wanting to progress their careers in this field.
Digital Effects is one of three Master's degree pathways created by the National Centre for Computer Animation NCCA. All pathways share a great deal of core teaching, but also have specific pathway teaching. If your primary area of interest is mostly illustration or figurative character-based, then our 3D Computer Animation Programme may be a better choice for you. If your application portfolio is mostly technical or programming-based work without much in the way of original artwork, then our Computer Animation & Visual Effects Programme may be the better choice. Our assessment panels will automatically pass applications deemed better suited to another pathway onto them, so it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with all our Master's pathways to help ensure Digital Effects is the right programme for you.
Please watch the recorded BU Webinar 'MA Digital Effects'. Presented by Phil Spicer, Senior Lecturer In Computer Animation, this webinar will give you an excellent insight into this Master's programme.
Animation is a fantastically diverse medium, and its possibilities are expanding continually. Animators are dealing with new platforms for delivery, new technologies for production and new audiences as the theories and contexts of animation are being developed and understood.
Animation has become an integral element of most feature production through VFX pipelines, documentary production through the use of data visualisation and improved compositing techniques, and a vital part of any interactive production.
In order to address the wide range of potential interests within the discipline of animation, our courses are non-prescriptive in terms of methodology and output and take advantage of extensive classical and digital technical resources.
A large part of your research work on the course will relate to both your chosen way of working and how to position yourself in the wider milieu of animation. You will develop an awareness of how to affect dynamic transformation and movement, whether it’s upon a product, an environment, a data set or a film narrative. You will be required to be resourceful, critical, and above all independent.
*Please note that the one year MA is under review for 2017/18. Applications are currently being accepted for the two year MFA only.
The main focus of your programme, whether you apply for the one year MA or the two year MFA, will be the production of a short animated film. Although there is no set limit, most students produce a piece of between five and 12 minutes in length. This will be part of a substantive body of practical and written work that will also be submitted for assessment.
The one year MA is best suited to candidates who already have experience of studying at ECA.
The two year MFA allows more time to experiment, and importantly, to explore the new opportunities that Edinburgh offers as a location in which to base your studies, and to allow possible participation in the events of the Edinburgh Festival.
While the MA can be completed as a standalone degree in one year, continuation to the MFA is possible. Both programmes include a combination of practical studio work, theory, written studies, professional practice preparation, and a lecture/seminar series, which explores the wider context of your discipline.
It is important to mention that neither of our postgraduate programmes are focused on a particular piece of software, or a particular technique. To this end it is vital that you have some experience of film making before you consider studying with us for either an MA or MFA, we would expect this to be evident in your application portfolio.
Our graduates find work in four main arenas: animation for cinema, broadcast and web platforms; interactive animation; compositing and visual effects; and data visualisation. Many of our graduates have gone on to careers as award winning independent filmmakers or have followed the studio route and worked with companies such as the BBC, Channel 4, Rushes, Aardman, Laika, Passion Pictures, KoLik, and Nexus Productions, or with directors such as Tim Burton and Sylvain Chomet.