You are expected to come from a technical background (Computer Science, Physics, Maths, Engineering) with an existing knowledge of programming and the course will build upon this, providing you with a combination of artistic sensibilities, problem-solving and technical skills, which can be applied to the role of technical director within the animation and games industries. Technical directors often have to work alongside computer animators and resolve technical problems either by configuring existing software tools or designing new tools.
During your year-long study, you will develop your programming and scripting skills, and become familiar with special techniques and tools associated with computer animation. These skills are assessed in a variety of projects you will undertake during the year. Emphasis is placed on the use of industry standard hardware and software in the development of these techniques. Typical examples include the development of C++ programs to test new algorithms, the writing of shaders to support rendering, and the developing of scripts and tools to create new effects.
The academic aspects will provide you with a strong theoretical underpinning for the principal areas of study, including lecture series on computer graphics techniques, animation software development, principles of computer graphics, the fusion of art and technology, and personal research projects. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with students on the other two Master’s courses in the Group Project. This format provides a realistic setting to discover what it’s like working with other creative people and working to a strict timescale.
The course attracts students from all over the world, giving it a strong interdisciplinary, international feel.
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.