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    Faculty of Media & Communication Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas

    Creative Arts & Design

  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    1 year full-time

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    For information on course fees, please visit our website

  • Last Updated

    21 January 2020

This course 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. This is a truly international course, attracting students from all over the world with a diverse range of cultures and identities. 

Knowledge of digital effects and computer graphics are not a prerequisite for entry, as everything is rapidly taught from basics. A strong set of traditional art and photography skills are however highly beneficial.

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 skills are mostly technical or programming-based 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.

We enjoy very strong links with industry, due largely to the ubiquity of NCCA graduates in the film, game and television industries. Our graduates have worked on films such as Blade Runner 2049, The Avengers, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Dunkirk.

Core units

  • Digital Effects Nucleus: An opportunity to experience a digital effects project based on a set brief. This covers 3D digital effects, 2D compositing effects and practical video acquisition effects.
  • Digital Effects Tools: Technical and theoretical teaching for the Digital Effects Nucleus unit. You'll be taught about the craft and tools of digital effects work, get an opportunity to judge your work so far and learn to record digital effects production.
  • Digital Effects Techniques: You'll produce a short piece of Digital Effects work showing your technical abilities to date. The unit offers a chance to merge your learnt skills, and to plan a specific technical direction to prepare you for your Masters Project.
  • Moving Image Theory: The image theory elements of the programme. It includes lectures on digital cinematography, supporting screenings of films and animations, lectures on art, science and technology and a series of presentations by visiting speakers from the digital effects, computer animation and computer games industries. You'll be assessed through a written report and a short written essay examining digital effects tool production in digital and analogue movies.
  • Group Project: Gain a deeper understanding of digital effects disciplines and contribute to a significant piece of group work in terms of scope, design and aesthetic. You can work with students from across the NCCA Master's programmes, such as 3D animators and MSc Computer Animation and Visual Effects students.
  • Personal Inquiry: A tutorial-supported research unit. You'll get an opportunity to research areas that interest you that may be outside of the normal boundaries of the programme. You'll be assessed at a Research Symposium, where you'll present your research to students and staff.
  • Master's Project: The Master's Project unit has no teaching and is dedicated to your final project. We'll expect your project to be ambitious, with a high level of finish. You'll show a bold and confident approach to production management and the design and execution of Digital Effects. This is normally an individual project, but students are increasingly realising the benefits of working in a group to achieve an impressive final result. The programme ends with a degree show in London, if you pass your Project. This show gives you an opportunity to show your Project to industry professionals and potential employers, alongside friends, family and past graduates.


Digital Effects graduates are highly sought after in the industry. This is partly due to our level of teaching in this subject area, and partly from students' desire to listen, learn and progress.

Graduates have gone on to work for a variety of International VFX Companies including Double Negative (Inception), Digital Domain (Transformers, X-Men) and Sony Picture Image Works (Smurfs).

As a Digital Effects graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles such as: 

  • Animator
  • Motion Editor
  • Film Technician
  • Producer
  • Digital Designer.

Visit the MA Digital Effects page on the Bournemouth University website for more details!





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