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Technical directors within the animation and games industries 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. 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. 

MSc Computer Animation & Visual 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 digital effects and moving image theory, then our Digital Effects programme may be a better choice for you. If your skills are mostly illustration or figurative character-based, then our 3D Computer Animation programme may be the better choice.

Core units

  • Simulation and Rendering: This unit includes simulation elements such as fluid, smoke and FEA. The rendering section includes writing shaders using renderman as well as an in depth look at how different rendering engines work.
  • Animation Software Engineering: This unit will build on your existing programming knowledge and teach C++ and Software engineering principles for computer graphics. We use Modern C++ and OpenGL for realtime graphics as well as the NCCA Graphics Library ngl.
  • CGI Tools: You will be introduced to the main software tools used on the course these are Maya and Houdini, lectures will also introduce the main artistic concepts such as composition and cinematography.
  • CGI Techniques: This unit provides a more in-depth look at the algorithms and techniques behind computer animation, you will be introduced to the main mathematical and algorithmic concepts behind computer graphics and animation.
  • Group Project: Working with students from all three postgraduate courses (MA3D, MA Digital Effects) you'll present a concept for a short animated piece.
  • Personal Inquiry: You’ll pursue research into areas that interest you and present the results of your findings to fellow students and staff at a research symposium.
  • Master’s Project: The focus of the fourth term is on completing the Master’s component of your education. This can be a standalone project or the continuation and conclusion of another project. This project also includes a written thesis of approximately 5000 words and the year ends with a computer animation show, which gives you the opportunity to showcase your work to industry professionals and potential employers.

Careers

Our computer animation courses are well regarded within the industry and based on previous years, the employment prospects for postgraduates are excellent.

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset and carries the Creative Skillset Tick. In achieving the Creative Skillset Tick this course joins the ranks of the top creative training and education this country has to offer, you can be sure that it has undergone a rigorous assessment process conducted by experts working in the creative industries. The Tick is only given to those courses that have the strongest links with industry giving you the best possible chance of a successful career.

Most graduates find employment as technical directors or R&D developers in the film industry. A number of graduates have also found roles in computer games companies.

Graduates have recently worked for companies such as:

  • Moving Picture Company (Troy, Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Kingdom of Heaven)
  • Double Negative (Batman Begins)
  • Framestore CFC
  • Cinesite
  • BBC.

Visit the MSc Computer Animation & Visual Effects page on the Bournemouth University website for more details!

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