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MSc Digital Visual Effects

Course Description

The Digital Visual Effects MSc equips you with advanced skills, knowledge and understanding of high definition digital effects to help you become a highly skilled technical director (TD) in the visual effects industry.

This programme is entirely oriented towards current industrial needs, technology and practice and provides a direct route into the highly desirable creative industry. Our successful former students are working in London and for international companies in areas ranging from television graphics to architectural visualisation.

It covers 3D model building, texturing, lighting, rendering, procedural animation (cloth, hair, fur, dynamics), advanced compositing and high-definition digital effects. Although the thrust of the programme is towards high end film special effects and animation, the standards and techniques you learn will allow you to work in numerous other areas of digital effects.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/250/digital-visual-effects

About the School of Engineering and Digital Arts

The School successfully combines modern engineering and technology with the exciting field of digital media. Established over 40 years ago, the School has developed a top-quality teaching and research base, receiving excellent ratings in both research and teaching assessments.

We undertake high-quality research that has had significant national and international impact, and our spread of expertise allows us to respond rapidly to new developments. Our 30 academic staff and over 130 postgraduate students and research staff provide an ideal focus to effectively support a high level of research activity. There is a thriving student population studying for postgraduate degrees in a friendly and supportive teaching and research environment.

We have research funding from the Research Councils UK, European research programmes, a number of industrial and commercial companies and government agencies including the Ministry of Defence. Our Electronic Systems Design Centre and Digital Media Hub provide training and consultancy for a wide range of companies. Many of our research projects are collaborative, and we have well-developed links with institutions worldwide.

Course structure

The course is designed to train digital effects artists to work in industry. Our successful former students are working in London and for international companies in areas ranging from television graphics to architectural visualisation. Although the thrust of the course is towards high end film special effects and animation, the standards and techniques you learn allow you to work in numerous other areas of digital effects.

The primary industry jobs the course is oriented towards include: technical directors in assistant, creature development, lighting effects, look development roles, compositors in compositing, digital paint and roto roles, modellers and trackers/matchmovers. For a smaller project or company roles would include that of a 3D generalist, 3D artist, effects artist or compositor. These are not easy to achieve, as global competition is fierce and success depends on much better than average concentration and constant practise to grasp the essence and modern techniques of digital visual effects.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

EL831 - Digital Visual Art set-up (15 credits)
EL837 - Professional Group Work (15 credits)
EL839 - Effects Animation (15 credits)
EL863 - Advanced 3D Modelling (15 credits)
EL864 - Pre-Visualisation (15 credits)
EL867 - Technical Direction (15 credits)
EL868 - High Definition Compositing (15 credits)
EL869 - Film and Video Production (15 credits)
EL870 - Visual Effects Project (60 credits)


Each module is assessed by practical assignments. The project work is assessed on the outcome of the project itself.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding within the field of digital visual effects, which will equip you to become a professional in the animation and visual effects Industry

- train you in the requirements and skills needed for work in high definition

- produce professionally-trained technical directors who are highly skilled in using state of the art 3D modelling and visual effects software

- provide you with proper academic guidance and welfare support

- create an atmosphere of co-operation and partnership between staff and students, and offer you an environment where you can develop your potential.


We have developed the programme with a number of industrial organisations, which means that successful students will be in a strong position to build long-term careers in this important discipline.

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (http://www.eda.kent.ac.uk/) has an excellent record of student employability (http://www.eda.kent.ac.uk/school/employability.aspx). We are committed to enhancing the employability of all our students, to equip you with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a competitive, fast-moving, knowledge-based economy.

Graduates who can show that they have developed transferable skills and valuable experience are better prepared to start their careers and are more attractive to potential employers. Within the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, you can develop the skills and capabilities that employers seek. These include problem solving, independent thought, report-writing, time management, leadership skills, team-working and good communication.

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we offer many opportunities for you to gain worthwhile experience and develop the specific skills and aptitudes that employers value.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the MSc Digital Visual Effects page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Minal Mistry

2188.jpg In 2011 I completed my undergraduate course in BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technology and Design at the University of Kent. During the three years my aspiration to work in the visual effects was affirmed as I really enjoyed 3D modelling. MSc Digital Visual Effects is a one year course that allows you to develop your skills further to an advance level; the course is designed and oriented around the current industry needs. I feel I have learnt a great deal already and gained a far better understanding of the area since the start of the course.

There are a wide variety of modules that are covered over the course of the year, from 3D modelling, dynamics and compositing, covering every aspect of Digital Visual Effects. It is a very intense course, with a large amount being covered but at the same time very enjoyable and also rewarding. The course is a mixture of individual and team work, working with the other MSc courses, Computer Animation and Architectural Visualisation.

The team work projects replicates a working environment which in itself is really good experience. The course has really good links with the industry, and the guest speakers from studios like Double Negative have conducted workshops and demonstrations which has given a valuable insight and advice of their field and expertise. Meeting people from the visual effects industry, is definitely inspiring and enlightening.

I am thoroughly enjoying the course at the moment, and would recommend MSc Digital Visual Effects to anyone who is passionate and interested in establishing themselves in the visual effects industry. The master’s course definitely guides and equips you in the right direction and helps you to develop your skill further in order to meet the current needs of the industry.

(Student Profile)

Samer Ibrahim

2189.jpg The completion of a BSc in Computer Graphics and Animation in 2010 led me to think about new challenges regarding my academic and professional career. Travelling to the UK to experience a new culture as well as a higher level of education were part of the challenge.

The variety of offered modules and equipped laboratories were the main reason for me to enrol in the MSc Digital Visual Effects, here at the University of Kent. The richness of the programme, its orientation toward the current industry needs and mixture between individual and team work gave me the opportunity to learn new material and develop complicated modelling techniques. The direct contact with numerous professionals and guest speakers and my involvement in different workshops gave me the opportunity to explore the industry’s professional work environment. Therefore, I am confident that the dedication I found within the premises of this university to encourage creativity will guarantee me a smooth integration in the Digital Visual Effects industry.

To end, I am enjoying the programme for the time being, and looking forward to start my final project where I will be able to demonstrate all the acquired skills. Therefore, I would recommend MSc in Digital Visual Effects to every student ardent for 3D modelling, compositing and visual effects.

(Student Profile)

Blaine Epsley

After graduating from BSc (Hons) Multimedia Technology and Design with the School of Engineering and Digital Arts at the University of Kent, i had developed a strong passion for visual effects and CGI.

Completing my Final year project specialising in 3D CGI Pipeline techniques led me into what i found a very natural and easy progression into the graduate school to undertake the MSc course Digital Visual Effects.

Now over half way into the course I truly believe that finding a Career in the respective field of Visual Effects for Film, TV and Games would be a near infinitly more difficult task without the skills and knowledge that the MSc equips you with. At an undergraduate level I achieved a First Class degree with Honors, and to this day on the MSc programme i have learnt something new that has been a worthwhile improvement of my knowledge and skillset every single day.

The course is fast paced with many projects being run side by side at the start which helps you learn at an enormous rate. As the course progressess and you undertake larger and larger projects you begin to understand the workflow of the 3D Animation and Visual Effects pipeline much better, the course runs just as you would work in the industry. This is even more exagerated with many exemplary tutors coming directly from the industry from some of the biggest companies in london.

Double Negative (Inception, The Dark Knight Returns, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Framestore (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Warhorse, Avatar), and Cinesite (John Carter, Clash of the Titans) are just three of the big names that we have had artists come from to aid us in the learning of the most up to date industry used techniques.

This is a huge advantage because most people understand that the primary objective and outcome of completing the MSc is to break into an extremely competitive industry.

(Student Profile)

Sam Frewer

Achieving a 1st class honours with a letter of commendation from Bournemouth University in Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) lead me into fulltime lecturing at Bournemouth University in this respective discipline.

Duties as a Foundation Degree tutor included the delivery of CGI workshops in 3D disciplines such as Creative Visual Design, Architectural Visualisation and Project management.

I felt the natural progression onto a Masters would better equip me for industry and further develop my skills in computer animation and Visual effects.

After researching Post-graduate study at a variety of institutes I opted for the school of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) at the University of Kent; EDA offered not only industry-standard facilities but also an enthusiastic team with invaluable industry experience. The School of Engineering and Digital Arts seemed dedicated to encouraging creativity whilst involving students in a work-ethic environment giving learners the opportunity to work as a team to simulate industry. We have received an array of inspiring demonstrations, workshops and seminars from the most reputable London visual effects studios. I believe the MSc Digital Visual Effects (DVE) is my key to becoming an employable asset to any Computer animation studio. For academic year 2011 I will begin a Doctorate Investigation here at EDA whilst delivering Lectures and Seminars on undergraduate programs of study. I would recommend MSc DVE, here at The University of Kent, to any CGI students that have the drive and dedication to become established digital artists.


University of Kent Postgraduate Support Scheme 2015 - 20+ Awards

The bursaries are £10,000 each for study on a taught Master's degree programme at the University of Kent.
The bursary does not have to be repaid.
The bursary will contribute to the cost of tuition fees for the Master’s degree and any associated University charges (ie accommodation fees) with any balance awarded as a maintenance grant.
Bursaries are available for full or part-time study (over a maximum of two years).
Students must register for a taught Master’s degree programme at Kent, ie an award of LLM, MA, MSc in September 2015. Apply online.
The bursaries will be distributed in accordance with the following priority until all awards are allocated:
those who satisfy the eligibility criteria (below)
on the basis of their undergraduate degree classification (First or 2.1)
the date that all conditions of the offer are satisfied
We will aim to make the allocations by mid-July 2015
It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all necessary data has been submitted and conditions of offer are satisfied as soon as possible.
The bursary cannot be held in conjunction with other funding except in exceptional circumstances and will not be awarded with any other funding from the University of Kent, for example the Alumni Loyalty Discount or Graduate School Scholarship

Value of Scholarship(s)



“Home” fee paying & UK permanent resident; Completed a 3 year UG degree, starting in 2012, finishing in 2015. Have paid, or be responsible for repaying to Student Loans Company, the higher rate tuition fees in full;
Have achieved a First or a 2.1; Have demonstrated criteria, to include either 1 or 2 below: 1. a household income of £42,620 or lower & either a) a family home postcode in an area of low participation in higher education or b) currently be in receipt of a Disabled Students’ Allowance, 2. be a care leaver; Have made an application and been admitted for a taught Master’s degree programme at Kent.

Application Procedure

Before you can be considered for a bursary you must make an application for an eligible taught postgraduate programme at the University of Kent, and be offered a place
Consideration for a bursary will be dependent on the degree application and you are urged to make an application for a place to study as soon as possible. Further information about the scheme and the selection processes will be made available as they are agreed and it is recommended that you check this page regularly for updates.
Please note: When making an application, please note you must use your family/parental address and postcode in order for us to confirm your eligibility

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Applicants are normally expected to hold a 1 or 2:1 honours degree in Multimedia, Art or Design or a related subject. To discuss other possible entry qualifications, please contact us.

Last Updated

10 April 2017

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