Image credits

Course content

This is a unique course which uses real-world projects to develop your visualisation techniques, enabling you to play your part in creating the media of tomorrow.

Saint Walker
Course Leader

  • Year One
  • Understand how images get from the lens and the film set to the hard drive, and how to plan and prepare for VFX work
  • Learn the art and science of compositing, and use your knowledge of optics and perception to fool the eye
  • Industry masterclasses, and introductions to top companies further augment your study
  • Build believable 3D environments
  • Hone your pixel painting and rotoscoping skills
  • Year Two
  • Create a range of advanced work, moving from 2D to 3D and utilising hybrid techniques
  • Using 3D matchmoving, object and camera tracking, analyse camera movement to create successful renders for your showreel
  • Digital sculpt organic forms to industry specification
  • Bring your artistic work to life via the art and science of light, the interrelationship of light, shaders, rendering, compositing and application of LookDev techniques
  • Control the elements: fire, water, smoke, viscosity, even crowds, using particle systems
  • Year Three
  • In depth research into cutting edge aspects of VFX to future proof your skills: eg performance capture, 3D projection mapping, 3D scanning, HDRI or new business models
  • Work on a major project to form the centrepiece of your showreel, for instance new cinematic, architectural or scientific based worlds that allow new narratives
  • Opportunities to work with a director on planning and executing VFX sequences for a real film, or using photoreal images and particle effects to create an experiential event
  • Present your comprehensive portfolio to the UK’s top VFX companies

Student work

VFX concept work

Watch a video featuring MPC Compositor Josh Parks and Jonathan Jones of Ember Films who visited the VFX course at NUA.

Watch a video about British excellence in VFX by Double Negative

Typical project brief

Year One: Astronomic!

Combine your own camera footage, real lighting effects and digital compositing to create believable astral phenomena such as black holes, dwarf stars, even the surface of the sun.

Learning and teaching

Find out more about learning and teaching on this course and how NUA courses are assessed.

Rob Harvey of Lola at Norwich University of the Arts in studio discussing with students

Students receive insider info from one of the UK’s VFX greats

Rob Harvey, CEO of Lola Post joined NUA on campus in January to meet with VFX students to give them invaluable advice on how to get on in the industry. Lola are a widely successful boutique VFX company, with film, TV and commercials work, and a main fixture of the UK VFX scene. Recent work for TV includes Ripper St and Fortitude, whilst film work includes Clash of the Titans and Exodus. Rob gave an in-depth presentation of his work then spent some more informal time with us afterwards on how the industry works and how it is changing.


Fantastic Beasts VFX Artist Visits NUA

NUA was pleased to welcome Lighting and Look Development Technical Director Lorene Bettker, from BAFTA and Oscar award winning VFX studio Framestore to speak to students on the Animation, Film and VFX courses. Lorene recently finished work on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the latest film based on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe. Other work includes Jungle Book and the TV special Thunderbirds Are Go! As well as the imminent sequel Kingsman: the Golden Circle due later in 2017. Lighting & LookDev TDs bring their experience of real-world lighting and photography and apply it to computer generated imagery (CGI). They are involved in the technical and artistic aspects of making the CGI fit in to the world that was originally shot on film. Find out more about Framestore’s amazing VFX portfolio.

Mustard TV Logo

VFX Students bring festive cheer to Mustard TV viewers

VFX students brought some Christmas cheer to Mustard TV viewers by creating some short festive stings for the channel to run between programmes in December 2016. Mustard TV Ltd is a local television station which broadcasts to an audience of over 400,000 people. VFX students worked in teams to create the 5-10 second long sections that featured computer generated snow globes, cityscapes, snowflakes and the Mustard TV logo. Saint John Walker, VFX Course Leader said “Mustard TV are always open to students to showcase their talents, and this was a great exercise in giving them a ‘real’ brief to work from. We received three final stings which aired continuously throughout the festive period to give Mustard that extra bit of Christmas sparkle. We hope to continue to work with the VFX course on new content for Mustard in the future.” Said Graham Perrin, Presentation Manager at Mustard TV. “This was a great challenge for our second year students to think creatively about how to bring their VFX skills to the Mustard TV brand. We hope a few of them may want to work in TV later, so this was a great introduction”


Double Oscar winner to lecture at NUA

The inaugural VFX lecture at NUA was given by double Oscar winner Paul Franklin, Creative Director and Visual Effects Supervisor at Double Negative, one of the largest VFX Houses in the world. Over the past decade Paul has become known for his ongoing collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, creating visual effects for all three films in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy and winning best achievement in visual effects Oscars for Inception and Interstellar. Read more about Paul’s visit to NUA.

A photo posted by Norwich University of the Arts (@norwichuniarts) on

Academy Award winning VFX Artist presents guest lecture with Oscar Trophy

VFX students across all years had the exciting opportunity to meet award winning VFX artist Mark Ardington in September 2016. Mark presented a guest lecture based on his experience whilst working as CG Lead on Ex Machina (2015), discussing the challenges involved and how the team created Ava (the ‘artificial intelligence’ played by Alicia Vikander). Ex Machina beat Force Awakens, The Martian and The Revenant to an Oscar because of the brilliance and inventiveness with VFX, with a limited budget of only $15 million. Students also had the chance to meet with Mark and hold the esteemed Oscar Trophy after the lecture.