BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects
  • BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects

    Develop the creative and technical skills behind the latest Hollywood blockbusters and learn from award-winning studio professionals on our BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects degree course.

    Our Animation and Visual Effects degree reflects Norwich University of the Arts’ success in both disciplines. Our approach to teaching visual effects evolved from advice from professional bodies like ScreenSkills and UK Screen Alliance and the majority of the UK’s VFX industry, including:

    We are part of Access:VFX – the industry’s initiative to create the widest possible pool of future talent — and host a number of workshops and events with invited industry guests.

    Preparing for Animation and Visual Effects careers

    On this future-looking course, you will develop skills that prepare you for the increasing demand for animation and visual effects expertise: from film and TV to architecture and urban design; scientific visualisation to creative design and virtual reality.

    Working side-by-side with BA (Hons) Animation students in your first year, you will acquire skills across the range of animation and visual effects expertise.

    In recent years we have hosted a masterclass led by the VFX Supervisor of Avengers: Infinity War. We have heard from guest speakers from the studios behind:

    • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
    • Jurassic World: Dominion
    • The Jungle Book
    • The Lion King
    • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
    • Blade Runner 2049.

    Underlining the strength of our industry connections, double Oscar-winner Paul Franklin (Interstellar, Inception) became an Honorary Fellow at Norwich University of the Arts in 2018.

    Major studio software

    You’ll also have access to the education version of Nuke, the industry standard software used in major studios, with a licence that even extends to a subsidised commercial version for one year after graduation.

    Believable worlds

    As you become an expert ‘world builder’, you’ll use visual effects to create character designs, enhance stories, work with directors or film your own shots, helping to develop a portfolio that could fast-track you into the animation or visual effects industries.

    Typical career paths include:

    • Animator
    • Roto Artist
    • Texture Artist
    • 3D Generalist
    • 3D Environment Artist
    • Match Move Artist
    • Character Designer
    • Producer
    • Lighting Supervisor
    • Colour co-ordinator
    • Compositor
    • Art Director
    • Matte Painter/Artist
    • Modeller
    • Architectural Visualiser
    • Experiential Designer

    By the end of your degree, you will have developed a professional portfolio of work and a plan to market to promote yourself and show your ‘creative edge’ to your employers.

    BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects prepares you to join Norwich graduates who have already gone on to work at ILM, DNeg, Framestore, The Mill, Epic Games, and more.

    You’ll also get specialist creative careers advice from our team in the Ideas Factory to help support you as you plan your career.

    Visiting industry lecturers 

    Visiting lecturers have included: Patrick Lin, Director of Photography at Pixar Animation Studios, Ben Lambert, Digital Model Shop Supervisor at ILM, Ed Hooks, author of ‘Acting for Animators’, Josh Parks, Compositor at MPC, Jonathan Jones, Ember Films, visual effects and games creative Hugo Guerra and Jahirul Amin, co-founder of Cave Academy.

    Course information

    Institution code: N39
    Course 3 Year UCAS code: W618
    Course 4 Year UCAS code: W617
    Course length: 3 or 4 year options
    Sandwich courses: Creative Professional Development (1 year, Level 5 diploma), or Creative Computing (1 year, Level 5 diploma), available between years 2 & 3

    All courses run as a blend of on-campus and digital teaching and learning, and follow current UK government safety advice. Applicants and students will be notified directly if any changes need to be made.

    Course content

    • Year 1
    • Learn to see: study visual effects fundamentals about lenses, pixels and light to see differently
    • Explore the major animation techniques including digital 2D and 3D
    • Gain understanding of the principles of animation and visual effects: dynamics; character design; storyboarding; production; skills of observation; editing; green screen/compositing; photorealism, perspective; theatrical stagecraft; show reel design
    • Progress from making two-dimensional flat imagery towards testing 3D designs
    • Have the opportunity to attend industry talks, presentations and discussions with key animation and visual effects companies and professionals
    • Develop an understanding of media roles and practices.
    • Year 2
    • Build on fundamental visual effects skills and practice animation principles with enhanced progression from 2D to 3D
    • Focus on production areas of your choosing and continue to explore your chosen areas of specialisation and develop your skills, with the potential to combine techniques
    • Learn about Look Development, lighting, texturing, rendering and all you'll need to build your environments
    • Develop an understanding of audience, context, film language, and the elements of compelling storytelling
    • Opportunities to engage with industry professionals through live briefs and conferences
    • Collaborate in flexible, open-ended and innovative ways to build amazing showreels
    • Attend industry talks, presentations and discussions with key animation and visual effects companies and professionals.
    • Year 3
    • Develop a professional portfolio of work
    • Gain powerful project management techniques to ensure you can lead animation and visual effects teams and increase job prospects
    • Research, prepare and complete a final major production, and produce a Research Report in a field related to your final production
    • Develop a plan to market and promote yourself, and show your 'creative edge' to sell yourself to employers
    • Take part in industry talks, presentations and discussions with key animation and visual effects companies and professionals.

    BA VFX Student Work

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    Visit the Degree Show website

    Typical UK offers

    A / AS Levels – GCE
    GCE A/AS Levels 3 A-level qualifications at grades BBB. Where candidates are not taking 3 A-levels, NUA will consider combinations of A-level/AS-level and other Level 3 qualifications.

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction*, Distinction* in an art, design or media related subject

    T Levels
    A T Level in any subject with overall grade Merit or above

    UAL Extended Diploma
    Merit

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Merit

    UAL Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Pass

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    Merit

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
    Pass

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 27 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.

    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    If the qualification that you are studying is not shown, do not worry as we are able to accept other pre-entry qualifications as well as combinations of different qualifications. Please do contact our Student Recruitment Team if you have any queries.

    International applications

    We accept qualifications from all over the world. To find our entry requirements from a specific country, please check our dedicated international pages.

    Most international students are required to hold an English language qualification. Applicants are required to have a minimum UKVI approved IELTS exam score of 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section. Equivalent English language qualifications are acceptable such as, IB English language syllabus A or B/English Literature (Grade 4).

    We also accept some alternative English qualifications. Learn more about our English entry requirements.

    You can email us on international@nua.ac.uk if you’d like to discuss your application individually.

    BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects portfolio degree guidance

    We are calling the traditional portfolio a ‘development portfolio’. This is to emphasise that what we would like to see is where you are now in your creative journey. You don’t need to spend a long time making the perfect work, as we can assess your potential from your work in progress. Your development is the most important part of your learning.

    Your development portfolio should show us you are passionate about animation and visual effects and that you want to learn to make seemingly realistic images that support amazing stories.

    We need to see you are motivated.

    Our course is guided by some of the leading animation and visual effects companies in the UK and they want people who are willing to experiment and dedicate themselves to full-time study with us.

    We want to see examples of your imagination, in whatever medium and see how you manipulate images to make believable pictures.

    We don’t expect you to have software expertise, or for you to have done animation or visual effects before. Our job is to take creative people and give them software expertise and practical experience. If you can show you are good at creating interesting visuals that communicate a story we want to see you!

    You may wish to include some of the following:

    • Drawings or collages that exhibit a playful imagination and eye for composition
    • Use of Photoshop or other related image making/editing tools
    • Digital animation or motion graphics
    • Films you have made, edited or remixed
    • Film reviews documenting the use of Visual Effects
    • Storyboards
    • Photographic work – telling a story with a sequence of photos, or document an interesting place with a selection of images

    Further portfolio advice and tips

    Get more advice on presentation formats, layouts and when to submit your development portfolio in the application process.

    2022/23 University fees for new entrants

    NUA will assess students’ tuition fee status using the guidance provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs

    Students from the UK or Ireland and EU students with ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status will be charged ‘Home’ fees if they meet the relevant residency requirements.  They will usually be eligible for a tuition fee loan from the UK government, meaning that they won’t have to pay NUA’s tuition fees up front.

    Students who do not meet the necessary residency requirements will usually be charged ‘Overseas’ fees and will not be eligible for the UK government tuition fee loan. Since 2021/22, this includes new entrants from the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who do not have ‘Settled’ or ‘Pre-Settled’ status, because the UK has now formally left the EU.

    Fee status Course Annual fee
    Home Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £9,250
    Overseas Undergraduate degree (full-time three and four year degree) £17,500

    In subsequent years inflation may be applied to the fees of those who started in 2022/23, at no more than the Office for Students’ recommended measure based on forecast RPI-X.

    See our Fees and Funding page for further information which is also available in a downloadable format.

    Financial support for UK students in 2022

    Tuition fee loans and loans for living costs are usually available to UK and some EU students, as well as non-repayable NUA bursaries based on family income. Find out more about applying for funding.

    All students have an opportunity to spend a year, between the second and third year of their course, enhancing their employability options through a Level 5 Diploma.

    These courses are offered in Creative Professional Development; a structured programme of input sessions and work-based learning, and Creative Computing; designed to build the foundation skills in coding and software design that are in high demand in the digital and creative industries.

    Four year degree – BA (Hons) Animation and Visual Effects

    Four year degrees offer students a chance to build on their experience within their undergraduate course of choice.

    Year 0 will help to build confidence and develop subject specific practical, creative and conceptual skills – making full use of University studios and workshops.

    Typical UK offers and entry requirements for Year 0 entry

    GCE A/AS Levels
    2 A-level qualifications at grades CC or higher. 

    BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Merit, Merit, Pass in an art, design or media related subject

    BTEC Diploma (QCF or RQF)
    Distinction, Merit in an art, design or media related subject

    T Levels
    Pass (D or E on the core)

    UAL Extended Diploma
    An overall Pass

    UAL Level 3 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
    An overall Pass

    Foundation Diploma in Art and Design 
    Pass

    Access to Higher Education Diploma (Art and Design)
    Pass

    International Baccalaureate Diploma
    A minimum of 24 points

    NUA welcomes applicants of all ages from all backgrounds. Your application will be primarily assessed through your portfolio, responses to questions asked and personal statement, so even if you have no formal qualifications or do not meet our typical offers it can still be worth applying.
    If you are studying at the time of your application and your application is successful it is likely that you will receive a conditional offer.

    Students
    Image of a student sat at a computer looking at the camera

    Catrin Feron

    "Its so useful in understanding how to animate a gibbon for our upcoming conservation project."

    BA (Hons) VFX

    BA VFX student Pheya Tribelsky standing on st Georges Bridge at Norwich University of the Arts

    Pheya Tribelsky

    "One of my favourite things about Norwich is how many independent small businesses there are, varying from quirky coffee shops, bars and restaurants."

    BA (Hons) VFX

    photo of alum Fahim Fadzlishah smiling and looking away from camera with arm leant against wall and short swept black hair and an open checkered red and blue shirt with window in background

    Fahim Fadzlishah

    "I like the idea of fooling the eye. The idea of manipulating and creating visuals on screen really drives me. It’s inspiring to project my own ideas and interpretations."

    BA (Hons) VFX

    photo of alum Jose Fernandez looking up and smiling with combed black hair and wearing a black t-shirt with a wide bright window in the background

    Jose Fernandez

    "I manage to almost always find inspiration across the city, there are many artists and spaces to see every day and find your creativity."

    BA (Hons) VFX

    Lecturers

    • Dan Kelby

    • Jennifer Oey

    Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

    Book a place on an Open Day, or to find out more about how to apply for a course at Norwich University of the Arts, please give us a call.

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