3D Digital Animation BA (Hons)
About the course
You study your first year in the 3D Digital Animation degree in common with students on the 2D Digital Animation and 3D Games Art. Whilst still focusing on your chosen digital degree study you will experience high levels and intensive engagement with the latest software and animation techniques. First year study also concentrates on essential skills needed throughout your degree study such as design of character, narrative and drawing. Animation and games histories will add context to your study. As you gain experience in your chosen area of study during this year, you have the opportunity to switch to either of the other two degree routes.
Today's 3D CGI is informed by the best film, animation and cinematographic practices. Second year studies enable you to engage and use film language, illusion of life character animation, and the power of post production for integrating and compositing 3D-SFX. To complete year two study you will also take a self initiated project, with professional help, from planning stages and storyboarding through to completion.
The final year of study is about engaging in real world practices and preparing for employment. You will make a final short film project, taking it from pre-production, storyboard, animatic through production and post-production. You will also prepare a showreel, and a professional website in preparation for work in the industry.
Why choose this course?
- The 3D Digital Animation degree equips you with the high level of skills needed to succeed in today's 3D animation industry.
- Emphasis is on creativity, character design, story, cinematography, SFX and compositing.
- Develop character animation skills and digital modelling, virtual lighting and virtual camera work.
- You will create a final film with sound: commissioning, buying or writing the music, actors' voice work and sound effects.
- Find out for yourself and watch our video!
- Watch our Animation Showreel to see the great work of our students.
280 points from GCE A Levels (or equivalent) including a qualification in an art related subject plus GCSE English language and maths at grade C or above and Key skills are accepted as equivalent. Selection is based on a portfolio interview, after which you may be required to complete a Foundation Year or Foundation Diploma before progressing to the degree course.
- Full Time, 3 Years
- Sandwich, 4 Years
- University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
Employment opportunities include computer animation companies, work with games, TV and film special effects companies. Our graduates work and freelance with some of the worlds best known production and post production houses.
The course uses mixed teaching methods but the majority of undergraduate time is spent on project work and software and art based workshops and lectures.
The Digital Animation courses are assessed through project work both individually and group; there is also a contextual element that requires submitted essay, and there are regular assessed presentations and professional juries.
Placements are a valuable means of establishing industrial contacts and gaining an insight into the commercial reality of a chosen discipline. We have a long history of students working with industry supplementing the taught university curriculum with real life on the job experience.
This has seen students working right across the creative industries sector: in graphic, product and interior design consultancies, working as artist in residence in galleries, producing props and sets for the film & TV industry, shadowing teachers in education, working with commercial photographers through to students working right across the Music industry.
We expect students interested in obtaining a work placement; to be proactive, to self-initiate this interest and to communicate and work with programme staff in their identification of companies and organisations that are able to provide the appropriate range of experiences and opportunities.
We value the opportunity and benefits of the placement experience highly and as such, we encourage all students to consider obtaining a placement as part of their course. However, we recognise that this may not be a viable option for a number of reasons. In addition, we are not able to guarantee that all students will undertake a work placement as part of their studies.
Skillset Media Academy
Digital Systems: Digital Animation
This module introduces and develops an understanding of the underlying concepts of computer graphics and particular aspects of digital animation in both practical and knowledge based domains.
Animated Thinking: histories, theories, contexts
Understanding how animation, in its many forms and contexts, works to communicate stories, spectacle, ideas, and feelings, is crucial to effective creative practice within the field. Animated Thinking extends knowledge and understanding of the position of animation as a fundamental aspect of contemporary culture. It approaches this through a mapping of animation and related media histories, traditions and processes, and an exploration of its role in the emergence of the modern world. Focusing on theories drawn from film, art, communication and cultural studies, and applying these to specific and varied examples of animated practice, the module enables students to develop informed and systematic approaches to analytical thinking, together with an ability to communicate critical responses clearly and accurately in a variety of forms. The module is structured around a core series of lectures and seminars, with assessment based on the demonstration of skills in enquiry, information handling, analysis, and argument.
Digital Imaging for Animation and Games
This module starts with lectures, seminars and workshops in bitmap image appropriation and manipulation, digital painting, and simulation of the physical world (such as image maps, algorithmic texture generators, bump maps, transparency maps, map projection and scale). Software packages for the generation of two dimensional and three dimensional imagery are explored and used as a vehicle to develop necessary skills in 2Ddesign, as well as digital processes and to explore the important use of the bitmapped image in the animation process be it virtual materials, sets, backgrounds, matte painting. Issues of lighting and compositional form and art and design research and sketchbook methods are explored.
Moving Image for Animation and Games
Time based animation processes and technologies such as flash, 3D digital, claymation, stopframe animation and film practices such as editing and compositing and sound are explored within the context of narrative ideas. Such issues as keyframes, timelines, animation curves, green/blue screen work, cross platform working and group dynamics are addressed. This module extends the student experience of digital animation.
Visualisation and Narrative for Animation and Games (30)
Effective communication in digital graphic media requires an understanding of the factors such as composition, colour, media that affect acts of visualisation. That understanding is informed by practical activities which develop skills of observation and expression in a range of visual media and drawing, and in a number of different situations. These skills are then applied to narrative ends using fixed images juxtaposed to tell stories that inform, entertain and communicate.
C&CS L4 Creative Arts
This module will run in parallel programme specific Critical and Cultural Studies modules at Level 4 during Semester A, should there be a need for the school to provide a single semester (15 credits) option for its students. For example, to aid in transitional arrangements stemming from the development of C&CS in the school (2012/13), or to provide a 1 semester option to international students who will be studying at UH as part of an exchange from a recognised partner institution.
CCS L4 Creative Arts
This module will run in parallel programme specific Critical and Cultural Studies modules at Level 4 during Semester B, should there be a need for the school to provide a single semester (15 credits) option for its students. For example, to aid in transitional arrangements stemming from the development of C&CS in the school (2012/13), or to provide a 1 semester option to international students who will be studying at UH as part of an exchange from a recognised partner institution.
3D Animation: Digital Animation
The module offers a period of sustained practice which consolidates and extends digital animation skills covered in Level 4. One of the main areas explored is character animation, this is an area demanding high artistry and expertise and is based on a large body of theory located in the Disney tradition and acting practices from theatre and film. The module furthers other important 3D digital animation and essential art skills. The module may also include electives that will allow the student to further their particular interests within 3D digital animation.
Digital Cinematography: Digital Animation
The Digital Cinematography module explores and develops the student's understanding of the digital animation process from pre-planning through production, to post-production and game production. This module looks at the current use of film and game practice and tradition in digital animation and the impact of technologies on film practice. Cinematography includes such essential skills for digital film-makers and animators as editing, compositing, use of sound for storytelling and emotion, mise en scene, lighting, camera work and composition that all potential animators and game artists must acknowledge and master. Employment patterns demand knowledge of this production pipeline and of current practice. This leads on to identifying employment aspirations and placement within studio practices and pipelines.
Extended Project: Digital Animation
This module offers a period of sustained practice which consolidates and extends digital animation skills established and developed earlier in the course. It enables the student to see through a whole project, or projects which may be used as part of locating or pinpointing their employment or professional aspirations. The project will usually be within a group and could be personal or live projects in collaboration with third-parties, work experience, faculty projects or combined projects with students on other years or on other programmes. Students can develop their own brief through negotiation with staff and work within a choice of specialist interests. Alternatively, students may undertake a faculty work experience instead of this module, subject to agreement with the Programme Tutor.
Moving Visions: perspectives on digital animation
Building on learning in the Animated Thinking module at Level 4, Moving Visions further develops knowledge and critical understanding of the contemporary uses of animated forms. Requiring students to identify their own areas of critical interest in relation to both the long traditions and contemporary contexts of the discipline area, the module is crucial as an introduction to the kind of ‘open’ critical enquiry that will characterise Level 6 contextual study. A core series of ‘catalyst’ lectures and seminars introduces new critical, theoretical and contextual ideas, while supporting students in a reflective exploration of both the broad field of animation and their specific practices of 2D, 3D, Games Art or Visual Effects. Undertaking a detailed survey of traditions, locations, and perspectives, students define a topic of study, formulate a research question or title, and carry out a carefully documented enquiry leading to the submission of an ‘essay’-style outcome in an appropriate form.
Professional Work Experience 30: Screen
Students may identify a work experience opportunity or have a work experience suggested to them. Before starting students meet with the Programme Leader or their nominated tutor, to discuss the impending placement. All aspects of the intended experience are addressed from health and safety to client confidentiality and students are given guidance on behaviour and how to manage expectations. Proposals need to identify an outline work programme, the number of days in placement and the main learning outcomes; and are subject to agreement of the Programme Leader.
C&CS L5 Creative Arts
This module will run in parallel programme specific Critical and Cultural Studies modules at Level 5 during Semester A, should there be a need for the school to provide a single semester (15 credits) option for its students. For example, to aid in transitional arrangements stemming from the development of C&CS in the school (2012/13), or to provide a 1 semester option to international students who will be studying at UH as part of an exchange from a recognised partner institution.
CCS L5 Creative Arts
This module will run in parallel programme specific Critical and Cultural Studies modules at Level 5 during Semester B, should there be a need for the school to provide a single semester (15 credits) option for its students. For example, to aid in transitional arrangements stemming from the development of C&CS in the school (2012/13), or to provide a 1 semester option to international students who will be studying at UH as part of an exchange from a recognised partner institution.
Sandwich Year (Creative Arts)
The optional 'Sandwich' placement year may be undertaken between the levels 5 and 6. Students undertake the placement within a commercial, public or not for profit setting that is able to provide an appropriate learning experience related to the creative and cultural industries. A placement could take a variety of forms, including: * working in an external organisation; * working with a University company or professional team within the University; * self-employment within defined context and externally refereed. The placement duration would typically be sustained for at least 48 weeks, though may be sustained for a full year. While the Faculty/School actively supports the placement process, ultimately it is the placement provider that will agree to manage and select students, normally through an interview process. During the placement a member of the academic staff will be assigned to the student as a tutor and will monitor the student's progress during the placement period.
Degree Project: Digital Animation
The Major Project module forms the major contribution of degree study. The students work with staff to negotiate the scope and structure of their studies and to perform processes within simulated or live professional production environment structures. The results of the project will demonstrate their overall abilities for employment or postgraduate studies in the fields of digital animation. Examples of potential employment opportunities are working for a production house, as part of a computer animation company (in Games, TV, or film VFX) or as a freelance animator.
Critical and Cultural Studies: L6 Enquiry / Report / Essay (Screen)
The content of this module allows students to engage with research, enquiry or critical processes appropriate for their subject area. Students select a topic related to their area of study as the basis for an extended enquiry. Usually the topic will have a close relationship with some of the ideas, approaches and content of the student's final project. This work may explore ideas, examine artefacts or set out to solve a problem through an enquiry of some kind. The module allows students to develop their broad understanding of issues of significance, meaning and value that are implicit in their project idea or to engage in a process arising from a question or problem they have identified from their subject area aimed at providing recommendations or explanations which are supported by valid evidence. The module is delivered through a mix of lectures, seminars and individual tutorials with a strong emphasis on independent learning.
Professional Practice in the Digital Animation and Games Industries
The Professional Practice module engages students with the world of employment and places their work in the context of the standards required for employment entry. Students are expected to produce material, for example a showreel, with which to engage with prospective employers. Students are expected to complete study assignments and to use independent study time to develop their awareness of employment opportunities. During semester C (between L2 and L3) students may undertake a faculty work experience, with the agreement of the Programme Tutor. This will contribute 5 credits towards this module with the assessment submission made during the period of this module. See section 19 for detail.
Pre-Production for 3D Digital Animation
Traditional design decisions underpin any successful digital animation project. The Design values module takes the student through the design process inherent in the pre-production for digital animation. This will be delivered through the application of a series of set tasks to create two artifact outcomes. The first will be a pre-production portfolio that the student may or may not wish to take through to production in the Degree Project. The second will be an exploration of creative design and design values in the pre-planning for a short non-story/narrative digital artifact. This will extend the student's knowledge, practice and skills within a digital animation design process and provide the opportunity for the student to enhance their level of expertise and knowledge through sustained design activity. A dedicated taught lecture series supports the student's project work and deals with issues relating to the character, narrative and non-narrative design processes. The module draws on negotiated briefs agreed between staff and students of a standing appropriate to the requirements of Level 3 degree study. This enables the student to engage in a sustained process of personal enquiry and realisation within a digital animation design process.
Fees & funding
Full time: £9,000 for the 2014 academic year
Full time: £10,600 for the 2014 academic year
Additional course costs
In addition to the fees there are some compulsory course attached to this course:
Printing, stationary, plastic wallets, folders £50-£150
Portable hard disk £50-£70
Printing, stationary, plastic wallets, folders £80-£100
Printing, Stationary, plastic wallets, folders £50-£150
Other financial support
Living costs / accommodation
The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.
Key course information
- Institution code: H36
- UCAS code: W617BA (Hons) 3D Digital Animation,
- Course code: CCANM
- Course length:
- Full Time, 3 Years
- Sandwich, 4 Years