MSc in Computer Animation and Visual Effects

Bournemouth University

Program Description

MSc in Computer Animation and Visual Effects

Bournemouth University

You are expected to come from a technical background (Computer Science, Physics, Maths, Engineering) with an existing knowledge of programming and the course will build upon this, providing you with a combination of artistic sensibilities, problem-solving and technical skills, which can be applied to the role of technical director within the animation and games industries. Technical directors 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.

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language: IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above.

Course details

On this course, you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

The course is split into four terms, each lasting ten weeks. The first three terms are the Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip), and the final term is the Master's term.

Core units

  • 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 real-time graphics as well as the NCCA Graphics Library ngl.
  • CGI Tools: You will be introduced to the main software tools used in 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.
  • 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.
  • Personal Enquiry: 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.
  • Group Project: Working with students from all three postgraduate courses (MA3D, MA Digital Effects) you'll present a concept for a short animated piece.
  • Masters 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.

Suggested reading

What follows is a small list of books we recommend (all should be in the library so there is no need to purchase them).

  • Computer Animation Algorithms and Techniques, Rick Parent (2002), Morgan Kaufmann
  • OpenGL Programming Guide, Mason Woo et al (2001), Addison Wesley
  • Computer Graphics using OpenGL, F.S. Hill Jr. (3rd Edition), Prentice Hall
  • Essential Renderman Fast, Ian Stephenson (2nd Edition), Springer
  • Advanced Renderman, Apodaca & Gritz, Morgan Kaufmann
  • Texturing and Modelling a Procedural approach, (3rd Edition) Ebert et al, AP Professional.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

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.

Industries worked in

  • TV
  • Films
  • Gaming
  • Computer animation.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

This school offers programs in:
  • English


Last updated March 7, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
Duration
Duration
1 year
Full time
Price
Price
8,000 GBP
UK/EU/Channel Islands: £8,000 International (non-EU): £15,000
Information
Deadline
Locations
United Kingdom - Poole, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Dates
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - Poole, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info