Advancements within the digital industry have led to a huge revival in animation techniques. This course enables you to explore and understand the creative potential of digital animation, while developing industry relevant skills in a specialised field.
Designed to inspire and enhance your creative abilities, this course provides a structured pathway in digital animation practice as well as a selection of elective modules focusing on areas such as drawing for animation, digital narrative technology, compositing, and pre- production elements.
Three BA (Hons) Animation students recently had their short film Growing Pains handpicked by computer games mogul Ian Livingston to be shown in the House of Commons as part of the Noise Festival; a celebration of up and coming filmmakers, writers, artists and musicians.
This course enables you to explore the creative potential of digital and traditional forms of animation and provides opportunities to engage with a live industry bro of live briefs to prepare you to work in commercial animation. You will produce a strong body of work that will enable you to develop your career in the animation industry. You will learn how to tell visual stories through performance and character developing industry leading skills in a specialised field.
Designed to boost your creative thinking and technical abilities, this course provides a structured pathway in digital animation practice. From the very start, you will be hands on and will learn traditional stop frame animation techniques as you are introduced to the principles of animation and the laws of motion. You will simultaneously learn industry leading 3D animation software.
From the very start, you will be working with animation professionals an introduced to industry standard 3D software, learn traditional stop frame animation techniques and delve into the concepts and processes required to create animation.
Encouraging creativity in the context of real world practice, animation modules promote the importance of team work within animation production and the larger industry. This intensive course allows you to identify and define your own career prospects with dedicated portfolio modules, which will help you in your preparation for employment within the animation industry.
Animation is one of the fastest growing areas within the UK creative industries providing multiple opportunities for graduates within the discipline. The course, based in Media City UK, Salford, is positioned right in the heart of this growing creative sector and is focused on developing highly skilled, industry ready creatives capable of successfully working in multiple specialisms adapting to the continuously changing landscape of the creative industries of the animation and moving image industry. Emphasis is placed on strong storytelling, development of visual language, the use of play and risk taking within creative production and a solid understanding of professional industry standard methods of production, planning and implementation with in animation.
Recent graduates have started their careers in a variety of areas of the industry from freelance animators to storyboarding and pre-production/conceptual VFX artists, animation for games and visuals for music videos and independent film companies.
Year 1 The first year introduces you to the basic principles of animation, the laws of motion and industry leading software. Traditional stop frame animation techniques will be explored, which will inform a number of challenging animation projects. You will learn about story and narrative and how camera and lighting techniques can be used to, create industry standard storyboards and explore the concepts and processes required to tell a story through animation.
Year 2 During your second year, you will work with other animation students on creative projects to further develop your animation production skills in a simulated industry environment. You’ll design, develop and animate a character, utilising both stop-frame and computer-generated 3D techniques. Work experience and placement opportunities are encouraged, building on the industry and external links the course provides. Placements are coordinated by students, in liaison with tutors and in close consultation with providers.
Year 3 In your final year, you will conduct research as you plan and develop your animation. Working in small production teams you will use your specialist skills to produce a high quality animation. The modules will be future oriented and will enable you to promote yourself to the animation and media related industries and animation festivals. There will be an emphasis on the production of show reel work, portfolio, and exhibition to industry.
In this module, students will learn the fundamental principles of animation. Including Newton’s laws and the physics of bodies in motion and the effects of gravity. Students will use the stop motion studio and 3D software to complete basic animation exercises that become progressively more challenging. Students will learn the art of timing and spacing to convey belief and weight. These exercises are the core building blocks of the craft of animation and will form the bedrock for all further development.
This module encourages students to develop an understanding of playfulness and creative risk taking in the context of design and animation. It will introduce playful approaches to idea development, allowing experimentation to evolve within the realms of the subject area. This module will underpin the importance of risk at an early stage, which will embed a culture throughout the remainder of the programme. It will aim to show links between risk-taking and innovation and present case studies outlining the value of ‘failure’ in optimising success.
This module provides students with the opportunity to develop a reflective practice with an awareness of contemporary animation and the ability to link theory and practice. Through this extensive piece of research you will undertake sustained research in within the area of animation which bears upon your own interests and professional development. The module will help learners to contextualise their practice through investigation into contemporary practitioners. Students will document this process and present a high quality document, indicatively a magazine style article.
In this module learners will build on the learning and skills developed on in animation 101 to introduce skills in character animation and performance. The use of arcs, easing and timing previously developed will be applied to 3D character rigs and physical stop motion puppets to learn how to emote and animate pose to pose before moving on to character walks, sneak, and acrobatics. This module will be underpinned by an emphasis on looking, translating and animating based on reference material. In addition to enhancing your technical skills, you will also learn to incorporate professional workflows and production practices whilst developing your individual creativity within a series of 3D CG character based exercises.
This module encourages students to develop an understanding of storytelling and narrative exploration for animation production. It will introduce playful approaches to idea development, and experimentation. This module will emphasise the importance of story within animation production. Students will be introduced to key storytelling conventions and methodologies in order to develop skills in creative writing and story formation. Drawing techniques will develop key skills in visual communication to allow for translation of story from script to screen.
This module encourages students to recognise the importance of documenting their creative practice in design and animation. It will introduce students to methods of reflective practice allowing them to consider process as an integral part of their creative output, to observe and analyse the making phases of production.
In this module students will build on the skills developed in animation 102 to express moods, emotions, personality in a believable animated character performance. Learners will study character performance, body language, acting and general stagecraft and apply this new knowledge to a range of challenging character animations. The final portfolio will celebrate the personal level of creativity and expression.
The module will develop student’s awareness of the benefits of interdisciplinary collaborative practice and the relationship between design and business. Where possible, the module will allow students to work alongside a live client and/or collaborate with other programmes within the School or wider University.
This module provides you with the opportunity to select and explore a specific area of study within the field of animation production and develop an identity, skills required in your chosen specialism. You will produce a substantial body of work that demonstrates independent thought and innovation. Areas of study may include: Script writing, concept work, model making, environment and character design, story board, VFX, Performance, Animation, Sound design.
In this module the students will be encouraged to produce a high quality prototype animation for a client. Student may also respond to a live brief such as those set by the RSA. Student will produce work in a simulated employment relationship.
This module is the second in a series of three focussing on reflective practice and the art of the ‘making of’. You will implement and build on previous experience by applying reflective practice to your own individual creative outputs produced in other modules. Emphasis is placed on analysis of how you make work and the processes involved. You will incorporate basic design principles and editing techniques in the work to extend storytelling and communication skillset.
The module will act as the planning phase of the Negotiated Project, the final opportunity for students to produce a substantial industry facing professional standard major project. Students are expected to work in a group context to successfully complete a professional outcome. You will follow a process of exploration and interpretation to generate multiple ideas to allow identification of a chosen path and appropriate project. Core planning of story and first phase assets will be developed and signed off at this stage to allow for production in Phase Two module.
Core aims of this module include refining your ability to develop clear visual concepts for a proposed artefact as well as providing you with experience in producing production plans and schedules. By working on a practice based project to a professional standard, you will build up advanced competencies within at least one specialist area i.e. storyboarding, narrative, 2D/3D graphics, programming or animation. As a result of your studies, you will also enhance your ability to work effectively in teams and communicate fluently and accurately in relation to digital media production
This module will form the final portion of the negotiated project. Using the research, experimentation and pre-production planning from Phase 1 you will move into a production phase where they will work in a studio environment to deliver their final major project. You will be supported throughout the project with a panel of staff members and you may invite experts from industry to act as ‘external producers’ providing guidance for delivering the final animated film.
This module is the final in a series of three focussing on reflective practice and the art of the ‘making of’. The module continues in encouraging students to recognise the importance of documenting and analysis of creative practice/s in design and animation. In this final stage, students continue to implement and build on previous experience by applying reflective practice to creative production developed within the Negotiated Project Phases One & Two modules running alongside it. Through the application of basic design, storytelling and film editing principles and techniques students will communicate the journey of the final project, the ‘Making of’ acting as supporting document to the Negotiated Project reflecting the importance, scale and quality of work produced at Level 6 of the programme.
In this module you will develop a digital portfolio of work that will demonstrate your expertise in one (or a combination) specialist areas. The portfolio can either be a traditional or digital or a combination of both forms to demonstrate your original work prepared for professional presentation. This module will also prepare you for entering industry by enhancing your presentation skills and your ability to communicate your talents and abilities effectively to potential employers.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design:
Pass = 80 (plus other additional qualifications to a total of 96pts)
English and Maths GCSE grade C
UCAS tariff points
96 - 112 points
GCE A level
BTEC National Diploma
96 - 112 points
Irish Leaving Certificate
96 - 112 points
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have the traditional entry requirements may be able to apply through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University.
Please note that the GCSE requirements remain in place for candidates going through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme onto this course.
English Language Requirements
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.
The UCAS application should indicate, as well as the required academic qualifications, an awareness of animation through statement and identify the areas of animation production you would best like to explore within the course.
As with all design courses, good visual communication skills are required. This can include drawing in its broadest sense, from observational drawing through sketch development, to presentation drawings and scale technical drawing. The ability to understand 3D form and scale needs to be shown within a portfolio of work if invited for interview. The portfolio should contain evidence of both observed and experimental media application.
All suitable applicants to the course are interviewed.
The animation industry has many roles. You should bring work that demonstrates your creative flare and imagination. You do not need to bring completed animation work to interview. We look for the potential to teach creative students how to animate. You can show work in any format and that may include:
Sketches and doodles, character designs, environment designs, video work, sculpture, mixed media pieces, audio and sound, motion graphics, set design, life drawing, performace work.
The course is taught by a variety of teaching and learning methods, however the design project forms the basis for the majority of activities on the course. Most modules include lectures, practical workshops or skills sessions, one-to-one tutorials, group seminars and design studio practice.
You will learn in lecture theatres, computer rooms, the workshop (wood metal, laser cutter), the animation studio and a stopmotion studio.
Dependant on the modules that you choose, you will be assessed through:
Presentations (5% - 15%)
Dissertation (5% - 15%)
When you graduate you will be equipped for a range of careers in the animation industry as well as TV and film.
Recent graduates have started their careers in a variety of areas of the industry including animation at local studios, freelance animation for industry and art organisations, storyboarding and pre-production/conceptual art, animation for games, visuals for music videos and independent film companies.
ThreeBA (Hons) Animationstudents recently had their short film Growing Pains handpicked by computer games mogul Ian Livingston to be shown in the House of Commons as part of the Noise Festival; a celebration of up and coming filmmakers, writers, artists and musicians.
Patrick Bucknall, Tom Priest and Jake Love worked together on the short animation for their final project, which they showcased it at this year’s Create Salford festival. The film was seen by a representative of Noise who later contacted the trio to suggest that they submitted it for consideration.
The film was then seen by Ian Livingston, curator of the Games and Interactive part of Noise, who described it as “A very amusing and entertaining animated film that is full of atmosphere, tragedy and dark humour. It has a beautiful art style with mood and drama even without the characters uttering a word.” He chose the film to be shown at the festival launch, which was held on 9th September at the House of Commons.
Since graduating, Patrick, Tom and Jake have landed internships at Ancoats based design agency, Studio Distract. They did this by sending copies of Growing Pains to various agencies around Manchester. Tom was the first one to land an interview with Ste Hanton, the agency’s Director and although it was his intention to hire just one intern, he ended up taking on all three of them. Since then, the trio has been working on children’s TV show Rollie and Friends, as well as a number of smaller projects for various clients. They are also in the process of looking for funding for a follow up to Growing Pains, so keep your eyes peeled!
Links with Industry
You will have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a wide range of industry professionals and all have practical experience across the field.
This year students have worked with the BBC, ITV, Studio Distract and Manchester International Festival. These students have gained valuable industrial experience as well as portfolio pieces that will enhance their employability.
We have had guest speaker Mike Robinson the studio manager from Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick Entertainment and I special visit to Mackinnon and Saunders the specialist animation production company and puppet makers.
The course has close links with local and national animation production companies and you will have the opportunity to work on live assignment briefs. Work placement opportunities can arise and industry representatives are invited to the end of year graduate showcase.
Employers have outlined how important it is to focus on specialist techniques (with a fundamental understanding of traditional techniques) to communicate an understanding of timing, weight and emotion and provide graduates equipped to adapt to the rapidly changing digital industry. The course team has written the curriculum based on this consultation.