Animation
BA (Hons)

Based at MediaCityUK
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Animation at Salford

1.

Strong industry links with leading animation and post production companies

2.

Pursue a career in digital animation, TV and digital media

3.

Develop creative and digital technology skills from a selection of modules

Course Summary

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.

Salford Animation Students’ work is shown in House of Commons

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.

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Lindsey talks about showcasing her live sand animation at the Create@Salford event at MediaCityUK.

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BA (Hons) Animation student Karl talks about his project for E4.

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Animation student, Jake Love’s animation showreel 2014

Course Details

This course enables you to explore the creative potential of digital and traditional animation and provide opportunities to engage with a number of live briefs. You will produce a strong body of work that will allow you to develop a 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 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, 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. Based at MediaCityUK, there will be several opportunities for live briefs and industry projects with some of the UK’s leading media companies.

Recent graduates have started their careers in a variety of areas of the industry including; film and TV runners, freelance animators for media and arts organisations, storyboarding and pre-production/conceptual artists, animation for games and visuals for music videos and independent film companies.

Course Structure

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 how to create industry standard storyboards and explore the concepts and processes required to tell story through animation.


Year 2

During your second year, you will work with other animation students on a number of creative projects, which will 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.


Year 3

In your final year, you will plan and develop your own animation using your own specialism and production method in a group project. You will have identified your specialism from the broad range of study at previous levels. The modules will be future oriented and will enable you to promote yourself to the animation and related media industries. There will be an emphasis on the production of show reel work, portfolio and exhibition to industry.


Year 1

The first year introduces you to industry standard 3D software and traditional stop frame animation techniques, which will inform a number of computer generated animation projects throughout the course. You will study the history of animation and explore the generation of concepts and the processes required to create animation.

Core modules:

Introducing you to the fundamentals of stop frame animation, this module will cover core animation principles through a series of practical workshops which are similar to those taught to new animators in stop frame companies.  Once having studied key functions such as timing, stretch techniques and conveying weight and squash, you will then have the opportunity to transfer your learning into practice utilising our industry standard 3D software.
Through this module, you will experiment with a variety of traditional visual media within a studio environment. By working to project briefs, you will deliver creative solutions using appropriate visual means, reflecting on your practice through a self-reflective development diary.
Group discussions, individual research and short film screenings will equip you with a broad range of critical skills, enabling you to analyse and evaluate the history of animation. You will also be encouraged to investigate different animation studios, animators, platforms and important landmark techniques involved in the history of this diverse industry.
Building upon the technical skills you gained in Animation 1, this module will introduce you to the fundamental aspects of animating a rigged CG character.  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.
You will be introduced to the principles of drawing for animation throughout this module.  In addition to refining your illustration skills, this module aims to broaden your understanding of concept art, provide you with professional design and production experience as well as allow you to experiment with 2D production techniques.
You will gain a thorough appreciation for compositing techniques in contemporary post-production in this module. Core aims include introducing you to the formal qualities of compositing and its manipulation through process as well as equipping you with a practical understanding of compositing techniques using a range of software applications. The module will cover compositing and motion graphics techniques, intro to post production techniques and synthesis of ideas.

Year 2

During your second year, you will produce a number of creative projects which will further develop your skills and concepts. You will have the opportunity to design, develop and animate a character, utilising both stop frame and computer generated 3D techniques. Your video compositing module will enable you to combine production processes, incorporating sound and music into creative digital projects. You will also produce short projects featuring production management aspects and entrepreneurial techniques in order to align you with business and industry.  In addition to your core modules, Year Two also provides you with three elective modules which focus on digital narrative technology, digital environment and character creation.

Core modules:

You will be encouraged to develop your knowledge of production processes involved in the digital animation industry, whilst also learning how to professionally project manage a production. Throughout this module, you will be required to schedule, develop and document the progress of your project.
You will enhance your technical abilities during this module, gaining advanced concept art and 3D character construction skills. You will also be expected to demonstrate a strong aptitude for professional design and production practice.
Through a series of set exercises utilising both stop frame and CGI software applications, this core module will enable you to add performance to your 3D animations as well as improve your character animation skills.  
You will have the opportunity to produce a digitally edited and creatively produced video project using After Effects, as the primary compositing tool. There will be an emphasis on the incorporation of sound as well as the overall compositing of visual content.  During the production of your project, you will be required to creatively incorporate several key elements including Rotoshaping, Keying and chromakey, Colour correction, Quickpaint, Tracking and Warping.

Optional modules:

Your work on this module will enable you to develop advanced skills in the creation and production of storyboards for use in commercial creative media. You will do this by exploring interactive entertainment technologies and narrative theory and how they are applied to scriptwriting and traditional narratives.
In order to gain a critical awareness of the digital environment development and production workflow, you will learn to work independently and autonomously, developing critical awareness of related design principles and applying them to your own digital real-time environments.
Through critical and practice-based learning, you will be introduced to character development and the production workflow process across a variety of digital media including video games, film and TV. You will also gain key skills in character design and animation from character rigging and motion tracking to audio driven animation generation and output editing.

Year 3

In your final year, you will have the opportunity to plan and develop your own content and production methods. The Creative Portfolio Development module will enable you to produce your individual show reel. You will have developed specialisms from the broad range of targeted study in previous levels and both the Practice Based Dissertation and portfolio modules will enable you to promote yourself to the animation and related media industries.

Core modules

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 60 credit module is an opportunity for you to take responsibility for the negotiation, management and implementation of a major project. Under supervision, you will be required to undertake research and extended study into creative artefact production, demonstrating an in-depth understanding of your chosen area, formulating the project as a research question or a product development.
You will be guided on various approaches to developing your professional portfolio and your online brand presence through traditional and digital mediums.  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.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design: Pass = 165 (plus additional qualifications to a total of 280 points)
GCSE Two at grade C including English
UCAS tariff points 240-280 points
GCE A level CCC-BBC
BTEC National Diploma MMM-DMM
Scottish Highers 240-280 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 240-280 points
International Baccalaureate 28 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.

Applicant profile

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.

Teaching


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.


Assessment

Dependant on the modules that you choose, you will be assessed through:

Coursework (70%-90%)

Presentations (5% - 15%)

Dissertation (5% - 15%)

Employability

When you graduate you will be equipped for a range of careers in the animation industry as well as TV and film.

Career Prospects

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.

Alumni Profile

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.

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.

Further Study

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£9,000
Part-timeYour annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying
Full-time International£11,500

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Financial support for this course