Postgraduate MA

Animation

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Part-time

Course

One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2023

Introduction

In a nutshell

Our MA in Animation is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to apply innovative and efficient production processes into your animation projects which could be 2D, 3D and Stop Motion, or hybrid of techniques. You will explore traditional production skills, but the course will encourage you to experiment with  cutting edge creative industry developments and new ways of storytelling in collaboration with game and digital technologies. 
 
The course is to help you develop contemporary storytelling and transmedia techniques within your body of work, and/or to deepen your knowledge of a specialist role with a Creative Industry (e.g. Storyboard Artist, Art Director, Character Designer).
 
As a future facing programme of study we will encourage you through collaboration, to explore contemporary ‘expanded cinema’ (i.e. Extended Reality (XR)  experiences, Projection Mapping, and Immersive Installation, Theme Park Rides) and offer opportunities to see the value of your transferrable and potentially entrepreneurial skills.  
 
Underpinning the curriculum you will be challenged to investigate and apply sustainable and ethical practices to your productions and processes and explore diversity and inclusivity in their story worlds and characters.  

The Greater Manchester region is one of the key areas of UK animation industry production, with an  ecosystem of large to small companies – from globally leading companies such as Factory and Mackinnon & Saunders, to smaller boutique studios like Kilogramme and Flipbook Studio, with our Media City campus and CBBC’s HQ being at the heart of it. The Region has excellent industry networking opportunities with Manchester Animation Festival and other regional networking groups like FilmHubNorth.

Find out more by signing up to an upcoming Open Day, or if you have any generic questions please contact course enquiries.

You can also explore all our Creative Digital Media and Gaming courses. Continue reading to understand more about this MA Animation course.

You will:

  • have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art animation resources and equipment
  • be part of a vibrant community of peers and tutors to help develop and explore your practice, challenging you to experiment, collaborate and embrace new technologies
  • be encouraged through collaboration to produce professional executed work to take to the next stage of your career
  • develop industry contacts in Greater Manchester, one of the key areas of UK animation industry production
International

students accepted

Course details

All about the course

The programme will be delivered across three trimesters using a combination of practical workshops,  lectures, and tutorials. Through practical and theoretical modules, you will gain  confidence and in-depth understanding of the technologies and techniques used in effective Animation Production and Visual Storytelling.

You will have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art animation resources and equipment including a specialist Stop Motion Room, Wacom Cintiqs, Makerspace, Digi Lab with XR facilities, and craft workshops at New Adelphi. Computer Labs have industry software such as ToonBoom Harmony, Autodesk Maya and Dragon Frame.

If you study part-time your modules will be split across two years.

Trimester One

Animation Exploration

This module aims to explore the visual storytelling, processes and techniques with animation and previsualisation techniques to aid your creative design decisions. You will be introduced to digital technologies to assist and iterate asset creation such as VR Modelling and Painting Tools, Digital Sculpting, 3D printing, which they will elect to explore further in the Pipelines and Technologies module. The module enables you to produce a body of work that develops your creative expressions and investigations as a starting point for a 2D, 3D, Stop motion or Hybrid project(s). Seminars, tutorials, and workshops will help you to consider and explore societal, representational, and allegorical meanings in their body of work. 

You will utilise the module to work to towards a ‘Pitch’ with Industry Mentors - defining and visualising a sustained self-directed project or specialism that you will take towards your Major Project in Trimester 3. 

Professional and Cultural Contexts

The aim of this module is to develop your critical understanding of the context of the work you are developing and the platforms of distribution. Indicative content would cover Theoretical, Ethical, Cultural, and Practical Issues in the Animation Sector through a lecture strand and selected reading. The module will help you to develop your overall creative persona, and assist in developing strategies for pitching to industry, marketing, cross platform storytelling, IP protection, funding, and festival strategies. Practical workshops will help develop your effective understanding and production of a social media presence, showreel and marketing and of your ideas. The module will take advantage of regional networking opportunities such as Manchester Animation Festival, Bolton Film Festival, Meet the Puppets and Motion North.
 

Trimester Two

Pipelines and Technologies

The aim of this module is to allow you to fully explore your initial ‘pitch’ from trimester one, moving into a phase of refinement, technical research, workflow organisation, scheduling, testing, and making.
 
The module will also introduce contemporary approaches to production management, file and asset management and associated software. As the industry responds to a post-Covid normal and the benefits of remote working to the globalised industry of animation, you will be introduced to strategies of remote working with online collaborators. Throughout the module you will also be encouraged to consider sustainable approaches to your workflows and materials / energy usage. 

 

Exploring Collaborative Practice

Through a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials, this module will be an opportunity for you to apply, develop and test your knowledge. You will engage with problem-based briefs or studio briefs from industry that will allow you to develop effective screen based animation from script to screen, or challenge and explore the potential of projection mapping, dual screen, XR, Installation in Gallery contexts, Animation in Apps or Animation for Events.  

Trimester Three

Major Project

Within this module you will execute your negotiated project proposal from Trimester 2 towards an industry quality animated experience, creative portfolio artefacts or practice-based research project. You can opt to work solo at this stage, or work collaboratively if there is an appropriate opportunity. 
 

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.

What will I be doing?

70%

Practical projects

30%

Written assessments

Based on both our Mediacity and Peel Park campuses, this course uses a range of teaching and learning methods, including lectures, practical workshops, seminars and tutorials (group and individual). In combination, these methods will progressively build your situated understanding of technical, theoretical and practical topics, developing your professional identity and specialism.  

At Master's level, a degree of self-direction and independent pursuit is expected. Tutors will guide you through complex topics, encouraging you to take ownership of your process and decisions.  

Assessment

Assessment methods include written examinations and a range of coursework assessments such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations and your final year major project. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark. 

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

This course is delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.  

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.  

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it. 

FACILITIES

Our MediaCity and Peel Park facilities are industry-standard, so much so that they are used by our industry partners themselves. 

When you study with us on this Creative Games and XRs course, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our facilities. These include: 

  • Digital labs – use the latest XR equipment in an space especially designed for virtual and augmented reality development. 

  • Fabrication labs - bring your designs to life using 3D scanners and printers, power tools and a range of art and craft materials.   

  • Computer Suites and Editing Studios – our computer suites are equipped with the latest industry-standard software. You’ll learn from our experienced demonstrators, who’ll teach you the skills needed to turn your concepts into a reality. 

  • Green screen facilities - these allow you to create effects such as those you see on weather reports and incorporates a camera system and 3D graphics software.   

  • Equipment stores - we have a fully equipped equipment store available for you to use in your projects. 

Explore our Creative Digital Media and Gaming facilities at the University of Salford.

MEET THE TUTOR

Annabeth Robinson SFHEA is an Electronic Artist and Filmmaker predominantly using screen based virtual worlds and game platforms since 2005, to explore multi-user interactive artworks and education experiences. 
 
She has been teaching for 20 years across various institutions, supporting student development in Creative Development, Industry Engagement and Practice Based Research across the Animation discipline. Her academic development has led to her being recognised  as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  Annabeth helps facilitate and host 'Educating Animators' an academic conference at University of Salford in partnership with Manchester Animation Festival. 

She has created visuals and animated video backdrops for Ya Devi at The Stage, Leeds (2015), an Arts Council funded Dance Theatre show devised by Devika Rao. She was also involved in video aspects of Mermaids Tale, an immersive theater project at Bramley Baths devised by Yorkshire Life Aquatic, and funded by Arts Council and Heritage Lottery. She also has been involved as post production  supervisor and consultant with Leeds Animation Workshop, and has produced an Immersive Animation Experience for Vespertine #15, which was shortlisted for the VR Award at Manchester Animation Festival in 2017. 
 
Her research into serious games - joint with University of Leeds, Department of Earth and Environment - involved producing a virtual mapping game for the Geology department. The project won a Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Digital Innovation in Teaching or Research 2016. It also was shortlisted for the Guardian Higher Education Awards - Digital Innovation 2017.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Our MA in Animation is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to apply innovative and efficient production processes into your professional animation projects as you go forward in your career. 

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.  

Career Links

This postgraduate degree course benefits from established partnerships and links with creative industries in the UK, which have been working with us at several levels, ranging from guest lecturers, live briefs, placement opportunities and extra-curricular activities. These include the Factory Creative,  Kilogramme, Flow Creative, Bearded Fellows, Fuzzy Duck, and Carbon Digital, among others. 

Requirements

What you need to know

This is an interdisciplinary course open to students from a wide range of backgrounds, however, a previous academic or industry experience in any of the following disciplines would be beneficial: animation, media studies, film production, game art and design, visual effects.  

Applicants from other disciplines or professional backgrounds will also be considered if they provide evidence of interest and experience of Animation Production or Visual Development for Animation. 

All applicants will be able to demonstrate that they:  

  • Have knowledge of Animation or related subjects   
    (e.g. Post and VFX, XR & Immersive, Design for Games, Film Production)  

  • Have fundamental knowledge of animation techniques and workflows  

  • are highly motivated  

  • Are ready to work flexibly and independently  

  • prepared to work in a team  

  • are effective problem solvers  

This will be evaluated by interview and portfolio/showreel assessment. 

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

Relevant undergraduate degree, normally at 2:1 or above, and supporting portfolio and showreel of practice demonstrating strong understanding of visual, technical, and sequential skills appropriate to develop content for animation production.  

Applicants with an undergraduate degree of 2:2 will be considered where a high-quality portfolio of practice is presented.  APL of early career animation professionals will also be considered, depending on portfolio of work to date.   
Applicants will be asked to provide a proposal of study or area of research in support of their application.  

For International students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5. We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £8,550per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,750per year

Additional costs

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

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2023