Games Animation, Modelling And Effects (Including Foundation Year) – BSc (Hons)

Why study this course?

Our Games Animation, Modelling and Effects (including foundation year) BSc (Hons) degree has a built-in foundation year, designed to teach you the core skills you’ll need to succeed in the following three years of your course.

This four-year degree is ideal if you can’t meet the entry requirements for a standard three-year degree. This degree will provide the first step towards starting your career in animation and effects within the gaming industry.

More about this course

Your foundation year will teach you the fundamentals of digital design and image making, as well as creative practice in terms of composition and colour. You’ll produce work in different formats such as a journal, album and instruction manual. You’ll also create a project within a subject area of your choosing, allowing you to explore the more technical aspects of design. 

Year 0 will ensure you are well-equipped to begin Year 1 of your games animation degree. You’ll be supported by our dedicated staff who will help you find your academic strengths and build your confidence. The foundation year on this course is shared with numerous other foundation year degrees, meaning you’ll interact and learn with students who are interested in other specialist areas.

Throughout the rest of the course you’ll become familiar with animation, rendering, modelling, lights/cameras and visual effects (VFX). This course has been designed with computer games professionals and games industry body TIGA.

The foundation year of this course is shared with other games-related foundation degrees, so you’ll get to study among students who share a variety of interests. 

Following your foundation year, you’ll study the same course content and modules as those who study the standard three-year degree. You’ll also graduate with a full undergraduate degree with the same title and award as those who study our Games Animation, Modelling and Effects BA (Hons) degree.

If you’d like to change your specialism by the end of your foundation year, there will be some flexibility to allow you to do this.

Key skills covered on the course

Visual Effects (VFX) workflow

You’ll learn how to design and implement visual effects (VFX) in Houdini and Maya, how to composite VFX and 3D content in real life footage in NUKE and how to create procedural content in Houdini to be integrated in Unreal Engine.

Character artist workflow

After studying human anatomy in great detail you’ll go on to design and model characters in Maya and sculpt characters in ZBrush. You’ll also create realistic clothing in Marvelous Designer and texture your character in Substance Painter and Substance Designer. Finally, you’ll learn how to rig your character in Maya to get it ready for animation.

Environment/ hard-surface modeler workflow

This will see you design and create environmental assets in Maya, Zbrush and Houdini (such as buildings, furniture, weapons, tools etc.) You’ll then learn how to texture your assets in Substance Painter and Substance Designer.

Animator workflow

You’ll learn the principles of animation on which all classic animation works are based. You will first learn how to design and create animations in 2D with Adobe Creative Cloud software, before progressing on to animating mechanical objects and characters in 3D with Maya. Additionally, you’ll learn how to export your animation and integrate them in Unity and Unreal Engine, and how to utilise them in order to create in-game cut-scenes. Finally, you’ll integrate your 3D animations with real life footage using NUKE.

Game Designer / Level Designer workflow

You will study the principles of game and level design, and you’ll be working in teams with our Games Programming BSc students in order to design, project plan and implement your own games. You’ll learn how to optimise your game assets and design levels for games built with DirectX, Unity and Unreal Engine.

Technical Artist workflow

You’ll be given the option to learn scripting in C# for Unity, MEL and Python for Maya. You will also have the opportunity to learn visual programming in Unreal Engine, the Bifrost graph editor in Maya and procedural asset generation in Houdini.

Concept Artist workflow

Studying essential elements of art and the principles of design, you’ll learn perspective and the use of Photoshop and Illustrator. You’ll draw human anatomy in great detail as part of your studies and practice drawing each visible muscle. For all your 2D and 3D work you’ll draw concept art and then select one of your concepts (if you are working within a team, via a discussion) to refine in more detailed drawings. Additionally, you will draw detailed and properly aligned character sheets and/or object blueprints to be utilised in Maya as reference for 3D modelling.

A number of core modules are provided as part of the degree to enable game artists and game programmers to work together so they can achieve common goals: such an approach is fundamental to the workflow within the games industry. In addition, both groups will also work with each other using their specialist art/programming skills to design and produce joint collaborative games.

Successful completion of the course will prepare artists for a range of positions from concept, technical, texture and VFX artist to character/model builder, animator and graphic designer.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2022/23 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 0 modules include:

Critical & Contextual Studies: Foundation (core, 30 credits)

Formats (core, 30 credits)

Project (core, 30 credits)

Techniques (core, 30 credits)

Year 1 modules include:

3D Modelling (core, 30 credits)

Digital Design and Image Making (core, 30 credits)

Game Design and Development (core, 30 credits)

Introduction to Drawing and Animation (core, 30 credits)

Year 2 modules include:

Augmented Toy Development (core, 30 credits)

Modelling and Texturing (core, 30 credits)

Moving Image and VFX (core, 30 credits)

Advanced 3D Modelling and Animation (option, 30 credits)

Year 3 modules include:

Advanced CGI Techniques (core, 15 credits)

Creative Technology Project (core, 30 credits)

Games Asset Development (core, 30 credits)

Visual Effects for Computer Graphics and Games (core, 30 credits)

Research Related Learning (alternative core, 15 credits)

Work Related Learning for Games and Animation (alternative core, 15 credits)

Where this course can take you

You can choose from a wide variety of creative careers upon graduating from this degree.

You could find employment as an animator, applications developer, games designer, games developer, multimedia programmer, software engineer or a visual effects artist.

What is a degree with foundation year?

This is a four-year degree course with a built-in foundation year (Year 0). It’s the perfect route into university if you don’t meet the necessary entry requirements for the standard undergraduate degree. You’ll graduate with a full undergraduate degree with the same title and award as those who studied the three-year course.

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